• Toxic Talent Management Habits

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    All organizations have problems, and they always involve people. Indeed, talent management issues are a major cause of organizational underperformance. For example, a recent report by Deloitte, based on data from over 2,500 business and HR leaders from 90+ countries, shows that employers around the world are poorly prepared to tackle key human capital challenges, such as “leadership, retention and engagement, the reskilling of HR, and talent acquisition.” I see five specific bad talent habits… More »

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    A Better Approach to Infrastructure Planning

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    We know in the U.S. that the nation’s transportation infrastructure urgently needs investment. The same is true in many other parts of the world. Why aren’t more projects underway? Many assume it’s for lack of funding. More often, however, it’s for lack of agreement on what should be done. For proposed projects to gain traction, various stakeholders must be aligned; chief among these are the companies that rely on transportation systems to connect them to… More »

  • Why Marketing Needs More Introverts

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    Susan Cain’s book “Quiet” has provided wonderful insight to me, because I am an introvert. Cain’s core premise is that western culture overvalues extroverts and under-utilizes introverts. Introverts prefer less stimulation and quiet concentration. We listen more than we talk, think before we speak, and focus on relationships. Introverts focus on the meaning of events around us, while extroverts focus on the events themselves. If I had to bet, the best marketers of tomorrow will likely be far more introverted… More »

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    Your Boss’s Work-Life Balance Matters as Much as Your Own

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    What leaders say is far less important than what they do.  That’s one of the clearest conclusions we drew from a study, in collaboration with HBR, of 19,000 employees around the world, focused on how they experience their lives at work. (You can still take the survey to see how your experience compares to other HBR readers’.) As we reported last week, companies seeking more sustainable high performance from their employees need to meet four… More »

  • Why No One Wants to Buy Your Used Heirloom Furniture

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    With stores like Ikea and Target importing large volumes of inexpensive desks, tables, chairs, and sofas, the cost of furniture, in constant dollars, has fallen about 50% over the past 30 years, according to the Wall Street Journal. The result has been a decline in the U.S. market for used furniture: Many homeowners trying to downsize have discovered that their prized pieces are impossible to sell. Even the Salvation Army is getting pickier about what… More »

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    Restore Trust at Work with These 3 Words

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    We are allies. Three simple words. Yet when spoken by a manager to an employee, these may be three of the most powerful words possible. Most of us spend the majority of our waking hours at work, on our way to and from work, or thinking about work. When we meet someone new, the first question Americans ask and are asked is typically, “So, what do you do?” When we describe someone else, we usually lead… More »

  • Regulation Is Hurting Cabs and Helping Uber

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    Upfront confession: I’m a big fan of Uber and regularly use this private car service both personally and professionally. After years of experiencing taxi monopoly-like “we’ll get to you when, and treat you how, we please” service, riding with Uber is pure joy. And it’s not just me who shares this love. The company was recently valued at $18.2 billion (only Facebook has raised capital from private investors at a higher valuation). As much as I… More »

  • 7 Reasons Your Company Can’t Hire

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    Since the beginning of the recession, hiring managers are taking much longer to fill open positions. BLS data shows that in May the number of open jobs reached its highest point since the summer of 2007, but the rate of hiring is still well below its pre-recession peak. While many human resources managers cite structural issues like the skills gap as a key explanation, recruitment strategy plays a crucially important role. We recently surveyed more… More »

  • Ethics for Technologists (and Facebook)

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    I recently finished writing a book about business experimentation and its future. In retrospect, if I had to write it again, I’d include a section or chapter on ethics. The ongoing explosion of technologically-enabled business opportunities inherently expand the ethical dilemmas, quandaries and trade-offs managements will confront. Consider the global controversies surrounding Facebook’s “social mood contagion” experiments. (Full disclosure: My brother is a senior Facebook executive; this post does not reflect our conversations.) As Big Data resources and… More »

  • A Great Negotiator’s Essential Advice

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    The Program on Negotiation (PON), an active Harvard-MIT-Tufts consortium, draws lessons from the world’s best negotiators. This year, PON honored Ambassador Tommy Koh of Singapore as its 2014 “Great Negotiator.”  PON has annually granted this award to a range of remarkable men and women such as former Secretary of State James Baker, Lazard CEO Bruce Wasserstein, and U.S. Special Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky. Tommy Koh became the youngest ambassador ever appointed to the United Nations… More »

  • It’s Time for Boards to Cross the Digital Divide

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    Is there any aspect of your daily life and business that is not significantly affected by digital technology? Not likely. Just think about all the ways that digital is integrated into your own daily routine. The ever-growing digital wave is washing over just about every facet of our personal and organizational lives, our consumer experiences, and across every industry and sector in its impact on business models and processes. So one would think that, in light of… More »

  • Get Your Brain Unstuck

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    It’s 10:20 pm — and you’re still at the office. Any moment now, the cleaning crew will arrive and the vacuuming will start and you’ll have to put on your headphones just to hear yourself think. Your wife calls, asking if she should wait up. “Leaving any minute,” you tell her, staring up at an empty screen. You haven’t produced anything substantive for hours. Yet for reasons you can’t understand, it’s been impossible to walk… More »

  • What You Need to Know About Segmentation

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    The marketers of Clearblue Advanced Pregnancy Test, a product that can tell you if you’re one-week, two-weeks, or three-plus weeks pregnant, asked a couple of D-list celebrities to tweet out their positive tests back in 2013. As Businessweek’s Jessica Grose reported, the maker of the test, Swiss Precision Diagnostics, has a 25% share of the at-home pregnancy-testing industry and is targeting its marketing efforts at Millennials. Grose quotes IbisWorld researcher Jocelyn Phillips as pointing to… More »

  • All Hail the Humble Solar-Powered Trash Bin

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    The solar-powered trash compactors that have appeared on the streets of Philadelphia and other cities can go 4 times as long as old-fashioned wire baskets before needing to be emptied, saving municipalities millions of dollars, according to CNN. Not only that, they send alerts when they’re full, making pickup much more efficient. Philadelphia was able to reduce the size of its trash-collection crews by 73% as a result.

  • Should Marketing or R&D Have More Power?

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    R&D and marketing typically come at product development from different angles, and R&D’s “things” approach is often at odds with marketing’s “people” focus. In companies where R&D is very powerful, marketers can sometimes be heard complaining about products that are hard to understand and use. Where marketing is more in charge, R&D’s complaints tend to be about a lack of imagination, of too many incremental innovations. So when it comes to new-product development, which function should… More »