A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.
Rethinking Growth at All Costs
Many companies, especially in the tech world, have come to embrace the idea of growth at all costs. But according to research from Gary Pisano, professor at Harvard Business School, most firms fail to consistently increase revenues and profits over the long term, adjusting for inflation. He says that it’s important for leaders to think more strategically about not just the rate of growth they want to achieve but the direction they want to grow in and their method for doing so. Trying to grow too fast can be the downfall of many organizations. He shares examples of companies that have fallen into this trap, as well as those getting the balance right. Pisano wrote the HBR article "How Fast Should Your Company Really Grow?"
Companies Can Win by Reducing Overwork
Organizations regularly reward devoted workers who put in long hours. At the same time, “always-on” communication spurred by the pandemic and new digital tools encourage workaholism. But research shows that it’s not just individuals who are harmed by overworking. Their employers are, too. Malissa Clark, associate professor and head of the Healthy Work Lab at the University of Georgia, explains how companies unwittingly create a workaholic culture — one that ultimately backfires with higher turnover and disengaged employees. She shares what companies can easily do to change that. Clark wrote the new book Never Not Working: Why the Always-On Culture Is Bad for Business--and How to Fix It.
When Should Companies Weigh in on Contentious Issues?
In a globally connected and highly politicized world, organizations are increasingly expected to comment on social, political, and environmental issues. But taking a stance doesn't always make business sense and can backfire when employees or consumers see a disconnect between leaders’ words and actions. Alison Taylor, associate professor at New York University, says there's a better way to make decisions on corporate speech, which includes involving workers in the process. Taylor is the author of the HBR book Higher Ground: How Business Can Do the Right Thing in a Turbulent World and the HBR article “Corporate Advocacy in a Time of Social Outrage.”
Stuck on a Problem? Try Switching Up Your Approach
Many leaders confidently go about tackling challenges. After all, relying on their experience got them to where they are. But taking the same approach over and over again can actually hold you back. Sometimes you need to switch up your tactics to break through to the next level. Decision-making expert Cheryl Strauss Einhorn says the first step is to understand your personal problem-solving style. Then she explains a framework to assess the situation and select the best approach. Einhorn is founder and CEO of Decisive. She also wrote the book Problem Solver: Maximizing Your Strengths to Make Better Decisions and the HBR article “When Your Go-To Problem-Solving Approach Fails.”
How to Reduce the Friction that Hurts You — and Harness the Friction that Helps
Organizations too often subject their employees and customers to unnecessary friction that creates inefficiency and causes frustration. But, in some situations, friction can be a positive force, spurring more innovation and better decision-making. So how do you reduce the bad kind and embrace the good? Stanford professors Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao have studied this problem for seven years and offer strategies for leaders at every level to help them recognize when friction is needed or not and then add or subtract accordingly. They share ample examples of people and companies getting it right. Sutton and Rao are the authors of The Friction Project: How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier and the Wrong Things Harder, as well as the HBR article, "Rid Your Organization of Obstacles that Infuriate Everyone."
What the New Freelance Economy Means for Your Talent Strategy
The rapid pace of technological change is making a big impact on hiring. Some organizations are dynamically securing freelance workers through platform apps like Upwork and Freelancer. Other companies are investing heavily in work enabled by artificial intelligence. John Winsor and Jin Paik say these structural changes call for a reimagining of your talent strategy — one that is open to flexible, project-based work for talent inside or outside your organization — and they explain how to go about it. Winsor is the founder and chair of Open Assembly and an executive-in-residence at the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard. Paik is a cofounder and managing partner at the AI consultancy Altruistic and a visiting research scientist at Harvard Business School. Together, they wrote the book Open Talent: Leveraging the Global Workforce to Solve Your Biggest Challenges and the HBR article "Do You Need an External Talent Cloud?"
Great, well-timed and interesting episodes
I've really enjoyed the format, the content and specifically the host (Sarah). I wonder if she is permanently replaced or will be returning, she was excellent.
Disappointing and Unhelpful
Episodes are spotty. Topics becoming far too political. The doom and gloom is numbing; so much talk of climate change and destruction. We faced MADD in the 1960s-80s and the economies of the 1970s were disasters compared to present. I couldn’t get past the 4 minute point of this episode (10/25). Depressing and disappointing.
Hybrid Work is Here to Stay
Very real and practical advice. Love the idea of Output Management vs Input. How do I get a hold of Nicholas Bloom?