• Today’s greatest challenges are ones that many leaders have never faced before, so traditional problem-solving won't work as well as they used to. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 14:27

    Many HR leaders are addressing today’s greatest issues through a familiar process: defining the problem, addressing the variables that make it complicated, and agreeing on the best way forward. But when we consider that the challenges we face in light of the pandemic are ones that many leaders have never faced before, it becomes clear that they are not just complicated (predictable) but complex (unknown). Traditional problem-solving, which is aimed at addressing the complicated as opposed to the complex, will not establish the most effective solutions. To be truly effective in this “new normal,” HR leaders need to adjust and develop a new core capability: a complexity mindset. In this framework, it’s crucial to tap into their organization’s collective intelligence, prioritize company values, and allow solutions to emerge.

  • RT @HerminiaIbarra: This is very good, practical, “how to” advice on how to identify and approach a potential mentor or sponsor. Start with…
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 13:42
  • RT @HarvardBiz: In a study of 60 leaders, those who were most successful in overcoming resistance were the ones who diagnosed the root of a…
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 13:42
  • Design your goals at home the same way you design your goals at work. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 13:32

    The Covid-19 pandemic has caused many working families to stop and reassess their values.  Three common work practices can help us decide what to continue doing — and what to ditch. First, identify a family mission or purpose. It will help you focus on what is meaningful, set priorities, and drop items that don’t fit from your individual and group to-do lists. Next, set practical, achievable goals that align with your family mission, using the SMART strategy. And lastly, know what to do when you are thrown off course. When you hit a roadblock, rather than barreling toward your goal, stop and think things through. When new circumstances emerge, our expectations of what we can realistically accomplish may have to change, too.

  • Curated content for in-depth learning. Subscribe today to access HBR’s Reading Lists. Link https://t.co/MO48CBYlxM
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 12:27
  • The WFH shift led Microsoft employees to change a handful of work habits — for one, lunch and evening hours ceased to be a break from screen time. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 12:02

    Teams that don’t communicate. Market disruption. Unidentified logjams. Employee burnout. Lost efficiency. As part of a group of data scientists, management consultants, and engineers at Microsoft, we help companies harness behavioral data to measure and solve these kinds of challenges — the kinds that firms feel but usually cannot see.

    Four months ago we realized that our company, like so many others, was undergoing an immediate and unplanned shift to remote work. We all scrambled to set up home offices, situate newly homeschooled kids, juggle customer calls and cat antics, and, in many ways, rethink how to do our jobs.

    At the same time, we knew this was a rare, real-time opportunity to learn something about work itself. We wanted to study how flexible and adaptable it might or might not be, how collaboration and networks morph in remote settings, what agility looks like in different spaces. Maybe most important, we wanted to know how to nurture and improve...

  • There's nothing exotic or mind-blowing about what makes CEOs great at their jobs. It just takes decisiveness, adaptability, reliability, and the ability to engage stakeholders. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 11:27

    At the top of the ladder, the stakes are high and the demands intense. Too many CEOs falter in the job; about a quarter of the 500 chiefs who leave their firms each year are forced out. Clearly, boards do not always get their hires right.

    In conducting an analysis of in-depth assessments of 17,000 executives, the authors uncovered a large disconnect between what directors think makes for an ideal CEO and what actually leads to high performance. The findings of their 10-year research project challenge many widely held assumptions. Charisma, confidence, and pedigree all have little bearing on CEO success, it turns out. Instead, top performers demonstrate four specific business behaviors: (1) They’re decisive, realizing they can’t wait for perfect information and that a wrong decision is often better than no decision. (2) They engage for impact, working to understand the priorities of stakeholders and then aligning them around a goal of value creation. (3) They adapt...

  • The more we are able to face our fears, the more we will replace fear-based responses with courageous ones. @hbrascend #WorkHappy Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 11:02
    The editors at HBR Ascend are focused on helping you develop human skills that are critical to your success. We write, curate, edit, and compile content that will help you navigate your professional journey.
  • Oftentimes productive people have weak interpersonal skills. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 10:07

    When a company needs a supervisor for a team, senior leaders often anoint the team’s most productive performer. Some of these stars succeed in their new role as manager; many others do not. The difference seems to hinge on whether the person has six abilities: being open to feedback and personal change, supporting others’ development, being open to innovation, communicating well, having good interpersonal skills, and supporting organizational changes. The problem for most organizations is that they hope their new managers will develop these skills after being promoted, but that’s exactly when overwhelmed new managers tend to fall back on their individual contributor skill sets. Instead, start developing these skills in all of your employees early on. After all, they’re useful for individual contributors, too.

  • Nothing is more costly to an organization’s culture than a toxic employee. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 09:02

    Nothing is more costly to an organization’s culture than a toxic employee. Research shows that rudeness is like the common cold — it’s contagious, spreads quickly, and anyone can be a carrier.

    Dylan Minor, a visiting assistant professor at Harvard Business School, and Michael Housman, chief analytics officer at Cornerstone OnDemand, studied just how costly toxic employees are using a large dataset of nearly 60,000 workers across 11 firms in various industries, including communications, consumer services, financial services, health care, insurance, and retail.

    How does hiring a toxic employee compare to hiring a superstar? Minor and Housman found that one toxic employee wipes out the gains for more than two superstars. In fact, a superstar, defined as the top 1% of workers in terms of productivity, adds about $5,000 per year to the company’s profit, while a toxic worker costs about $12,000 per year. The real difference could even...

  • Performance-based factors that have a major impact on how you and your team deliver results, make decisions, and show up to the rest of the business. @hbrascend #WorkHappy Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 08:32
    The editors at HBR Ascend are focused on helping you develop human skills that are critical to your success. We write, curate, edit, and compile content that will help you navigate your professional journey.
  • It’s never too late to “become” yourself. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 08:07

    Mozart was a celestial genius, but he struggled like a mere mortal during his teens and early twenties. Though already a prolific composer, he had to work as an organist and concertmaster in his native Salzburg to make ends meet. Underpaid, unfulfilled, and hemmed in by his frustratingly average gigs, he felt a burning desire to devote more time and energy to his art. So after a period of doubt and deliberation, that’s exactly what he did. He quit his job, set up shop in Vienna, and embarked on what turned out to be the most productive and creative period of his life.

  • The research is clear: People with mentors perform better, advance in their careers faster, and even experience more work-life satisfaction. But many people don't know how to find a mentor or establish a relationship. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 07:07

    While 76% of working professionals believe that a mentor is important to growth, more than 54% do not have such a relationship. If you’re one of these people, there are a few things you can do to find a mentor and build a strong relationship: define your goals and specific needs; write a “job description” for your ideal mentor; search for mentors through your second-degree network; make the ask (and keep it simple); have a first meeting; create a mentorship agreement; and follow up to say thank you over the long term.

  • Despite the circus industry's long-term decline, Cirque du Soleil profitably increased revenue 22-fold. Rather than competing within the existing industry, Cirque developed market space — and made the competition irrelevant. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 06:26

    Reprint: R0410D

    Despite a long-term decline in the circus industry, Cirque du Soleil profitably increased revenue 22-fold over the last ten years by reinventing the circus. Rather than competing within the confines of the existing industry or trying to steal customers from rivals, Cirque developed uncontested market space that made the competition irrelevant.

    Cirque created what the authors call a blue ocean, a previously unknown market space. In blue oceans, demand is created rather than fought over. There is ample opportunity for growth that is both profitable and rapid. In red oceans—that is, in all the industries already existing—companies compete by grabbing for a greater share of limited demand. As the market space gets more crowded, prospects for profits and growth decline. Products turn into commodities, and increasing competition turns the water bloody.

    There are two ways to create blue oceans. One is to launch completely new industries, as eBay...

  • Effective rejections come down to four points: 1. Say thanks. 2. Deliver the news. 3. Give the main reason. 4. Offer hope. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 05:46

    I have a friend who appraises antiques — assigning a dollar value to the old Chinese vase your grandmother used for storing pencils, telling you how much those silver knickknacks from Aunt Fern are worth. He says the hardest part of his job, the part he dreads the most, is telling people that their treasure is worthless.

    I can empathize. I feel like I do that too, every time I tell a prospective HBR author that their ideas, research, or writing just isn’t good enough to make the cut.

    Rejection letters aren’t easy for any of us. Whether you’re telling a job candidate that he didn’t make the next round, an entrepreneur that you’re not going to fund her project, or a vendor that you no longer need his services, these are emails most of us dread crafting. Because it’s unpleasant, too many of us put it off or don’t do it at all, essentially letting our silence do the talking. That’s a missed opportunity (and rude). Though painful, rejection has benefits:...

  • Save space on your bookshelf with 4 free ebooks per year. Subscribe today to grow your HBR collection. Link https://t.co/e9NuEH6C6q
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 05:26
  • Where, when, and how do successful executives—as opposed to educators—get their life-changing counsel? @hbrascend #WorkHappy Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 05:01


    A young manager faces the first major impasse of his career: His high-profile project is behind schedule and over budget, and his team members are rapidly losing faith in his ability to lead. Disheartened and confused, he goes to see his mentor, a senior executive at the company, looking for direction and encouragement. The mentor shuts his office door and offers the young manager a chair. He recounts a couple of war stories, gives a few specific pointers on how to turn the project around, and then—just as the young manager is getting up to leave—offers up some personal advice. It’s just one powerful phrase, a small kernel of avuncular wisdom, but the young manager will carry it with him through the rest of his career. Direct, deliberate, handed down like Grandpa’s watch from one generation of managers to the next: Such is the nature of business advice.

    Or is it? Fifteen years ago, while still a student at Harvard Business School, I began writing...

  • People spend 41% of their time on low-value tasks at work. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 04:21

    In the past, time management experts would recommend that you divide up your work into A tasks, B tasks, and C tasks. The concept was to do the A tasks first, then the B tasks, then the C tasks, when you can get to them. If priorities changed, you just changed the order of your As, Bs, and Cs. Doing all aspects of a job seemed possible then, if you just followed some basic time management rules.

    That kind of thinking ended during the recession of 2007-2009. Between January 2008 and February 2010, 8.8 million jobs were lost. Although the jobs went away, much of the work didn’t. Teachers ended up with more children in a classroom; customer service representatives ended up with more phone calls; and managers ended up with more people to manage as teams were consolidated. No matter the job, everyone ended up with a lot more work. And although there have been real gains in productivity since then, the days of A, B, and C tasks are over. Overwhelmed is the new...

  • Is a commitment no longer aligned with your values and priorities? You can break up with it — but do so directly and clearly. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 04:01

    Do you have a recurring commitment that you’re just not committed to? Maybe it’s a volunteer activity that just doesn’t resonate with you anymore, a professional development group that used to be fulfilling but now isn’t, or a committee where the work doesn’t feel high priority at this point. It may sound easier to simply stop showing up, but you’ll feel freer and less guilty if you properly make a clean break. Here’s how: 1) Communicate directly about your intentions to leaders through email, by phone, or (if possible) in person; 2) Finish any outstanding tasks or inform others where you are in the process, so it can be handed off; 3) Delete calendar invites, to-do list, and emails — anything that is associated with this commitment; and 4) Enjoy the relief and closure.

  • Being busy isn't an excuse to ignore self-care. It's more of a reason to prioritize it. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 03:01

    Many leaders tell themselves: “It’s so busy, I can’t afford to…(spend 7 hours sleeping, or stop to get lunch, or keep up my hobbies).” This framing, which casts investments in personal resilience as contrary to the best interests of an organization, is doing both you and your organization a great disservice. It’s time to take those hackneyed words, “our people are our greatest asset,” to heart. If you are an important asset, how could depriving, devaluing, and depreciating that asset by running it in harsh conditions, powering it with improper fuel, and neglecting routine maintenance possibly be good for your organization? Your resilience is a high-priority business issue if you’re leading a team through the stress of our fast-paced world. When you invest in proper sleep, nutrition, exercise, and play, you’ll have the self-control to manage your own reactions, the energy to be fully present for your team, the patience to listen and empathize, the wherewithal to make...

  • Virtual work calls for different muscles and skills. We can learn a few things about this from those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. @sabinanawaz Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 02:01

    Virtual meetings are filled with challenges. It’s difficult to maintain continuity, connection, and coherence. We are prone to speak too little or too much, repeating things unnecessarily. Our attention wanders, and we tune out. Most of all, we’re losing nonverbal data that can make our conversations more effective.

    Conducting virtual calls for different muscles and skills, some of which you can learn from those who rely on visual communication every day — particularly, those who are Deaf or hard of hearing. Here are some tips to follow, regardless of your aural ability. First, pace yourself; slow down to allow time for everyone to process information. Cultivate cooperation by taking turns to speak. Broaden your camera angle to include your head to your belly button, so attendees can see hand gestures and signs. Use non-verbal language, like a thumbs up, to increase engagement. Use the chat for clarity. And finally, choose clothing that is easy on the eyes, comfortable,...

  • The most common mistakes of failed platforms: 1. Mispricing on one side of the market 2. Failure to develop trust with users and partners 3. Prematurely dismissing the competition 4. Entering too late Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 01:01

    Platforms have become one of the most important business models of the 21st century. The problem is that platforms fail at an alarming rate.  By identifying the sources of failure, managers can avoid the obvious mistakes. To understand why and how platforms fail, we tried to identify as many failed American platforms as possible over the last twenty years that competed with the 43 successful platforms. The 209 failures allowed us to extract some general lessons about why platforms struggle. In general, platforms fail for four reasons: (1) mispricing on one side of the market, (2) failure to develop trust with users and partners, (3) prematurely dismissing the competition, and (4) entering too late.

  • Coaching is about asking and listening, not telling and selling. Link
    Harvard Business Review Tue 04 Aug 2020 00:01

    In the face of rapid, disruptive change, companies are realizing that managers can’t be expected to have all the answers and that command-and-control leadership is no longer viable. As a result, many firms are moving toward a coaching model in which managers facilitate problem solving and encourage employees’ development by asking questions and offering support and guidance rather than giving orders and making judgments.

    The authors explain the merits of different types of coaching—directive, nondirective, and situational—and note that sometimes no coaching at all is appropriate. They describe how managers can use the four-step GROW model to become more skilled at listening, questioning, and drawing insights out of the people they supervise. The article concludes with recommendations for making coaching an organizational capacity—effecting a cultural transformation by articulating why coaching is valuable for the firm as well as individuals, ensuring that leaders...

  • If you just don’t like a colleague, question why. Link
    Harvard Business Review Mon 03 Aug 2020 23:01

    How do you collaborate with someone you don’t like? They’re not toxic or difficult, you just have different styles, and they rub you the wrong way. It all starts with reflecting on the cause of the tension. Remind yourself: You won’t get along with everyone, but there is potential value in every interaction. Take an honest look at what is causing the tension with you and your colleague and what role you play in creating it. Try to understand your colleague’s perspective. Few people get out of bed in the morning with the goal of making your life miserable. Make time to think deliberately about the other person’s point of view, especially if that person is essential to your success. Rather than trying to work through or around the other person, engage them directly, and try to understand your difference in interpersonal style. You may realize that your styles could be complimentary if you adapt your approaches. Lastly, ask for help. It shows that you value their...

  • Don’t shortchange your development as a leader by assuming that emotional intelligence is all about being sweet and chipper. There's much more to it. Link
    Harvard Business Review Mon 03 Aug 2020 22:00

    Although there are many models of emotional intelligence, they are often lumped together as “EQ” in the popular vernacular. An alternative term is “EI,” which comprises four domains: self-awareness, self-management, social awareness, and relationship management. Within those domains are twelve EI competencies, starting with emotional self-awareness in the self-awareness domain. Emotional self-control, adaptability, achievement orientation, and a positive outlook fall under self-management. Empathy and organizational awareness make up social awareness. Relationship management includes influence, coaching and mentoring, conflict management, teamwork, and inspirational leadership. Leaders need to develop a balance of strengths across these competencies. Assessment tools, like a 360-degree assessment that uses ratings from yourself and those who know you well, can help you determine where your EI needs improvement. To best improve your weak spots, find an expert to coach you.

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