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Over the past few years, organizations around the world have invested in diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives with varying results. But to achieve lasting change, they'll need to commit to that work for much longer, says Ella Washington, organizational psychologist and professor at Georgetown University’s McDonough School of Business. Her research shows that companies move toward DEI maturity in five stages (aware, compliant, tactical, integrated, and sustainable) and each takes time to work through. She explains why some organizations get stuck, and how to overcome those challenges. Washington is author of "The Necessary Journey: Making Real Progress on Equity and Inclusion" and the HBR article "The Five Stages of DEI Maturity."
From corporate social responsibility to ESG to “doing well by doing good,” an increasing number of organizations are pursuing positive social impact, and it’s not just nonprofits and government agencies. But incorporating social impact into a for-profit business raises all kinds of system dilemmas, says Jacob Harold, a cofounder of the philanthropy data platform Candid and the former CEO of GuideStar. He explains a bundle of tools that can be used together to create meaningful change. Harold wrote the new book “The Toolbox: Strategies for Crafting Social Impact.”
From videos of drunk and disorderly airline passengers to stories of hospital visitors angrily refusing to wear masks, customer-facing work seems to have gotten a lot more difficult – even dangerous -- over the past few years. It's important that organizations understand the experience of frontline workers now, and help to better protect their employees, says Christine Porath, professor of management at Georgetown University. She's studied incivility for 20 years, and has spoken to workers in many industries in the last few years about what it's like working with customers today - with stress, anger, and incivility seemingly on the rise. And she has advice for managers and leaders. Porath is the author of the HBR Big Idea article "Frontline Work When Everyone Is Angry."
Companies offer sponsorship programs to help a more diverse group of high performers and future leaders advance. But the efforts can often misfire. Herminia Ibarra, professor at London Business School, says that’s because these arranged developmental relationships can lack authenticity and meaningful paths for action. She explains the key distinctions of mentorship and sponsorship and recommends that companies focus on two vital qualities: public advocacy and relational authenticity. Ibarra wrote the HBR article “How to Do Sponsorship Right.”
From politics to sports to business, we tend to glorify those who persevere, show grit, never give up. But former professional poker player and consultant Annie Duke argues that there is also great value in quitting — whether it’s a project, job, career, or company. She walks us through the biases that keep us stuck in the status quo even when other paths would be more fruitful and explains how to make better decisions. Duke is the author of "Quit: The Power of Knowing When to Walk Away.”
The number of women—especially women of color—in leadership ranks at the world’s largest companies remains desperately small. Tina Opie, associate professor of management at Babson College, offers a new practice for women to lift each other up and fight systemic bias in the workplace, something she calls “shared sisterhood.” The idea is to be more honest with each other, forming truer bonds. That involves listening, understanding yourself, and a willingness to take risks. With University of Iowa management professor Beth Livingston, Opie wrote the new book “Shared Sisterhood: How to Take Collective Action for Racial and Gender Equity at Work.”
In the early 1990s, publishers told science journalist Daniel Goleman not to use the word “emotion” in a business book. The popular conception was that emotions had little role in the workplace. When HBR was founded in October 1922, the practice of management focused on workers’ physical productivity, not their feelings. And while over the decades psychologists studied “social intelligence” and “emotional strength,” businesses cultivated the so-called hard skills that drove the bottom line. Until 1990, when psychologists Peter Salovey and John Mayer published their landmark journal article. It proposed “emotional intelligence” as the ability to identify and manage one's own emotions as well as those of others. Daniel Goleman popularized the idea in his 1995 book, and companies came to hire for “EI” and teach it. It’s now widely seen as a key ingredient in engaged teams, empathetic leadership, and inclusive organizations. However, critics question whether emotional intelligence operates can be meaningfully measured and contend that it acts as a catchall term for personality traits and values. 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as disruptive innovation, shareholder value, and scientific management. Discussing emotional intelligence with HBR executive editor Alison Beard are: Daniel Goleman, psychologist and author of Emotional Intelligence Susan David, psychologist at Harvard Medical School and author of Emotional Agility Andy Parks, management professor at Central Washington University Further reading: HBR: Leading by Feel, with Daniel Goleman New Yorker: The Repressive Politics of Emotional Intelligence, by Merve Emre HBR: Emotional Agility, by Susan David and Christina Congleton Book: Emotional Intelligence, by Daniel Goleman
Nouriel Roubini, professor emeritus at NYU’s Stern School of Business, says that a confluence of trends – from skyrocketing public and private debt and bad monetary policies to demographic shifts and the rise of AI – are pushing the world toward catastrophe. He warns of those interconnected threats, but also has suggestions for how political and business leaders can prepare for and navigate through these challenges. He draws on decades of economic research as well as his experience accurately predicting, advising on, and observing responses to the 2008 global financial crisis, and he's the author of "Megathreats: Ten Dangerous Trends that Imperil our Future, and How to Survive Them.”
The idea that maximizing shareholder value takes legal and practical precedence above all else first came to prominence in the 1970s. The person who arguably did the most to advance the idea was the business school professor Michael Jensen, who wrote in Harvard Business Review and elsewhere that CEOs pursue their own interests at the expense of shareholders' interests. Among other things, he argued for stock-based incentives that would neatly align CEO and shareholder interests. Shareholder primacy rapidly became business orthodoxy. It dramatically changed how and how much executives are compensated. And it arguably distorted capitalism for a generation or more. Critics have long charged that maximizing shareholder value ultimately just encourages CEOs and shareholders to feather their own nests at the expense of everything else: jobs, wages and benefits, communities, and the environment. The past few years have seen a backlash against shareholder capitalism and the rise of so-called stakeholder capitalism. After reigning supreme for half a century, is shareholder value maximization on its way out? 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as disruptive innovation, scientific management, and emotional intelligence. Discussing shareholder value with HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius are: Lynn Paine, professor at Harvard Business School Mihir Desai, professor at Harvard Business School Carola Frydman, professor at Kellogg School of Management Further reading: HBR: CEO Incentives—It’s Not How Much You Pay, But How, by Michael C. Jensen and Kevin J. Murphy New York Times: A Friedman doctrine‐- The Social Responsibility Of Business Is to Increase Its Profits, by Milton Friedman HBR: The Error at the Heart of Corporate Leadership, by Joseph L. Bower and Lynn S. Paine U.S. Business Roundtable: Statement on the Purpose of a Corporation, 2019
In 2021, the U.S. space agency NASA launched a spacecraft toward a pair of asteroids more than 11 million kilometers away. The target? The smaller of the two asteroids, just 170 meters wide. The success of the $300 million, seven-year project demanded careful coordination of scientists, engineers, and project managers across different national space agencies. It also required strong leadership from NASA's head of science, Thomas Zurbuchen. He shares his path to an executive role at NASA, his management philosophies, and how he oversees trailblazing space missions with high risk of failure.
In the 1980s, Clayton Christensen cofounded a startup that took over a market niche from DuPont and Alcoa. That experience left Christensen puzzled. How could a small company with few resources beat rich incumbents? It led to his theory of disruptive innovation, introduced in the pages of Harvard Business Review in 1995 and popularized two years later in The Innovators Dilemma. The idea has inspired a generation of entrepreneurs. It has reshaped R&D strategies at countless established firms. And it has changed how investors place billions of dollars and how governments spend billions more, aiming to kickstart new industries and spark economic growth. But disruption has taken on a popular meaning well beyond what Christensen’s research describes. Some critics argue that the theory lacks evidence. Others say it glosses over the social costs of lost jobs of bankrupted companies. And debate continues over the best way to apply the idea in practice. 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as shareholder value, scientific management, and emotional intelligence. Discussing disruptive innovation with HBR editor Amy Bernstein are: Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School Felix Oberholzer-Gee, professor at Harvard Business School Derek van Bever, senior lecturer at Harvard Business School Further reading: HBR: What Is Disruptive Innovation?, by Clayton M. Christensen, Michael E. Raynor, and Rory McDonald New Yorker: The Disruption Machine: What the Gospel of Innovation Gets Wrong, by Jill Lepore Business History Review: How History Shaped the Innovator’s Dilemma, by Tom Nicholas HBR: Disruptive Technologies: Catching the Wave, by Joseph L. Bower and Clayton M. Christensen
No industry has had more impact than technology over the past few decades. Tech companies have changed the way we live, work, and interact with each other. They’ve helped us in a lot of ways, but they’ve also created some big problems. Kara Swisher is a journalist, entrepreneur, and host of the podcast On with Kara Swisher. She’s had a front row seat to the tech industry’s evolution and interviewed all of its biggest players. She speaks with us about key trends — past, present, and future — and the lessons she’s learned as not just an observer but also a media entrepreneur herself along the way.
In 1878, a machinist at a Pennsylvania steelworks noticed that his crew was producing much less than he thought they could. With stopwatches and time-motion studies, Frederick Winslow Taylor ran experiments to find the optimal way to make the most steel with lower labor costs. It was the birth of a management theory, called scientific management or Taylorism. Critics said Taylor’s drive for industrial efficiency depleted workers physically and emotionally. Resentful laborers walked off the job. The U.S. Congress held hearings on it. Still, scientific management was the dominant management theory 100 years ago in October of 1922, when Harvard Business Review was founded. It spread around the world, fueled the rise of big business, and helped decide World War II. And today it is baked into workplaces, from call centers to restaurant kitchens, gig worker algorithms, and offices. Although few modern workers would recognize Taylorism, and few employers would admit to it. 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World is a special series from HBR IdeaCast. Each week, an HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on the most influential ideas of HBR’s first 100 years, such as disruptive innovation, shareholder value, and emotional intelligence. Discussing scientific management with HBR senior editor Curt Nickisch are: Nancy Koehn, historian at Harvard Business School Michela Giorcelli, economic historian at UCLA Louis Hyman, work and labor historian at Cornell University Further reading: Book: The One Best Way: Frederick Winslow Taylor and the Enigma of Efficiency, by Robert Kanigel Case Study: Mass Production and the Beginnings of Scientific Management, by Thomas K. McCraw Oxford Review: The origin and development of firm management, by Michela Giorcelli
Artificial intelligence technology has been advancing, and businesses have been putting it into action. But too many companies are just gathering a bunch of data to kick out insights and not really using AI to its fullest potential. Joshua Gans, professor at Rotman School of Management, says businesses need to apply AI more systemically. Because decision-making based on AI usually has ripple effects throughout the organization. Gans cowrote the HBR article “From Prediction to Transformation" and the new book "Power and Prediction: The Disruptive Economics of Artificial Intelligence."
Influential business and management ideas have tremendous influence over us. Like it or not, they shape how organizations are run and how people around the world spend their days. And Harvard Business Review has introduced and spread many of these consequential ideas since its founding in 1922. HBR IdeaCast is taking this 100th anniversary to ask: how have these ideas changed our lives? And where are they taking us in the future? Each Thursday in October, the podcast feed will feature a bonus series: 4 Business Ideas That Changed the World. Each week, a different HBR editor talks to world-class scholars and experts on influential business and management ideas of HBR’s first 100 years: disruptive innovation, scientific management, shareholder value, and emotional intelligence. Listen to the conversations to better understand our work life, how far it’s come, and how far it still has to go.
Most organizations have now accepted that the days of all their knowledge workers coming into the office full time are over. So what's next? Sid Sijbrandij, CEO and cofounder of Gitlab, thinks all-remote can be the answer. His open-source software development company took that approach from the start not because of the pandemic but because its founding team was dispersed and early employees were more productive at home. Now with more than 1,300 people spread across more than 60 countries, GitLab is said to be the world’s largest all-remote company. He shares the lessons he's learned about the best way to manage a distributed workforce.
Measuring a broad set of standards across the organization seems like a fair way to judge employees’ performance year over year. But Heidi Gardner, distinguished fellow at Harvard Law School, says performance management systems often incentivize employees to scramble to hit their numbers and lose sight of the organizations’ bigger objectives. To boost collaboration and long-term customer value, Gardner shares a four-part scorecard that establishes shared organizational goals while also holding employees accountable for individual results. With Ivan Matviak of Clearwater Analytics, Gardner wrote the HBR article “Performance Management Shouldn’t Kill Collaboration.”
Rolling Stone launched in 1967 with a mission to not only redefine music journalism but also chronicle important societal changes. Under the leadership of founding editor and publisher Jann Wenner, it published work from some of the 20th century’s greatest writers, reporters, designers and photographers. He explains how he identified and managed that talent and shares other lessons from his five decades at the forefront of rock and roll. Wenner is the author of "Like a Rolling Stone: A Memoir."
Work-life support programs have long been known to lower turnover and raise employee loyalty. But new research shows they also have a positive effect on promoting diversity among managers at those firms, an effect that’s even stronger than that of some popular racial-equity programs. Alexandra Kalev chairs the Department of Sociology and Anthropology at Tel Aviv University, and she explains why having strong, thoughtful policies around flexibility, time off, and dependent care pay off for companies. With Harvard sociologist Frank Dobbin, Kalev wrote the HBR article “The Surprising Benefits of Work/Life Support.”
It might still seem like a buzzword, or something that only matters to tech CEOs. But Matthew Ball, CEO of Epyllion and the former global head of strategy for Amazon Studios, says the metaverse is the "new internet" – and that it's already here. He argues that companies large and small need to not only better understand what the metaverse is, but should also be developing strategies around it today. That can have an impact on marketing, customer relations, product development, and much more, he says. Ball is the author of "The Metaverse: And How it Will Revolutionize Everything."
Comments (92)

Drew W

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

Oct 18th
Reply

Farhad Rad

#Mahsa_Amini

Oct 1st
Reply

Delafrouz

#mahsa_amini

Oct 1st
Reply

danial

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
Reply

Hamid

thanks alot

Aug 23rd
Reply (1)

Hamid

thanks alot

Aug 13th
Reply

mobina_hsni

amazingly well ; i enjoyed

Aug 8th
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GBH

Ms. Gerhardt's certainly has done solid groundwork in researching and understanding cultural differences within the workforce. That said, large Enterprise firms which are highly segmented and siled often view age differently then does for example a online music startup. The former will typically have a broader, and more diverse workforce both age-based, and culturally whereas in this example the music platform company by their own blog post accounts has a workforce well under 40, is this unconscious or a more deliberate form of bias? Does her research show that smaller Internet companies tend to hire people much like themselves? In my experience having worked at a large professional services firm until being Riff'd at age 60, age bias and discrimination was not even a recognized or discussed topic, during my nine years at this firm. Ethnic and cultural biases both unconscious and conscious were often discussed at great length. Lastly large firms towards the reactive and not proactive stance and execution against societal challenges, therefore it would not seem intuitive to believe that exploring, discussing, understanding, and implementing the contributions, and learning differences amongst the five age groups she mentioned would be on most large firms radar let alone development plan.

Mar 15th
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Hosein Vahdat

Amazing episode. thanks to all, especially Antonio

Mar 9th
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Slavic Jakubko

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Feb 23rd
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Red Arrow

Nowadays, it's not easy without work!

Feb 23rd
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Timo Marquez

What about when the gaslighter is the CEO ?

Jan 12th
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Felipe Dutra

Great episode!! So many valuable tips!

Sep 7th
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kagimub

Truth is always the best policy. Thank you for this episode. #Honesty

Aug 18th
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Mike Wood

n

Jul 13th
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Huw Williams

ifbplki

Jul 4th
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Shabnam Seyf

listening to this in June 2021 and it feels strange!

Jun 17th
Reply

Ehsan Teymouri

hi. how can I find transcription?

Jan 29th
Reply

Kyle Gonzales

interesting topic!

Sep 30th
Reply

Anthony Bowers

Brilliant episode. I don't wear a hoodie

Aug 29th
Reply
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