Category Archives: Leadership, Operations & Innovation

The Idea That Led to 10 Years of Double-Digit Growth – HBR

This is an important read for all in leadership and governance who are responsible to make those difficult decisions.  It addresses decisions that all companies face …..  there is a caution against the same innovation that succeeded may not be the best today or even tomorrow.

Excerpt:  In the mid-90s as CEO of Medtronic, I was concerned about whether we could sustain the remarkable success in innovation that we had enjoyed during the previous 10 years. As we grew, I knew it would be very difficult to continue to create the breakthrough innovations that had led to Medtronic’s high growth rate, which had exceeded 18% per annum for a decade. Then I read Clay Christensen and Joe Bower’s 1995 article “Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave” in HBR.

Read full article via The Idea That Led to 10 Years of Double-Digit Growth – Bill George – HBS Faculty – Harvard Business Review.

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Structure Your Presentation Like a Story – HBR

Recommended if you are in a leadership and management role.  Communications how-to.

Excerpt: After studying hundreds of speeches, I’ve found that the most effective presenters use the same techniques as great storytellers: By reminding people of the status quo and then revealing the path to a better way, they set up a conflict that needs to be resolved.

That tension helps them persuade the audience to adopt a new mindset or behave differently — to move from what is to what could be. And by following Aristotle’s three-part story structure (beginning, middle, end), they create a message that’s easy to digest, remember, and retell.

Here’s how it looks when you chart it out:

Read full article via Structure Your Presentation Like a Story – Nancy Duarte – Harvard Business Review.

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5 Ways Competitive Intelligence Teams Can Prove Their Worth

There is definitely value to be gained by competitive intelligence teams, but the understanding and how-to are, in my opinion, yet to be mastered.  Good read for all leadership and management

Excerpt:  For CI efforts to shine bright from the top of the food chain, CI teams must prove their efforts positively impact the quality of decision-making among executives and departments leaders. It’s actually not about quantifying tactics or measuring ROI like other service functions may do, CI functions must prove their value is supportive, much like accounting or project management. So instead of waiting for management to ask about analysis and results, CI functions must be proactive and transparent about showing it.

Here are five ways CI teams can show their value day-to-day and in the long term:

Read full article 5 Ways Competitive Intelligence Teams Can Prove Their Worth. From Clear Technology to Compete

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Develop Perfect Memory With The Memory Palace Technique

Here is a tool to improve your memory for all leadership and management.   I have been fortunate in this department.  Although sometimes I say my memory is both a gift and a curse …. but mostly positive.  I credit my many years of constantly strengthening my memory in my work with many clients and ALL their numbers.  I am frequently called upon to help with an issue that  starts with “do you remember”  ….  I am happy that most of the time, my memory (even for many clients) can exceed the individual client’s memory of THEIR issue.

Excerpt:  The Memory Palace technique is based on the fact that we’re extremely good at remembering places we know. A ‘Memory Palace’ is a metaphor for any well-known place that you’re able to easily visualize. It can be the inside of your home, or maybe the route you take every day to work. That familiar place will be your guide to store and recall any kind of information. Let’s see how it works.

Read full article via Develop Perfect Memory With The Memory Palace Technique.  From Intelligence Daily

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The Brain Performance Test

For all leadership and management.   The heavy weight partners on this test based on neuroscience is impressive.  Short test (and fun) with specialized report to let you know your training areas.

Excerpt:  The Brain Performance Test is a battery of assessments designed to measure your performance in five core cognitive areas. Developed by Lumosity’s neuroscientists, the test is based on the same assessments that doctors and researchers use to measure brain function.

via The Brain Performance Test.  From Lumosity’s

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Learning Styles – Learning Skills

Another tool for leadership and management.  Hone your learning skills to effectively handle the information challenges presented daily.

Excerpt:  Once you know where your preferences lie on each of these dimensions, you can begin to stretch beyond those preferences and develop a more balanced approach to learning. Not only will you improve your learning effectiveness, you will open yourself up to many different ways of perceiving the world. Balance is key. You don’t want to get too far on any one side of the learning dimensions. When you do that you limit your ability to take in new information and make sense of it quickly, accurately, and effectively.

Read full article via Learning Styles – Learning skills from

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How to Increase your Odds of Success When Integrating Suppliers into NPD

The download is 13 pages and well worth the read for insights, discussions of pro and con, plus how-to.    Vendors

Excerpt:  Faster technology developments coupled with increased dynamics of competition are re-shaping virtually every sector of the market and are pushing NPD in the strategic core of business activity.

The benefits of earlier and more extensive involvement of suppliers in NPD are well documented in existing research and include better project performance in terms of speed, productivity, quality and cost. To realize these benefits, firms have increasingly relied on R&D collaborations. Organizations have started to open their R&D departments and move from in-house, closed R&D approach, toward open innovation and collaboration. Suppliers’ involvement in new product development has become not only important, but for many companies inevitable.

Organizations increasingly rely on their R&D suppliers to innovate successfully. Strategic technology suppliers in particular play a significant role in providing an organization with key external technologies that open innovation advocates see as critical to enable companies to compete successfully.

Supplier relationships in NPD: Problematic
Nevertheless, abounding evidence shows that efforts to involve suppliers in early phases of NPD are not always successful and, in some cases, can even create impediments in product development. Moreover, an estimated 46% of the resources that companies devote to the conception, development and launch of new products go to projects that fail in the marketplace or never make it to market.

The ability of organizations to benefit from R&D collaborations and innovation with suppliers varies depending on a range of factors

Read introduction and download pdf herevia Enterprise innovation articles.  From Innovation Tools

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Do You Have ‘Executive Presence’?

Leadership and C-Suite — do you have it — how can you get it?

Excerpt:  So what is executive presence? The ability to project gravitas–confidence, poise under pressure and decisiveness—seems to be its core characteristic, according to more than two-thirds of the executives surveyed. Furthermore, communication—including speaking skills, assertiveness and the ability to read an audience or situation—and appearance contribute to a person’s perceived executive presence.

Read full article  Do You Have ‘Executive Presence’?. From

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The Next Wave of Process Strategy – HBR

Leadership and management considerations in today’s and tomorrow’s environments requires constant attention.

Excerpt:  When it comes to operational improvement, organizations today are light years ahead of where they were two decades ago, but there’s no time to celebrate yesterday’s wins. They won’t immunize your organization against this decade’s march of ongoing progress. That’s because information technology — not just the Internet, but also mobile devices, “big data” for intensive data-crunching, and other computer hardware and software — will render even some of today’s most proficient business processes obsolete by the end of the decade.

The question for top management is no longer whether your organization’s processes need to be improved, but rather which ones, how much, and when.

I see three big opportunities:

Read full article via The Next Wave of Process Strategy – Brad Power – Harvard Business Review.

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The Radical Beauty of Three Simple Management Practices – HBR

I think everyone in leadership and management should read this.  Do you believe your management is in the top tier — think again.

Excerpt:   The vast majority of organizations, it turns out, have a highly inflated view of their management practices. The reality is that many of them are unable to take such basic steps as setting achievable benchmarks, removing underperformers, collecting useful data, or offering coherent bonus schemes to motivate employees. These deficiencies are as common in health care and education as they are in manufacturing and retail.

The good news is that much of the opportunity for improvement lies in the hands of people exactly like you — managers of teams, departments, units, and divisions. And even small improvements in practices can have a huge impact:

Read full article via The Radical Beauty of Three Simple Management Practices – Nicholas Bloom, Raffaella Sadun, and John Van Reenen – HBS Faculty – Harvard Business Review.

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Four New Tools for Brain Workouts – HBR

I loved this article.  For all leadership and management.  Have you accepted the false premise “you are as you are now and that is the end of it?”  Read this article!

Excerpt:  How do you sharpen your thinking?

We’ve written already about how you can use auto-analytics to measure and improve the tasks you take on every day at work, but there’s another class of auto-analytics that help you improve at a more fundamental level. These tools strengthen the underlying brain and behavioral structures that support smarter thinking, decisions, and routines in any professional field.

Here are four new tools that I’ve spotted in my research. I use the term “DIY” because each option can be tested, and learning outcomes quantified, without the need for an outside instructor or expert.

Quantified Mind is a personal online cognitive testing platform based on psychometrics, the measurement of cognitive performance in areas like reaction time, executive function, and verbal learning.

Read full article via Four New Tools for Brain Workouts – H. James Wilson – Harvard Business Review.

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The Five Cs of Opportunity Identification – HBR

Good read on sources to target innovation in your company.

Excerpt:  Simply asking “what job is the customer trying to get done?” can be a powerful way to enable innovation, because it forces you to go beyond superficial demographic markers that correlate with purchase and use to zero in on frustrations and desires that motivate purchase and use.

Seductive simplicity hides a rich, robust set of opportunity identification tools. Through our experience utilizing the “jobs-to-be-done” concept in a range of settings, my colleagues and I have developed five tips for would-be innovators: the five Cs of opportunity identification (modeled after marketing’s famous four Ps — price, product, place, and promotion).

Read full article via The Five Cs of Opportunity Identification – Scott Anthony – Harvard Business Review.

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Filed under Leadership, Operations & Innovation, Marketing, Branding, Sales, Advertising, eCommerce & Social Media

‘Micro’ Management for ‘Macro’ Benefits

Guest Post by James Harrison

Every business-owner faces the challenge of building and managing a team. Half the battle is won, once you find the right people for your team. It becomes completely your responsibility to manage your team once you find the right people. There are several techniques that can help you manage your team in the best possible manner.

Micromanagement is one such team management technique that helps employers observe and supervise their team. It can also be referred to as the ‘micro’ aspect of management. It is all about day-to-day management that helps in keeping the team on track. Some advantages of implementing micromanagement in your business include:

1.      Development Of Employee Skills: Once you’re observing and controlling certain aspects of your employees’ jobs, you can help them develop particular skills and utilize their potential to the fullest.

2.      Promote Accountability Within The Team: You can easily instill a sense of responsibility within the team and help in building mutual trust and respect.

3.      Measure Progress: Micromanagement of your team can help you measure the progress of your team as a whole and help reap greater profits too.

4.      Set Up Deadlines And Stay Connected With Projects: Once you’re micromanaging your employees, you can remain aware of individual statuses of projects. This helps you remain connected with your project status. You can even have changes administered at initial levels and even keep deadlines for your projects.

5.      Bond With Employees: Micromanagement can also help you bond with your employees in a better way. You can help them understand their own career aspirations. Using micromanagement in the right way can also help you ascertain that your team is happy and fully utilized.

Micromanagement can hence, help you enhance productivity of the team as a whole. It is a mutually beneficent way of managing the team, where the employees can understand their roles and capabilities in the best possible manner.

Micromanagement is known to help managers forge extremely strong and good bonds with their employees. Some of these relationships have been so strong that these employees have gone out of their ways to assist their employers during bad times, business moves and some of them have even helped businesses thrive during the difficult economic times.

When micromanagement becomes mismanagement?
Sometimes, micro-managers may supervise beyond a reasonable point. This can have detrimental effects on employee morale, and make employees less productive. It can even make it harder for you to do your own job, if you spend too much time supervising your own team. Studies by Journal of Experimental Psychology have shown that being continuously watched over by managers can distract workers and hinder their working memory too. It can also divert their attention from the relevant task s at hand in such a way that they are unable to complete their tasks.

How to use micromanagement to your advantage?
Most people remain apprehensive about holding employees accountable to their assigned tasks without micromanaging. You can simply not avoid micromanaging your employees. It is however, possible to micromanage your employees without hindering their progress and productivity. Some points to remember while micromanaging your employees are:

1.      Customize Individual Jobs: Research has shown that most employees with diverse jobs have always benefited from personalization. This helped most employees see themselves playing an important role in the organization. It is a great motivation for anybody, and helps enhance productivity. Remember to avoid controlling all the aspects of your employee’s job, and make it a point to accredit the employee for good work with timely appreciation.

2.      Do Not Empower People: Instead of empowering your employees, foster autonomy by adding to the total amount of power available to do work. Recognize and support every individual’s discretion and control in deciding how to do the work. By helping your employees take up individual ownership of their jobs, you can ensure that they feel more stimulated and engaged. This will also help ensure that your employees feel less suffocated by managerial attention.

Make sure you work on your own time allocation. Having a different approach to juggling between leadership, production and administrative duties will help you deliver the best results and exalted productivity.

Author Bio:   James Harrison works as freelance writer. He regularly contributes write ups to business websites and blogs with most of his writings based on tips for small business setups, office moves and marketing techniques. In his free time he plays sports mainly soccer and chess. He is also passionate about reading fiction and traveling.

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Filed under Leadership, Operations & Innovation, Small Business

Managerial Overconfidence and Accounting Conservatism — The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance

Small business takeaways, of-interest and need-to-know.

Excerpt:  In our paper, Managerial Overconfidence and Accounting Conservatism, forthcoming at the Journal of Accounting Research, we provide evidence on the relation between CEO overconfidence, an important managerial trait, and the aggressiveness of financial reporting. Building on a growing literature in finance which shows that overconfidence can distort investment, financing, and dividend policies, we demonstrate that firms with overconfident CEOs make more aggressive financial reporting choices than other firms.

Overconfident managers are defined as managers who overestimate future returns from their firms’ investments and systematically overestimate the probability of good performance

Read full article via Managerial Overconfidence and Accounting Conservatism — The Harvard Law School Forum on Corporate Governance and Financial Regulation.

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Filed under Accounting, Bookkeeping, GAAP, IFRS, Leadership, Operations & Innovation, Management, Small Business

Positive Thinking, Rational Thinking, Thought Awareness – Stress Management Training

It is not the situation that creates stress but it is how one handles that situation that creates stress.  For all leadership and management

Excerpt:  This set of tools helps you to manage and counter the stress of negative thinking.

Thought Awareness helps you identify the negative thinking, unpleasant memories, and misinterpretation of situations that may interfere with your performance and damage your self-confidence. This allows you to deal with them.

Rational Thinking helps you to challenge these negative thoughts and either learn from them, or refute them as incorrect.

You can then use Positive Thinking to create positive affirmations that you can use to counter negative thoughts. These affirmations neutralize negative thoughts and build your self-confidence. You can also use Positive Thinking to find the opportunities that are almost always present, to some degree, in a difficult situation.

Read full article via Positive Thinking, Rational Thinking, Thought Awareness – Stress Management Training from

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