Harvard Business Review November - December 2018

For over 80 years, Harvard Business Review magazine has been an indispensable and unrivaled source of ideas, insight, and inspiration for business leaders worldwide. Each issue contains breakthrough ideas on strategy, leadership, innovation and management. Now, newly redesigned, HBR presents these ideas in a smart new design with improved navigation and rich infographics. Become a more effective leader by subscribing to Harvard Business Review.

United States
Harvard Business School Publishing
6 期号


stability amid turmoil

One of the most striking things about this year’s list of the best-performing CEOs is how consistent it is with last year’s. Fully 70% of the leaders in our 2018 ranking are returnees. That stability is reflected in the average tenure of the CEOs—16 years, compared with 7.2 years for S&P 500 CEOs in 2017. These are extraordinarily turbulent times, and the longevity of our top 100 is remarkable. The CEOs on our list (beginning on page 41) have prospered even as the global business environment has gotten more challenging. Escalating trade tensions only add to the complexities of digitization, disruption, and shifting consumer expectations. Of course, the trends cut both ways: The forces that kept Pablo Isla of Inditex (parent of fast-fashion leader Zara) atop our ranking are the same…


When Cameroon native Acha Leke completed a PhD at Stanford, in 1999, he felt a strong pull to return to Africa. “I had to come back to effect change,” he says. He joined McKinsey & Company and eventually opened its office in Nigeria—the first for any major consultancy. Currently the chair of McKinsey’s Africa practice, Leke has helped dozens of companies access African markets. He is a coauthor of Africa’s Business Revolution, from which this article is adapted. Ayelet Fishbach has built a career studying ways in which people fail at self-control. She enjoys testing her findings on herself. She recently started watching her favorite TV show while on the treadmill, because one of her studies showed that it’s virtually impossible to adhere to long-term goals that aren’t inherently enjoyable. “I…


THE NEED TO CULTIVATE CURIOSITY HBR ARTICLE BY FRANCESCA GINO, SEPTEMBER–OCTOBER Leaders may say they value inquisitive minds, but in reality they often stifle curiosity, fearing it will increase risk and inefficiency. Yet new research shows that curiosity is vital to an organization’s performance. So how can leaders nurture it and ensure that it translates into success? This article is an insightful look at curiosity and how it affects creativity, productivity, and so much more in organizations. But the Ford Model T example confused me. In his effort to improve the model, didn’t Ford experiment and innovate? Don’t precision and focus on efficiency require even a little curiosity? Maybe the focus was narrow, but wouldn’t the breadth of possible solutions require an exploratory approach? Surely the endeavor to make improvements would have prompted…

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making process improvements stick

Starting with Frederick Taylor and W. Edwards Deming, managers have long been obsessed with ways to improve business processes. And in the past 20 years a host of improvement initiatives, including lean production, Six Sigma, and agile, have swept through a range of industries. Studies show that companies embracing such techniques may enjoy significant improvements in efficiency and costs. But when the University of North Carolina’s Brad Staats and the University of Oxford’s Matthias Holweg and David Upton looked at the benefits, they noticed a gap. “These things always work well initially, but often the gains fade very quickly,” Holweg says. “It’s always felt like researchers were telling only half the story. It’s not just about putting the programs in place—it’s also about making them stick.” To understand why some improvements…

helen bevan

“Leaders must make sense of these things.” Why is it so hard to sustain an initiative’s improvements? It’s an issue of energy. And when a new initiative comes along, people ask, “What do we do with the old one?” Much of our workforce models the behavior of senior leaders, and when those leaders shift their energy to something else, it’s hard to sustain things. What differentiates changes that stick? Sustainability starts at the beginning, in how we frame a project and what it means to the organization and our purpose. It’s the difference between behaving like a buyer and behaving like an investor. If we’re asking doctors to get on board something that’s under way, it’s already too late. We need to get them invested in the project, and thinking like owners,…