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HBR IdeaCast

Author: Harvard Business Review

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A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.
976 Episodes
Few leaders have been trained to ask great questions. That might explain why they tend to be good at certain kinds of questions, and less effective at other kinds. Unfortunately, that hurts their ability to pursue strategic priorities. Arnaud Chevallier, strategy professor at IMD Business School, explains how leaders can break out of that rut and systematically ask five kinds of questions: investigative, speculative, productive, interpretive, and subjective. He shares real-life examples of how asking the right sort of question at a key time can unlock value and propel your organization. With his IMD colleagues Frédéric Dalsace and Jean-Louis Barsoux, Chevallier wrote the HBR article "The Art of Asking Smarter Questions."
Many people aspire to entrepreneurship but we all know it's a high-risk endeavor. Bill Aulet, the Ethernet Inventors Professor of Entrepreneurship at the MIT Sloan School of Management, has for decades studied what it takes for start-ups to succeed and advises the next generation of founders on how to do it. He discusses the key trends and changes he's seen over the past few years, and outlines concrete steps anyone can take to get a new venture -- including those within larger organizations -- off the ground. Aulet is the author of the newly updated book Disciplined Entrepreneurship: 24 Steps to a Successful Startup.
The amount of work we need to get done seems to grow daily. To avoid becoming overwhelmed, we have to become more productive than ever. Laura Mae Martin has advice on what has worked well at one of the biggest organizations in the world. She's the Executive Productivity Advisor at Google and shares the practical ways she helps her colleagues and company executives manage their time, calendars, email inboxes, and more. Martin is the author of the new book Uptime: A Practical Guide to Personal Productivity and Wellbeing.
It's been nearly two decades since the term "glass cliff" was coined; it refers to the tendency for women to break through the glass ceiling to top management roles only when there is a big crisis to overcome, which makes it more difficult for them to succeed. In short, senior female leaders are often set up to fail — and this continues to happen today, as recent examples from business, politics, and academia show. Sophie Williams, a former C-suite advertising executive and global leader at Netflix, has researched why the glass cliff remains a problem and offers advice for women facing them — as well as lessons for the broader corporate world. She's the author of the book "The Glass Cliff: Why Women in Power Are Undermined - and How to Fight Back."
A growing number of workers are reaching retirement age around the globe. At the same time, many countries face a worker shortage, especially in critical areas like health care. Ken Dychtwald, cofounder and CEO of Age Wave, says it’s time for companies to stop overlooking this valuable labor pool, because AI alone won't alleviate the tight supply. He explains why many late-career people want to work longer. And he shares creative and often simple ways that companies can keep older workers engaged, including phased retirements, non-ageist recruiting, mentorship programs, and grandparental leave. Dychtwald is a coauthor of the HBR article "Redesigning Retirement."
There's a lot of advice out there on how to get job interviews right, whether you're the one trying to get hired or the one evaluating the candidates. But the dos and don'ts aren't always applicable to every person. In fact, author Anna Papalia thinks we're better served by understanding and leveraging our own natural interviewing style. Having spent years as a corporate recruiter, organizational consultant, and coach to students and professions, she's conducted thousands of real and mock interviews and noticed that people tend to fall into one of four categories: charmer, examiner, challenger, or harmonizer.  She outlines the strengths and weaknesses of each and explains how this framework can help us get better from both sides of the desks. Papalia wrote the book "Interviewology: The New Science of Interviewing."
The coauthor of the classic book Getting to Yes has new advice on how to negotiate, designed for a world that feels more conflicted than ever. William Ury, cofounder of Harvard’s Program on Negotiation, has come to learn that the biggest obstacle in a negotiation is often yourself—not your opponent. Ury, who also coined the term BATNA, explains the latest thinking from his research and consulting. He shares his tried-and-true methods for overcoming yourself to negotiate better outcomes at work and in life. Ury wrote the new book Possible: How We Survive (and Thrive) in an Age of Conflict.
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?"
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.
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.”
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.”
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."
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?"
Research shows that happiness bottoms out for people in their mid to late 40s. We might struggle with mid-career slumps, caring for both children and aging parents, and existential questions about whether everything has turned out as we'd planned. But Chip Conley says we can approach this phase of our personal and profesional lives with a different perspective. He's a former hospitality industry CEO and founder of the Modern Elder Academy, and he explains how to reframe our thinking about middle age, find new energy, and become more fulfilled and successful people at work and home. Conley wrote the book Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age.
Most good bosses know that they should schedule regular one-on-ones with each of their team members. But fewer know exactly how to manage these meetings well, in part because organizations rarely offer relevant training. Steven Rogelberg, Chancellor's Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has spent years researching the best way to prepare for, structure, engage in, and follow up on one-on-ones. He says they're a key way to boost performance, and offers tips for ensuring that we all get more out of them. Rogelberg is author of the book Glad We Met: The Art and Science of 1:1 Meetings.
A growing number of companies are mandating office time for employees and structuring hybrid work under broad, rigid rules. But pushing people into the office is a mistake, argues Kimberly Shells, a senior director in the Gartner HR practice. She shares research showing how much flexibility and autonomy and belonging workers want. And Shells says organizations can still foster those qualities in an in-person office culture that also improves productivity and collaboration. She explains that companies should follow through on a clear purpose and craft policies that allow for options, flexibility, offsite team-building events, and support services such as on-site childcare. Shells cowrote the HBR article “Return-to-Office Plans Don’t Have to Undermine Employee Autonomy.”
For the qualities that top-performing CEOs have in common, research shows some surprising results. It turns out that charisma, confidence, and pedigree all have little bearing on CEO success. Elena Botelho, partner at leadership advisory firm ghSMART and coleader of its CEO Genome Project, studied high performers in the corner office. The analysis found that they demonstrated four business behaviors: quick decision making, engaging for impact, adapting proactively, and delivering reliably. Botelho cowrote the HBR article “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart.”
For a long time, conventional wisdom ruled that companies should avoid reselling their own products in used condition. There’s the threat of cannibalization, marketing confusion, and tricky logistics that can erase margins. But more name-brand retailers are jumping into resale, says Wharton marketing professor Tom Robertson. Thanks in part to Gen Z with its zeal for sustainability, he says consumer demand is rising fast for reused goods. He sees a revolution where brands cash in on resale, knowing that if they don’t own those customer relationships and sales, others will. Robertson wrote the HBR article “The Resale Revolution.”
Economic activity has long been concentrated in big metropolitan areas. But has the rise of remote work technology -- and its accelerated adoption during the pandemic -- changed that? How are talent flows between geographies changing? And what does it mean for employers? Richard Florida, professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto known for coining the term "creative class," shares his latest research, which shows the deepening links between urban centers in various parts of the world, and he explains how these "meta cities" remain important places for people to connect. He is coauthor of the HBR article “The Rise of the Meta City.”
Unfortunately, you can’t set up your organization’s artificial intelligence projects like just any other IT project. By their nature, AI endeavors are quite different and suffer high failure rates. But there are proven approaches you can take to increase your odds of success. Iavor Bojinov, assistant professor at Harvard Business School and former LinkedIn data scientist, breaks down five critical steps for an AI project to turn into an effective product: selection, development, evaluation, adoption, and management. He’s the author of the HBR article “Keep Your AI Projects on Track.”
Comments (106)

Habia Khet


Feb 5th

David Fatimehin


Jan 15th

مسعود چیتگرها Masoud Chitgarha

thanks for sharing this idea

Dec 23rd

nahid sh

brilliant episode 👌👌

Nov 30th

Raha Dana

Thank you, if possible, put the text of the audio file

Nov 11th
Reply (1)

asdfghjk asdf

Introducing 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World" showcases the transformative power of innovation and entrepreneurship. Also you check and get easy things about online business. From the assembly line to the sharing economy, these ideas reshaped industries, economies, and daily life. It's a reminder that visionary thinking can redefine the business landscape and drive societal progress, fostering a culture of continuous evolution and adaptability in the business world.

Oct 28th

Mohammad Noei

I can't believe I find this interview on this podcast #God_father

Oct 18th


With all due respect, I struggled to find anything new to learn from this episode.

Sep 26th



Jul 4th

William Gerorge

Shipping your car can be a convenient option for those who don't want to drive long distances or for those who have a non-running vehicle.

Jun 6th

Waleed sattar

The Emerson CF765BQ is a versatile ceiling fan that can be used in both indoor and outdoor spaces. It has a 60-inch blade span, making it perfect for large rooms up to 400 square feet.

May 31st

Milania Greendevald

The lack of efficient, easy-to-use, accurate scales compromises profitability and customer satisfaction. Reliable product weighing is essential for tracking sales and meeting industry standards, and you can always find help here

May 26th


Great one..🥳

May 9th

Drew W

Error at 1 minute 42 seconds: 11 million km, not 11 km

Oct 18th

Farhad Rad


Oct 1st



Oct 1st


great episode, thanks. I have a comment about the Synergy effect. Some products, especially commodity goods will have better performance selling on Amazon than on a direct channel such as the company website. Because for example, the customer wants to shop for all needed things in the kitchen or for a special event such as moving, and here she wouldn't use multiple channels and have multiple shipments on her doorstep.

Aug 26th


thanks alot

Aug 23rd
Reply (1)


thanks alot

Aug 13th


amazingly well ; i enjoyed

Aug 8th
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