Faculty thought leaders from INSEAD, The Business School for the World speak frankly about the most pressing challenges facing today's firms and managers.
What it means to embark on a journey of change
Many executives have a nagging sense that something is amiss in their lives. But not all of them find the courage – or the tools – to tackle what needs fixing. In his new book, The CEO Whisperer, Manfred Kets de Vries, INSEAD Distinguished Professor of Leadership Development and Organisational Change, shares lessons and insights he gleaned from decades of helping CEOs and executives become their best selves. First and foremost, he encourages leaders to know themselves and to step away from their manically busy schedules in order to self-reflect. He also discusses the tools he has been using in his long-running INSEAD seminar, The Challenge of Leadership. These include the storytelling-based life case study, dream analysis and a thorough examination of one’s inner theatre. A fully trained psychoanalyst, Kets de Vries has pioneered the art of team coaching as a way to promote better behavioural patterns. His experience has taught him that most changes are incremental, but they do share an element of pain, as a critical motivator. To those who worry about making mistakes on their journey of change, he offers an important reminder: Life is not a rehearsal.
How a paradox mindset can be measured and cultivated
How can doing more with less make us more innovative? With a paradox mindset, by embracing both sides of seemingly conflicting priorities, many people find creative solutions to persistent problems.
INSEAD's Ella Miron-Spektor joins us to discuss her research into the paradox mindset. Whether people struggle or thrive with competing demands largely depends on their mindset. With a paradox mindset, these demands can be transformed into new ideas and improved performance. The paradox mindset suggests an alternative perspective, accepting and learning to live with the tensions associated with competing demands.
Netflix's 'no-rules' approach to innovation
How did a DVD-by-mail company transform itself into a leading global entertainment brand? By rejecting mediocrity, embracing negative feedback, and turning hierarchy on its head.
INSEAD's Erin Meyer joins us to discuss Netflix's unique corporate culture, designed to maximise innovation by minimising rules and red tape. Her new book, No Rules Rules: Netflix and the Culture of Reinvention, was written with none other than Netflix co-founder, co-CEO and chairman Reed Hastings. In place of executive decisions and specific guidelines, Netflix employs a culture of constant, unflinching 360-degree feedback where merely adequate performers are quickly shown the door. Meyer explains how this company that operates, in Hastings's words, "on the edge of chaos" achieved its stratospheric success -- and how Netflix may be the role model for a post-pandemic economic rebound.
How capitalism went astray—and how to fix it
Capitalism's current troubles did not begin with Covid-19, but the pandemic has further exposed the grave consequences of inequality in developed economies and the fragility of global value chains. Populist movements (on both the left and right) are intensifying their demands that Adam Smith's "invisible hand" be assigned a local habitation and a name. Moreover, the harsh business lessons of Covid (PPE shortages, operational shutdowns, etc.) cast some doubt on the core tenets of globalisation.
Robert U. Ayres, INSEAD Emeritus Professor of Economics and Political Science and Technology Management, joins us to discuss how the USA's post-WWII capitalist hegemony lost its way in the late 20th century, and what can be done to restore capitalism's global credibility in the face of Covid-19. In his new book, "On Capitalism and Inequality: Progress and Poverty Revisited", Ayres argues that the moral and ethical decline began with the rise of Wall Street speculation, which increasingly caused the world economy to resemble a poker game with dizzying stakes, rigged in favour of the wealthy and powerful. To re-establish a sense of fairness, Ayres recommends a familiar remedy: universal basic income, otherwise known as UBI. Unlike many UBI proponents, however, Ayres has a robust, provocative answer to the pertinent question of how it can be paid for.
The two faces of leadership
Leadership has two faces -- there's the glamorous side that happens in the spotlight, and the less obvious work that goes on behind the scenes. Both are crucial, but leadership literature has increasingly stressed the public face at the expense of the more technocratic one. To borrow terminology from seminal organisational theorist James March, it focuses on the poetry of leadership and often neglects the plumbing. Charles Galunic, INSEAD Professor of Organisational Behaviour, sheds light on the more obscure face of leadership in his new book Backstage Leadership: The Invisible Work of Highly Effective Leaders. He encourages leaders to concentrate on five core processes: scanning and sensemaking, building and locking in commitment, handling contradictions, harnessing culture, and developing talent and capabilities. Though his book was written before Covid-19, he also speaks about the heightened relevance of backstage leadership in light of the pandemic and the resulting economic crisis.
Reimagining business to monetise sustainability
Luk Van Wassenhove, INSEAD Emeritus Professor of Technology and Operations Management, is one of the world's foremost researchers on business and sustainability. Long before the phrase "circular economy" was widely known, he was partnering with companies to reduce waste in their supply chains. In addition, he has decades of experience helping NGOs improve their delivery of services in some of the most challenging contexts imaginable -- places where, as he puts it, "you might get shot at" in the normal course of humanitarian work. Luk joins us to discuss what he has learned over his eventful career about how to harmonise sustainability and profitability. He also offers insights about the state of the circular economy and other efforts to improve the environmental impact of business in our perilous world.