Harvard Business Review

Harvard Business Review November/December 2019

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.

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United States
Harvard Business School Publishing
USD 18.99
USD 89
6 Números

en este número

2 min.
the truth about ceo tenure

THE LEADERS ON OUR 2019 list of the world’s best-performing CEOs demonstrate remarkable longevity. They’ve held their jobs for an average of 15 years, more than twice the average tenure of an S&P 500 CEO. They’ve prospered by outperforming their peers both financially and on increasingly important environmental, social, and governance measures. (Though once again, there’s a discouraging dearth of women on the list—a result of the dearth of women at the helm of public companies.) Of course, no CEO—even the executives atop our ranking—can excel on all fronts all the time. This reality raises a question that boards and investors must deal with: How can you tell if a down quarter is a blip or the beginning of a long-term trend? More to the point, how do you know if…

2 min.
the statement debate

Within companies, people may disagree about the differences between purpose statements, mission statements, vision statements, and the like. If you examine corporate websites, you’ll find little uniformity regarding which of the various terms are used, and how. The multiplicity of constructs only adds to the challenge of writing a strong purpose statement. We’ve seen too many discussions about purpose devolve into semantic arguments or result in a proliferation of disparate messages. Rather than endlessly debate labels or the need for different types of statements, you should provide your employees, customers, and investors with clarity on three things: 1 Why does your organization exist? This is the place to start, and it boils down to a simple issue: Whose needs are you here to meet, and how are you uniquely equipped to…

1 min.
a short history of gdp

Gross domestic product (GDP), developed in the 1930s, is rightly heralded as one of the greatest inventions of the 20th century. It measures the monetary value of all final goods produced in an economy. It is widely used as a proxy for well-being; however, Simon Kuznets, the leader of the team that created it, warned that “the welfare of a nation can scarcely be inferred” from GDP, nor was that its purpose when it was created. Among its weaknesses is that it fails to capture negative externalities associated with growth, such as pollution or congestion. Moreover, nonmarket activities—such as household production (when people do unpaid tasks for themselves at home)—are not included in GDP. Since its conception, GDP has been updated, revised, and extended a number of times. For instance, better measures…

2 min.
making someone a “tipping point” boosts donations

The idea that a small action can have a large effect—that it becomes a so-called tipping point—has been used to explain phenomena ranging from bank runs and labor strikes to riots and revolutions. New research explores its potential in another arena: fundraising. Across five studies, people who were told their response would push some aggregate behavior over a desired social threshold (“We are at 74% participation, and your action will get us to our target of 75%”) were far more likely than others to act. In one of the studies, 331 people were informed of a crowdfunding project to feed hungry children. Some participants were told that one more donor was needed to reach the organization’s goal; a subset was also told that reaching the goal would trigger matching donations for…

19 min.
cracking the code of sustained collaboration

AUTHOR Professor, Harvard Business School Ask any leader whether his or her organization values collaboration, and you’ll get a resounding yes. Ask whether the firm’s strategies to increase collaboration have been successful, and you’ll probably receive a different answer. “No change seems to stick or to produce what we expected,” an executive at a large pharmaceutical company recently told me. Most of the dozens of leaders I’ve interviewed on the subject report similar feelings of frustration: So much hope and effort, so little to show for it. One problem is that leaders think about collaboration too narrowly: as a value to cultivate but not a skill to teach. Businesses have tried increasing it through various methods, from open offices to naming it an official corporate goal. While many of these approaches yield progress—mainly by…

2 min.
the pros and cons of having a few big customers

Not all customers are created equal. Particularly in B2B sectors, many firms have a few vital customers that provide a disproportionate share of revenue—and sales teams focus on those accounts. There can be advantages to having a handful of VIP clients: The approach is efficient (it requires a smaller sales force and less prospecting than otherwise); the steady stream of repeat orders can stabilize cash flow; and the reliance demonstrated by a key account is a convincing testimonial. But depending on just a few accounts can also be risky (what happens if one defects?), and large buyers might use their status to negotiate better prices, hurting profitability. A new study looks at how all this plays out for young companies. Researchers examined the financial records of 1,023 firms that went public…