We Shouldn’t Always Need a “Business Case” to Do the Right Thing

I’ve been a consultant for almost 20 years, advising companies on complex challenges in ethics, risk, and responsibility. Each year several clients raise the same issue: the need to get buy-in from a skeptical senior executive in order to demonstrate a concrete benefit that will follow a proposed investment in an ethical business initiative or function. The executive needs a business case. And so … [Read more...]

What’s the Right Kind of Bonus to Motivate Your Sales Force?

Companies typically compensate their sales force by using some combination of salary, commission, and bonuses, but executives are often unsure of which incentives provide the best motivation. For example, should bonuses be tied to quotas or should they be given unconditionally? For a quota system, would it be better to use bonuses as a reward (giving them to those who meet or surpass their quotas) … [Read more...]

Stress Is an Organizational Problem

Mark Mortensen, an associate professor of organizational behavior at INSEAD, discusses the research on “multiteaming”—when employees work not only across multiple projects, but multiple teams. It has significant benefits at the individual, team, and organizational levels. Among them: multiteaming saves money. The cost—stretched employees—is hard to see. And that is where the tension, and the risk, … [Read more...]

Management Is Much More Than a Science

Underlying the practice and study of business is the belief that management is a science and that business decisions must be driven by rigorous analysis of data. The explosion of big data has reinforced this idea. In a recent EY survey, 81% of executives said they believed that “data should be at the heart of all decision-making,” leading EY to enthusiastically proclaim that “big data can … [Read more...]

The Problem with Saying “Don’t Bring Me Problems, Bring Me Solutions”

It’s time to retire the saying “Don’t bring me problems, bring me solutions.” Even though advocates of this approach believe it reduces whining, increases empowerment, helps employees manage up, and boosts careers, it’s fraught with challenges. Read more here … [Read more...]

4 Signs That Your Focus Is Holding You Back at Work

Focus is an invaluable trait. It helps you stay on task and get work done at a rapid rate. Yet too much focus can be a problem: It drains your brain of energy, makes you care less about people, and prevents you from seeing what is happening around you. In fact, too much focus is a surprisingly common sign of adult attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — a failed and paralyzing attempt to … [Read more...]

We Look Like Our Names

HEC associate professor Anne-Laure Sellier and her fellow researchers presented subjects in Israel and France with a photo and asked them to select the name of the person in the picture from a list of four or five options. Though the laws of chance say that subjects would choose correctly 20% to 25% of the time, they actually had a far higher success rate. The research team’s conclusion: We look … [Read more...]

Good Leaders Are Good Learners

Although organizations spend more than $24 billion annually on leadership development, many leaders who have attended leadership programs struggle to implement what they’ve learned. It’s not because the programs are bad but because leadership is best learned from experience. Read more here … [Read more...]

Are Sales Incentives Becoming Obsolete?

To motivate, manage, and reward B2B salespeople, many companies use sales incentive plans that link large commissions or bonuses to individual results metrics, such as territory quota achievement. As digital channels continue to reduce and redefine salespeople’s role in customer buying, these traditional sales incentive plans are becoming less effective at driving sales outcomes. Read more here … [Read more...]

How to Manage Someone Who Thinks Everything Is Urgent

We’ve all been in situations in which we couldn’t wait for a slow-moving or overly cautious employee to take action. But at the other extreme, some employees have such a deep need to get things resolved that they move too quickly, or too intensely, and make a mess. They may make a bad deal just to say they’ve made it, or issue a directive without thinking through the ramifications just to say … [Read more...]