Posts Tagged ‘management’

HBR's 10 Must Reads 2017

HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017 presents a selection of the year’s most definitive management articles by some of the world’s forefront business thought leaders. Each article was hand-selected by Harvard Business Review editors to present a critical theme that is relevant to the modern business w

orld. These articles collectively represent the best practices, ideas, and insights of the

past year, and they aim to educate business leaders on collaborative overload, the necessity of managing algorithms, design thinking, negotiating across cultures, finding career success in a world of automation, and much more.

HBR’s 10 Must Reads 2017 presents 11 of the most cutting-edge, influential articles published in Harvard Business Review in the past year. Key concepts from these pieces include:

  • The negative effects of constant collaboration. Collaborative work has increased dramatically, and while there are clear benefits to this level of teamwork, too much collaboration can have its downsides. Employees who engage in an overabundance of collaborative activities can cause workflow bottlenecks and eventually burn out.
  • The importance of human oversight when using algorithms. Managers who make business predictions often rely on algorithms to identify subtle patterns, but computer algorithms have their limitations. Algorithms are most effective when managers are explicit about their goals and concerns, minimize myopia, and choose the right inputs.
  • The intricacies of doing business abroad. When managers from different parts of the world negotiate, they often misread signals and reach inaccurate conclusions. Managers can overcome these issues by building trust, paying attention to subtle messages, and understanding how to express their emotions.
  • The necessity of evolving the role of the Chief Human Resource Officer (CHRO). CHROs should be empowered to think strategically about their workforce talent to provide competitive advantages for their organizations.
  • The need for knowledge workers to think about work beyond automation. In the future, some workplace roles may be made obsolete by machines, but to continue to find new roles employees must proactively work with technology rather than against it.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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The Serving LeaderThe Serving Leader by Kenneth R. Jennings and John Stahl-Wert showcases the powerful yet paradoxical method of achieving greatness by serving others. They intertwine tales of an estranged son and his dying father within the lessons to provide insight into the five actions anyone can take to transform his or her organization or community. Serving Leadership has power and value in many different types of environments, including industries, nonprofits, schools, homes, and churches. The best Serving Leaders turn everything the world knows about traditional leadership upside down and achieve amazing results by doing so.

Serving Leaders must follow five specific and powerful actions if they want to totally transform their businesses, communities, or teams. While these five actions seem paradoxical, they have been proven to yield extraordinary outcomes:

  1. Run to great purpose. Every person, team, organization, or community needs a purpose to help fuel their work. Serving Leaders are people in pursuit of a great purpose. They articulate this purpose in a way that is so compelling that people are willing to run toward it. The leaders set the pace, and this spirit gets transferred to the people they serve.
  2. Upend the pyramid. In a traditional leadership environment, the leader is at the top of the pyramid looking down on all his or her workers, team members, and community citizens. But in a Serving Leadership environment, the pyramid is flipped upside down. In this scenario, the leaders put other people first. They give credit to others before themselves. In doing this, the people they build up will do the same for those they work with. The cycle continues.
  3. Raise the bar. While on the surface Serving Leadership seems soft, it is the opposite. In Serving Leadership environments, standards are very high. No one can join the team unless they meet very rigid criteria. Once they are there, high expectations for performance are placed on them. Mistakes may happen and can be forgiven, but training and corrections are immediately put into place. Those who cannot perform even after extensive coaching are let go.
  4. Blaze the trail. There are often very tough barriers for people to get through on the road to success. Serving Leaders move those barriers and eliminate obstacles to make success easier for those they are leading.
  5. Build on strength. While it may be common for people to think they need to work on their weaknesses, in a Serving Leadership environment, people focus on their strengths. They know their weaknesses but instead of trying to fix them, they find other people who are strong in that area and bring them onto the team.

To learn more, please visit www.bizsum.com

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20-minute-manager-difficult-conversationsWhether confronting a colleague, giving feedback, or filing a complaint with management, finding the right words and methods to express oneself during a difficult conversation can be a challenge. And while most professionals might prefer avoiding any workplace confrontation, doing so often makes things worse. Harvard Business Review Press’s 20 Minute Manager: Difficult Conversations not only demonstrates the benefits of confronting contentious issues head-on but also provides a step-by-step guide to transforming interpersonal conflicts into productive dialogue. The book highlights the qualities and skills professionals need to become better communicators and examines how they can maintain positive relationships at work.

The book explains that in order to transform contentious conversations into highly constructive ones, professionals must:

  • Pinpoint the root of the problem. To resolve an interpersonal conflict with a productive conversation, a professional must first have a clear understanding of where the problem is stemming from.
  • Develop self-awareness and emotional intelligence. Only when professionals look within and empathize with how others are feeling can they calmly navigate difficult conversations.
  • Prepare for the conversation. To ensure that a difficult conversation goes smoothly, a professional must carefully plan what he or she is going to say and anticipate the different ways the conversation may unfold.
  • Stay calm and collected. Difficult conversations can easily become emotionally volatile; therefore, professionals must always try to maintain a calm, neutral tone and ignore any inflammatory language directed their way.
  • Reflect. To have consistently better and more productive future interactions, professionals must take a moment after the conclusion of each difficult conversation to identify what did and did not work.
  • Follow up on the conversation in writing. To fortify the positive outcome of a difficult conversation, a professional must quickly reiterate and reinforce what was agreed upon with the other party in an email.
  • Become better communicators. Effective communication does not just make difficult conversations easier, it can also help professionals’ self-esteem, improve workplace relationships, and mitigate conflict.

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superbossesThere are a few lucky people in the world today who have been managed and mentored by excellent bosses. These bosses motivate, coach, and inspire employees in consistent but unconventional ways. Sydney Finkelstein researched how these leaders operate and documented his finding in Superbosses, which outlines the differences between traditional managers and these unique leaders and highlights their best practices. The result is a playbook that others can use to enhance their own managerial and leadership skills.

Superbosses are a unique category of supervisor. They recruit, motivate, coach, and inspire employees in consistent but unconventional ways. Research conducted by Sydney Finkelstein highlights the following facts about superbosses:

  • Superbosses typically fall into one of three categories: Iconoclasts, Glorious Bastards, and Nurturers. Iconoclasts are fixated on their work, Glorious Bastards are focused on winning at all costs, and Nurturers guide their employees to reach their maximum potential.
  • Superbosses share five characteristics. They are highly confident, competitive, imaginative, authentic, and they possess high levels of integrity.
  • When hiring, superbosses follow their own rules. They look for people with unusual intelligence, creativity, and extreme flexibility. Superbosses tend to be opportunistic when it comes to hiring.
  • Superbosses become talent magnets. As star employees leave for other opportunities, there is a continual pipeline of new, promising talent waiting in the wings.
  • Superbosses expect world class performance from employees. They inspire performance and instill self-confidence in their protégés.
  • Superbosses are innovators and expect employees to be innovative also. They encourage risk taking and rule breaking, view failure as opportunities, and refuse to accept complacency.
  • Superbosses embrace the apprenticeship model. They offer mentoring to employees and take responsibility for their growth and development.
  • Superbosses are skilled delegators. They understand the details of their businesses. After delegating tasks, they leave employees alone if things are going well. If things go awry they step in and take action.

To learn more, please visit http://www.bizsum.com

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What's Next, Gen X?Stuck behind a large generation of Boomer leaders, challenged by an eager generation of Millennial whiz kids, and facing the tough mid-career years, Generation X faces a multitude of challenges in the workplace. In What’s Next, Gen X?, award-winning author and organizational demographics expert Tamara Erickson explains what has shaped the members of Generation X and how they can successfully apply their unique traits to get what they want in the next phases of their personal and professional lives. The book takes an in-depth look at the past events that have influenced Generation X, examines today’s evolving workplace, and offers insight into future leadership possibilities.

As Generation X employees work hard to keep up with other generations and move ahead into more fulfilling careers, they must:

  • Understand what shaped Generation X. Born between 1965 and 1979, members of Generation X experienced social change and uncertainty in their formative teen years. From a stagnant economy to technological innovation and the rise of alternative rock, Generation X teenagers learned to distrust corporate life, value their friends over their families, and develop global empathy.
  • Figure out where Generation X stands today. Members of Generation X face risky financial positions as they continue to raise small children, care for aging parents, and pay off college debts and home mortgages.
  • Know what the other four generations are thinking. Generation X shares the workplace with four other generations: Traditionalists, Boomers, Millennials, and the Re-Generation. Each group thinks and behaves differently, and to be successful, Generation X employees must know how to interact with colleagues from every cohort.
  • Reset life and work priorities. Members of Generation X have many shared desires, including control, affluence, balance, and to be good parents.
  • Look at the changing workplace. The nature and availability of work is changing for Generation X. With the advancement of technology, Generation X can work from anywhere and at any time. As Generation X expects more flexibility in work arrangements, the employee-employer power balance will be forced to shift.
  • Make organizations work for them. Most Generation X employees work within organizations. To be successful at work, they must maximize their effectiveness, leverage what they do, expand their options for greater long-term career sustainability, and balance the demands of their organizations with the other priorities in their lives.
  • Find alternative workplaces. Generation X employees are more likely to work independently, establish entrepreneurial ventures, join small firms, and juggle multiple jobs than employees of other generations.
  • Become next generation leaders. Generation X will need to create work environments that support innovation. To do this, leaders will need to increase collaborative capacity, ask compelling questions, embrace complexity, shape organizational identity, and appreciate diversity.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.



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94776685Peter Drucker is often considered to be the “father of modern management.” For decades, the great business thinker produced dozens of books, articles, and lectures providing groundbreaking insight on leadership and organizational success. In The Practical Drucker, William H. Cohen distills the wisdom from the vast body of Drucker’s work into 40 succinct truths. Cohen provides readers with the necessary guidelines and examples to use these 40 truths to solve people, management, marketing, innovation, and organizational problems.

Peter Drucker’s work has played an essential role in shaping modern management. While many leaders wish to integrate more of Drucker’s wisdom into their performances, it is difficult to know where to start. William H. Cohen extracted the following practical touch-points from Drucker’s extensive work:

  • The responsibility of a leader is to protect and inspire others. Drucker believed that it was a leader’s ethical duty to keep others from harm and that an organization’s success comes from a leader’s ability to inspire and encourage employees.
  • People have no limits. Drucker felt that all people have the potential for success as long as they work hard at developing themselves.
  • Avoid doing what generated success in the past to achieve success in the future. When organizations hold on to the old products and business tactics that once made them successful, they are unable to evolve with the changing times, and will eventually fail.
  • Good management requires leaders to take problems head on. Whether it is office politics or a pending organization-wide crisis, Drucker recommended that managers identify every problem they are faced with and take positive action immediately.
  • Only irrational marketers believe there are irrational customers. Drucker argued that marketers who label their customers as “irrational” because of their purchasing decisions do not understand what their customers value.
  • Some of the best innovation comes from “unexpected” circumstances. Drucker believed that strange events and trends were some of the best places for organizations to find innovation opportunities.
  • The purpose of a business is not to make a profit. Too many organizations focus on profit when they should be focusing on the true purpose of the business, which Drucker argued was to create customers.
  • The two most important organizational functions are marketing and innovation. Organizations must always be creating new products that customers actually want to buy.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Work of Leaders, The Crucibles of LeadershipWhy Should Anyone Be Led by You?

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Making Extraordinary Things Happen in AsiaMaking Extraordinary Things Happen in Asia showcases how The Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership formulated from research conducted by James M. Kouzes and Barry Z. Posner are being applied by Asian executives to transform how people work to generate great results. Real-life stories are shared about personal leadership practices from senior managers, many enrolled in the Executive MBA program at the Hong Kong University of Science and Technology. The emphasis is on how leaders set inspiring examples through their own behaviors and relationships with colleagues, employees, team members, and other constituents. The five exemplary practices are modeling the way with clear values, inspiring others with a shared vision, continually challenging existing processes to discover new opportunities, empowering others to act, and encouraging the heart through genuine appreciation of the work of others.

The authors inform readers that:

  • Each individual can be a leader and make a difference by modeling exemplary behavior based on values and developing strong relationships with constituents within an organization in order to make things happen.
  • Leadership can be learned because it manifests as an observable pattern of practices and behaviors and a definite set of skills and abilities.
  • The five practices of exemplary leadership are modeling the way, inspiring a shared vision, challenging existing processes, enabling others to act, and encouraging the heart.
  • Lead by the example of exemplary behaviors to show deep commitment to shared values.
  • Commitment from others cannot be forced through command but must come from inspiring others to enlist in a common vision.
  • Exemplary leaders search for opportunities to innovate, grow, and improve; they continually learn from failures and successes.
  • Leaders must foster collaboration and build trust by strengthening others. When people have the information, discretion, and authority to make extraordinary things happen, they will.
  • Exemplary leaders demonstrate genuine appreciation for individual excellence and seek to create a culture that celebrates values and victories.

To download three free summaries, please visit our site.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The New Asian Hemisphere, China’s Management Revolution, China Versus the West

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In today’s complex organizations it is not uncommon to have as many as 50 percent of employees working on virtual teams. Virtual collaboration has already begun to transform many business sectors. The gradual shift of the U.S. economy from manufacturing and production to one of knowledge and information has contributed to a dramatic change in how and where people work. Virtual Team Success leverages the authors’ global research study and hands-on experience to provide a resource for virtual team members and team leaders. The authors suggest that successful virtual teams are characterized by members that effectively interact among themselves, build a solid basis of trust with each other, and have strong team building and interpersonal skills.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

Related book summaries in the BBS library: The Distance Manager, Managing the Mobile WorkforceCreativity in Virtual Teams

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All managers, from CEOs to frontline supervisors, must delegate to accomplish their goals. Yet, even though delegation enables managers to produce results through other people, many supervisors have not yet mastered this skill. All types of work can be delegated, ranging from simple tasks to entire projects or processes, and supervisors should consider delegating any work of which employees are capable or can be trained to handle. In The Busy Manager’s Guide to Delegation, Richard A. Luecke and Perry McIntosh provide readers with a proven method for delegation, and break down the delegation process into five steps which, if followed, will enable managers to be more effective.

For a free trial of EBSCO Business Book Summaries click here.

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