Harvard Business Review Special Issues Spring 2021

Harvard Business Review OnPoint makes it fast and easy to put HBR’s ideas to work. Handpicked by HBR’s editors to bring readers the most relevant ideas and insight on a single business topic, these collections include full-text articles, summaries of key points, and suggestions for further reading, plus content selected from hbr.org.

United States
Harvard Business School Publishing


keep your career moving

YOU’RE WORKING HARDER than ever, but there’s no way you’re going to get a promotion since the economy’s so uncertain. Or maybe you’re worried about looming layoffs—or trying to bounce back from one. Career resilience is about crafting your career so that you can keep pursuing your ambitions in tough times—and so you’re perfectly poised to reinvent yourself when you need to. This work starts with minimizing the risk of losing the job you have now and finding creative ways to advance within it. That could mean making yourself more visible to your boss or even asking for a promotion. But you may also be able to recraft your current job in new ways. In “Turn the Job You Have into the Job You Want,” Amy Wrzesniewski and her coauthors describe a…

how to protect your job in a recession

IN A TROUBLED ECONOMY, job eliminations and hiring freezes seem almost routine, but when your own company’s woes start to make headlines, it all hits home. Intellectually, you understand that downsizing isn’t personal; it’s just a law of commerce, but your heart sinks at the prospect of losing your position. While you know that passivity is a mistake, it’s hard to be proactive when your boss’s door is always closed, new projects are put on hold, and your direct reports look to you for reassurance. Don’t panic. Even though layoff decisions may be beyond your control, there’s plenty you can do. That’s what we’ve observed in numerous layoffs over the years and in research on how people respond to stressful work conditions. (Author Janet Banks oversaw a dozen downsizings as a…

you may still need a plan b

Following the best advice is no guarantee that you won’t get laid off. That’s why you need a plan for handling a job loss. The first key to moving on successfully is self-awareness. You’ll have better luck finding a new job if you know what you’re good at and what you’d really like to do, so it’s wise to invest mental energy now in figuring those things out. If you have results from a Myers-Briggs test or a 360-degree assessment, revisit them to understand your strengths and weaknesses. Read self-help books to inspire your thinking, or perhaps even hire an executive coach. (Just make sure to get references and agree on fees before you start with any coach.) Don’t wait till you get laid off to update your résumé. Revise it now,…

making yourself indispensable

A MANAGER WE’LL call Tom was a midlevel sales executive at a Fortune 500 company. After a dozen or so years there, he was thriving—he made his numbers, he was well liked, he got consistently positive reviews. He applied for a promotion that would put him in charge of a high-profile worldwide product-alignment initiative, confident that he was the top candidate and that this was the logical next move for him, a seemingly perfect fit for his skills and ambitions. His track record was solid. He’d made no stupid mistakes or career-limiting moves, and he’d had no run-ins with upper management. He was stunned, then, when a colleague with less experience got the job. What was the matter? As far as Tom could tell, nothing. Everyone was happy with his work,…

what skills will magnify my strengths?

CHARACTER Displays Honesty and Integrity • Shows concern and consideration for others• Is trustworthy• Demonstrates optimism• Is assertive• Inspires and motivates others• Deals well with ambiguity• Is decisive• Focuses on results PERSONAL CAPABILITY Exhibits Technical/Professional Expertise • Solves problems and analyzes issues• Builds relationships and networks• Communicates powerfully and broadly• Pursues excellence• Takes initiative• Develops others• Displays honesty and integrity• Acts in the team’s best interest Solves Problems and Analyzes Issues • Takes initiative• Is organized and good at planning• Is decisive• Innovates• Wants to tackle challenges• Develops strategic perspective• Acts independently• Has technical expertise• Communicates powerfully and broadly Innovates • Is willing to take risks and challenge the status quo• Supports others in risk-taking• Solves problems and analyzes issues• Champions change• Learns quickly from success and failure• Develops strategic perspective• Takes initiative Practices Self-Development • Listens• Is open to others’…

turn the job you have into the job you want

A 30-YEAR-OLD MIDLEVEL manager—let’s call her Fatima—is struggling at work, but you wouldn’t know it from outward appearances. A star member of her team in the marketing division of a large multinational foods company, Fatima consistently hits her benchmarks and goals. She invests long hours and has built relationships with colleagues that she deeply values. And her senior managers think of her as one of the company’s high potentials. But outside the office, Fatima (who asked not to be identified by her real name) would admit that she feels stagnant in her job, trapped by the tension between day-to-day demands and what she really wants to be doing: exploring how the company can use social media in its marketing eff orts. Twitter, her cause-marketing blog, and mobile gadgets are her main…