HBR IdeaCast

HBR IdeaCast

A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.

Episodes

September 27, 2022 28 min
Most organizations have now accepted that the days of all their knowledge workers coming into the office full time are over. So what's next? Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and cofounder of Gitlab, thinks all-remote can be the answer. His open-source software development company took that approach from the start not because of the pandemic but because its founding team was dispersed and early employees were more productive at home. Now wi...
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Measuring a broad set of standards across the organization seems like a fair way to judge employees’ performance year over year. But Heidi Gardner, distinguished fellow at Harvard Law School, says performance management systems often incentivize employees to scramble to hit their numbers and lose sight of the organizations’ bigger objectives. To boost collaboration and long-term customer value, Gardner shares a four-part scorecard ...
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Rolling Stone launched in 1967 with a mission to not only redefine music journalism but also chronicle important societal changes. Under the leadership of founding editor and publisher Jann Wenner, it published work from some of the 20th century’s greatest writers, reporters, designers and photographers. He explains how he identified and managed that talent and shares other lessons from his five decades at the forefront of rock and...
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Work-life support programs have long been known to lower turnover and raise employee loyalty. But new research shows they also have a positive effect on promoting diversity among managers at those firms, an effect that’s even stronger than that of some popular racial-equity programs. Alexandra Kalev chairs the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, and she explains why having strong, thoughtful policies ar...
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It might still seem like a buzzword, or something that only matters to tech CEOs. But Matthew Ball, CEO of Epyllion and the former global head of strategy for Amazon Studios, says the metaverse is the "new internet" – and that it's already here. He argues that companies large and small need to not only better understand what the metaverse is, but should also be developing strategies around it today. That can have an imp...
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It's a dilemma facing more and more brands: should you sell your goods on Amazon? It's the most visited e-commerce platform in the U.S. and the dominant retailer in 28 other countries. But that reach comes at a price. There are downsides like costs, competition, and lack of data. Ayelet Israeli is an associate professor at Harvard Business School and a coauthor of the HBR article "Should Your Company Sell on Amazon?"...
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Work is challenging for lots of reasons, but most of us have probably come to realize that what makes or break a professional experience is people – and sometimes we encounter a boss, peer, or direct report that isn’t at all fun to work with. Amy Gallo is a contributing editor at HBR, and author of the book “Getting Along: How to Work with Anyone, Even Difficult People” and the HBR article “How to Navigate Conflict with a Coworker....

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Making business decisions often means choosing one path over another. And psychology research shows that our brains are wired to make either-or choices. But Wendy Smith, management professor at the University of Delaware, and Marianne Lewis, dean of the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business, argue for moving beyond tradeoffs. The researchers teach leaders how to embrace ambiguity and paradox to come up with solutions...
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Around the world, we've become increasingly cynical about other people, public institutions, and corporations. In Edelman's 2022 Trust Barometer, nearly 60% of respondents across 27 countries reported that their default is to distrust. And that's very bad for business, says Stanford University associate professor of psychology Jamil Zaki. He says that cynics perform and feel worse, and in workplaces, they breed toxicity...
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July 26, 2022 28 min
For many of us, uncertainty is nerve-wracking. However, many of our best achievements and meaningful experiences come from a trying time of ambiguity. INSEAD professor Nathan Furr and entrepreneur Susannah Harmon Furr argue that uncertainty and possibility are two sides of the same coin. By learning to welcome and cope with the gray area, an individual can reach better outcomes. They reviewed research and interviewed innovators and...
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For years, union membership has been shrinking in the United States and many other countries. But recently we've seen a resurgence, with employees in sectors like retail, hospitality, and media organizing to collectively bargain for better pay, benefits, and job flexibility. Thomas Kochan, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has long studied how unions affect individual, team, and corporate performance. He explai...
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For a long time, we have believed that strong corporate governance is enough to prevent CEO malfeasance. However, new research shows that the lifestyle behaviors of executives can spell trouble for companies, regardless of the guardrails in place. Aiyesha Dey, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, has investigated executives’ past criminal records and the cost of their homes and automobiles. Her research has linked an ...
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When things aren't going well -- in our own lives, our community, our country, or the world -- it's hard to be productive at work. Most of us also shy away from sharing what we're feeling with colleagues and bosses. But when strong emotions like anxiety, anger, and despair hit you -- due to problems at work or outside it -- it's important to recognize and thoughtfully address them. Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy...
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As the novel coronavirus surfaced in Wuhan in 2019, Chinese officials called for mobile isolation wards. Haier Group partnered with suppliers to design and construct units quickly, thanks to the openness of the leading manufacturer’s digital platforms. Unlike Haier, many companies have tightly regulated, siloed platforms. Georgetown Professor Kasra Ferdows says more companies can unlock innovations by extending their platforms to f...
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In an ideal world, professional conflicts are settled with thoughtful discussion and collaborative decision-making. But that’s not usually how it works. More typically, you see leaders - or the loudest voices - win out, leaving others resentful. And sometimes people don’t even try to hash out differences of opinion; they’d prefer to avoid a fight. Bo Seo, two-time world champion debater, says we can learn to disagree in healthier, ...
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Despite the investments made in the last few years, many companies are falling short of their diversity, equity, and inclusion aims. Some firms have faced difficulty spreading their DEI efforts top-down throughout the organization. Trier Bryant, the cofounder and CEO of Just Work, details why and shares a framework that teams and individuals can use to fight bias on the day-to-day level at work.
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Kathryn Judge, a finance professor at Columbia Law School, is troubled by the rise of intermediary platforms between products and services and the customers who eventually purchase them. Thanks to technology and globalization, she shows how the importance of “middlemen” in the value chain has increased, along with the length of global supply chains. Judge details the downsides and risks of this trend. And she explains how customers...
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In eras past, the United States welcomed immigrant laborers to build and support the country's infrastructure and innovators and entrepreneurs to advance its businesses and technology. And yet immigration is a hot-button issue today, with many saying it's a drain on the U.S. economy. Ran Abramitzky, a professor at Stanford University, and Leah Boustan, a professor at Princeton, looked at decades of data to understand the re...
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Underperforming state agencies, a natural disaster, and a pandemic are among the many challenges that faced Massachusetts Governor Charlie Baker and his former Chief of Staff Steve Kadish. Looking back during the final year of the Baker Administration, they say running a government is very different and often much harder than leading a private-sector company. And they share their four-part framework for breaking down complicated pr...
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It feels like a moment of panic for many. While there were some success stories in how public and private sector leaders managed the global pandemic, it isn't over, and many more crises -- from political polarization to climate change to new technological threats -- loom. But one leading political scientist is hopeful that countries and corporations can find ways to overcome their divisions and better collaborate on our most pr...
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