Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto

 / Business & Finance
Rotman Management

Rotman Management Fall 2012

Published in January, May and September by the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto, Rotman Management explores themes of interest to leaders, innovators and entrepreneurs. Each issue features thought-provoking insights and problem-solving tools from leading global researchers and management practitioners. The magazine reflects Rotman’s role as a catalyst for transformative thinking that creates value for business and society.

Rotman School of Management, University of Toronto
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3 Issues


3 min.
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THE FALLOUT FROM THE GLOBAL FINANCIAL CRISIS is but one of the challenges facing today’s leaders. Through a combination of misaligned priorities, allegiance to worn-out models – and plain oldfashioned greed – an environment has been created where many people expect the worst from leaders – and too often, they get it. The result: trust in institutions and the people who lead them is at an all-time low. In the 2012 Edelman Trust Barometer, the general public’s trust in business fell to its lowest level ever: 47 per cent globally. The least-trusted industries? Financial services, followed closely by banks. Not surprisingly, the situation is much worse in the U.S.: the 2012 Chicago Booth/Kellogg Financial Trust Index found that only 23 per cent of Americans trust their financial system. Clearly, business leaders…

14 min.
user-driven innovation: putting an end to inventing in the dark

WHILE UNCERTAINTY IS RAMPANT in today’s economy, one thing is clear: public policy to increase innovation is generally not working. Governments and companies across the developed world obsess about spurring innovation, lavishing time, attention and money on developing and implementing innovation policy. Their overwhelming fear is that rapidly-developing economies will copy anything they can and produce it at a much more attractive cost. As a result, the only way forward is to continually innovate. Yet these well-intentioned efforts have produced little in the way of productivity gains. A major part of the problem is that most governments and companies have designed strategies and policies to boost invention, not innovation. These are two different entities, and public policy must recognize this distinction if it is to foster the innovation we need to…

12 min.
thought leader interview: bill george

You have said that an ‘enormous vacuum’ exists in leadership today. Please explain. I refer to the last 10 years as ‘leadership’s lost decade’. It all started with Enron andWorldcom, two of the first large companies to have, shall we say, ‘ethical lapses’; then we hit the crisis of 2008, where countless leaders seemingly put their heads down and focused on personal gain, not bothering to think about the bigger picture. As a result of all this, public trust in business is at its lowest level in 50 years; and in business, trust is everything. I think a lot of the bad behaviour emerged from having the wrong definition of leadership – an image of the all-powerful leader at the top of an organization, and a top-down, hierarchical approach. These qualities have…

17 min.
restoring institutional trust: a systemic approach

THE TITLE OF FORMER U.S. TREASURY SECRETARY Henry Paulson’s book On the Brink puts it rather succinctly: between 2007 and 2009, the global economy really did nearly collapse. What has become known as the global financial crisis (GFC) is the worst such crisis since the Great Depression. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) estimates that it destroyed US$4.1 trillion worth of wealth worldwide: hundreds of firms – from titans of Wall Street to small family businesses dependent on suddenly cash-starved customers – were wiped out. Thousands lost their jobs, pensions, savings and homes. Not surprisingly, the GFC profoundly shook society’s trust in financial institutions – a major issue that must be dealt with if they are to thrive going forward. As Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, said while testifying in front…

14 min.
the neuroscience of change how to reset your brain

IN THE LATE SPRING OF 1905, an utterly frustrated 26-year old Albert Einstein decided to pour his heart out to his friend and fellow Swiss Patent Office worker, Michele Besso. Einstein revealed the puzzle he had been wrestling with for the last decade: either James Maxwell or Isaac Newton had to be wrong – but he couldn’t figure out which was the case. Both were pillars of modern Physics, but in his mind they were completely incompatible. Einstein laid out the issue to Besso: the intricacies ofMaxwell’s theory about light travelling at a constant speed contradicted Newton’s concept of absolute space and time. He talked for hours, until he once again surrendered to the problem – completely exhausted, both mentally and physically – whereupon he announced his defeat and intent to…

14 min.
purpose and the power of collective ambition

THE MEDIA IS FILLED WITH TALES of all the bad things that happen – criminal acts, disasters both man-made and natural, wrongdoing by government officials and businesses. The assumption seems to be that tragedy attracts more interest than good news, and perhaps even more so when the world around us is marked by uncertainty. Indeed, the global financial crisis seems to have made this tendency to dwell on unpleasant happenings even more pronounced. As seemingly-invincible companies folded and government bailouts became necessary, the focus on disaster seemed never-ending. Unfortunately, this focus on unpleasantness has not abated, even as signs of a revival have emerged. What has been ignored is that, while most companies are still feeling the pain of the global financial crisis, another view of the world of business is…