Harvard Business Review June 2016

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United States
Harvard Business School Publishing
6 期号


wonder, adventure, and learning

The late, great Warren Bennis believed that leaders need two essential attributes: emotional intelligence and an ability to keep learning. “The executives who don’t get ousted,” he said in a 2001 interview with Ivey Business Journal, “are those who continue to keep their eyebrows raised in wonder and adventure, and are learning all the time.” Bennis, who died two years ago, would have loved “Why Organizations Don’t Learn,” an HBR article from last November by Francesca Gino, of Harvard Business School, and Bradley Staats, of the University of North Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler Business School. The authors analyzed why companies struggle to become or remain “learning organizations.” They found that deeply ingrained biases often get in the way, causing employees to focus too much on success, take action too quickly, try too hard to…


When Michael D. Watkins became intrigued by the challenges leaders face in taking on new roles, he abandoned his work in negotiation and diplomacy, against the advice of colleagues, to pursue his new interest. Four books followed, including The First 90 Days and Your Next Move. Only much later did Watkins make the connection between his fascination with transitions and his formative experience of living in six cities and attending seven schools between the ages of three and 12. His article on managing an inherited team begins on page 60. Amy C. Edmondson has long studied corporate teams, but it was a sustainable-city project five years ago that illuminated the next frontier for her: helping people from across industries collaborate. Listening to builders on the project complain about the software guys,…

don’t blame it on company culture

I loved it that the CEOs saw the three-legged stool of decision rights, performance measurement, and rewards systems as the foundation for successful change. However, as “the way things are done around here,” culture cannot easily be divorced from strategy. Strategy is the front wheel and handlebars of the bike, and culture is the chain, cogs, and back wheel. Leaders will win the race only when they allow the two halves to work together. Daniel Patrick Forrester, founder and CEO, Thruue People are not machines. You can’t just give them a new system and expect them to embrace it. They need to shift their perspectives and behave differently; otherwise you’ll just have a bunch of processes no one uses. Leaders have to create opportunities for people to reflect on what the business needs…

how private equity firms hire ceos

When students working in teams of eight or more were asked how much of the work they had personally performed, the answers totaled more than 140%—and the larger the team, the more exaggerated the claims. “MANY HANDS MAKE OVERLOOKED WORK: OVER-CLAIMING OF RESPONSIBILITY INCREASES WITH GROUP SIZE,” BY JULIANA SCHROEDER, EUGENE M. CARUSO, AND NICHOLAS EPLEY (JOURNAL OF EXPERIMENTAL PSYCHOLOGY: APPLIED, 2016) Corporate boards often say that succession planning is their top priority, but at publicly traded companies, directors rarely get to turn that planning into action: The average CEO tenure at S&P 500 firms is nearly 10 years. That’s in sharp contrast to the private equity world. PE firms hold investments in dozens of companies, and after making an investment, they nearly always replace the CEO. As a result, although a…

“we’re looking for player-coaches”

How do private equity firms think about CEO hires compared with how public companies think about them? Public company CEOs have to sell the company’s story to different constituencies, including investors. Charisma and confidence are very important. And they often have large staffs; they’re delegating and have less responsibility for day-to-day operations. In the private equity model, we’re looking for “player-coaches” who will lead a smaller team and collaborate very closely with owners to create value. Has your hiring philosophy changed during your career? Definitely— over 25 years, I’ve seen what’s worked and what hasn’t. I used to hire a resume—someone with the skills and experience that fit the specs. We usually reverted to someone who went to the right schools and grew up in the industry. Today I worry less…

another gender gap: advance booking

When Apple CEO Tim Cook spoke out against antigay legislation, people tended to shift their views in his direction—and those who agreed with him became more inclined to buy Apple products. “DO CEO ACTIVISTS MAKE A DIFFERENCE? EVIDENCE FROM A FIELD EXPERIMENT,” BY AARON K. CHATTERJI AND MICHAEL W. TOFFEL Crunching data on 6.4 million business flight bookings, researchers led by Carlson Wagonlit Travel discovered that on average, women book flights nearly two full days earlier than men do. Other key findings: • Millennial women get the shortest head start on men. • In general, the older the traveler, the earlier he or she books—but in every age group, women book earlier than men. • The more frequent the travel, the shorter the advance booking time—and gender differences virtually disappear at more than 20 trips…