A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.
Decisions Don't Have to Be Either-Or
Making business decisions often means choosing one path over another. And psychology research shows that our brains are wired to make either-or choices. But Wendy Smith, management professor at the University of Delaware, and Marianne Lewis, dean of the University of Cincinnati Lindner College of Business, argue for moving beyond tradeoffs. The researchers teach leaders how to embrace ambiguity and paradox to come up with solutions that are far better than one choice or the other. And they share practical advice as well as stories of people who have discovered opportunities for innovation and personal growth. Smith and Lewis wrote the new book "Both/And Thinking: Embracing Creative Tensions to Solve Your Toughest Problems."
Is Cynicism Ruining Your Organization?
Around the world, we've become increasingly cynical about other people, public institutions, and corporations. In Edelman's 2022 Trust Barometer, nearly 60% of respondents across 27 countries reported that their default is to distrust. And that's very bad for business, says Stanford University associate professor of psychology Jamil Zaki. He says that cynics perform and feel worse, and in workplaces, they breed toxicity and lead to poor outcomes . He explains how to identify and change this kind of behavior at your organization. Zaki wrote the HBR article, “Don't Let Cynicism Undermine Your Workplace."
The Case for Embracing Uncertainty
For many of us, uncertainty is nerve-wracking. However, many of our best achievements and meaningful experiences come from a trying time of ambiguity. INSEAD professor Nathan Furr and entrepreneur Susannah Harmon Furr argue that uncertainty and possibility are two sides of the same coin. By learning to welcome and cope with the gray area, an individual can reach better outcomes. They reviewed research and interviewed innovators and changemakers to share best practices of stepping proactively into the unknown. They wrote the new book "The Upside of Uncertainty: A Guide to Finding Possibility in the Unknown" and the HBR article "How to Overcome Your Fear of the Unknown."
How the Unionization Trend is Changing Workplace Dynamics
For years, union membership has been shrinking in the United States and many other countries. But recently we've seen a resurgence, with employees in sectors like retail, hospitality, and media organizing to collectively bargain for better pay, benefits, and job flexibility. Thomas Kochan, a professor at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has long studied how unions affect individual, team, and corporate performance. He explains why some fears about them are overblown, how workers form successful ones, and how leaders can partner with these groups to ensure the best outcomes for everyone.
Red Flags You Won’t See on a CEO’s Resume
For a long time, we have believed that strong corporate governance is enough to prevent CEO malfeasance. However, new research shows that the lifestyle behaviors of executives can spell trouble for companies, regardless of the guardrails in place. Aiyesha Dey, an associate professor at Harvard Business School, has investigated executives’ past criminal records and the cost of their homes and automobiles. Her research has linked an individual’s materialism and propensity for rule breaking to fraud, insider trading, and risky business activities. She says that boards and other hiring bodies should pay more attention to personal behavior when picking organizational leaders. Dey wrote the HBR article "When Hiring CEOs, Focus on Character."
Sad, Mad, Anxious? How to Work Through Your 'Big Feelings'
When things aren't going well -- in our own lives, our community, our country, or the world -- it's hard to be productive at work. Most of us also shy away from sharing what we're feeling with colleagues and bosses. But when strong emotions like anxiety, anger, and despair hit you -- due to problems at work or outside it -- it's important to recognize and thoughtfully address them. Liz Fosslien and Mollie West Duffy are coauthors of the book "Big Feelings: How to Be Okay When Things Are Not Okay," and they share research-backed advice on how to do just that.