Business, Management and Leadership Ideas

20 Most Recent Ideas

  1. Give Job Candidates Interview Questions Before the Interview

    Before candidates join for the interview round, Peoplism sends a thorough prep guide to sketch out expectations. “We tell the candidate most of the interview questions in advance. While it is a unique approach, I don’t understand why it’s that controversial and why other companies don’t do the same,” says co-founder Liz Kofman-Burns.

    There are plenty of behind-the-scenes factors that contribute to someone being a … [ Read more ]

  2. Encourage Bad-News Sharing to Foster Open Dialogue

    Sharing bad news—top-down, bottom-up, and across the organization—has a number of salutary effects beyond the obvious benefits of transparency. It can elicit empathy and support, break down barriers, and expand the pool of contributors to problem solving. Energy otherwise spent saving face can be channeled into more constructive use. The net result is not just top-down, bottom-up alignment, but stronger horizontal alignment. As with the … [ Read more ]

  3. Nail Executive Transitions to Avoid “Hero to Xero”

    Whether they’re stepping into an existing pair of shoes or carving out a brand-new role, new leaders often face a dose of skepticism from the org. “Whether we intend it or not, a lot of people have a wait-and-see approach. We're excited about them, but is this going to work out? Versus having a vested interest in helping make that person successful,” says Anne Raimondi, … [ Read more ]

  4. Ditch Your To-Do List and Use Your Calendar Instead

    Levels’ Sam Corcos has tinkered with a few time management techniques over the years, but the biggest win came from ditching his to-do list altogether and leveraging his calendar instead. Tactically, if Corcos has a task that needs to be completed, he now blocks off time for it on his calendar. “I used to have the habit of overcommitting myself, which became a major source of … [ Read more ]

  5. Apply Relevant Investment Criteria

    Depending on the structure of a company’s investment portfolio, decision makers may need to apply different criteria in order to highlight differences in the value drivers of various investment types. For example, a strict focus on internal rate of return and payback time may systematically favor incremental improvement investments at the expense of larger breakthrough investments that tend to have longer-term and uncertain payoffs.

    The process … [ Read more ]

  6. Go Beyond Internal Rate of Return

    In theory, there is a simple rule for choosing among competing investment projects: sort the list of projects based on their expected internal rate of return and select those with the highest IRRs until the budget is fully committed. In practice, however, the effectiveness of this approach is constrained by the quality of the assumptions that go into the valuations and by the influence of … [ Read more ]

  7. Translate Portfolio Roles Into Capital Allocation Guidelines

    One of our clients, an international energy company, which classifies business units as development, growth, anchor, or harvesting businesses, depending on their position in the market life cycle. Each portfolio role has its own performance requirements, and businesses are managed based on specific sets of financial indicators. More important, the role of each business determines its guidelines for capital allocation. For example, coal power generation … [ Read more ]

  8. Use the “Black Hat” Technique for New Initiatives

    To uncover the hidden traps of big new projects being considered, Jaleh Rezaei relies on the “black hat" technique, where you kick off new initiatives by asking a targeted tough question: “Let’s assume that it’s one year from now and we’ve failed at our goal. What went wrong?

    “This question creates a subtle shift from a very optimistic mindset to triggering the team’s problem-solving neurons. … [ Read more ]

  9. Shift to a Skills-Based Approach When Hiring

    companies are starting to be more intentional about hiring for a candidate’s future potential, not their past history. But it’ll be a long road. Our traditional recruiting processes still place an emphasis on certain types of education, experience, or personal referrals that can lead to a homogenous workforce.

    Start by rethinking your job descriptions. Focus on the results you’d like to see, rather than the type … [ Read more ]

  10. Manager Effectiveness Index (MEI)

    Performance reviews tend to be more heavily weighted to focus downward. (“I’m your manager, and here is what I think of your performance.”) There may be some mechanism for subordinates to provide feedback upward, but it often doesn’t carry the same importance. And that’s how bad bosses often stay in their roles.

    One example of an effective model comes from Aron Ain, the CEO of Ultimate … [ Read more ]

  11. The Overlooked Stay Conversation

    There's some debate over the best way to do exit interviews and how valuable they are. But there's one kind of interview that most organizations fail to do — stay conversations. The concept is simple: Identify your top performers who you hope will stay with you the longest, and ask them why they stay. They may say things like:

    • "I have the best manager I've ever
    [ Read more ]

  12. Create Tokens that Align with Your Values

    Jean-Denis Grezè has seen time and time again that small gestures can have an outsized impact. “I’m a big believer in incentives that align with the culture and values. A funny one that people don’t realize can be super helpful is creating tokens — objects that you reward for a specific behavior," he says. “You can create a subculture around a new value. Humans … [ Read more ]

  13. Celebrate Mistakes

    "We celebrated mistakes at a management gathering with 1,000 people in the room. A manager would get up and say why the environmentally sensitive light bulb or whatever it was…had failed…Then we'd give them $1,000 or a TV or something, depending on the scale of the thing. The point was to share the learning and get smarter as an organization." — Jack Welch

  14. Improving Your Product or Service via User Feedback

    Online music streaming service Spotify encourages its users to engage in its online community and to provide product ideas via its Idea Submissions page. Here, Spotify customers can submit suggestions on how they want the product to evolve, and other customers can vote on these ideas. Spotify then takes the critical step of closing the loop by letting its online community know which customer ideas … [ Read more ]

  15. Look Back, Look Forward

    Molly Graham does a look back, look forward every month or two, or at the end of a project — whatever milestone that makes the most sense for an employee's role. She asks them to look back on a project that they just finished and run through these questions:

    Look back:

    • What did you like about that? What felt good?
    • What did you hate about it?
    [ Read more ]

  16. How to Talk about Employee Departures

    But people still leave. Some want to try other things at other companies, or the fit isn't right, so we have to let them go. It's the natural cycle of business.

    What's never been natural at companies, though, is how these departures are handled. So at Basecamp we've created a ritual for when someone leaves: We tell everyone in the company why. Not just that person's team, … [ Read more ]

  17. 720-Degree Assessments

    Most have done a 360 and found that personal feedback may differ among supervisors, peers, or subordinates. We advocate a 720 for employees who have contact with people outside their organization. Customer contact employees may be more or less gifted at managing customer relationships. By asking customers their views, employees learn what they do well and not so well.

  18. Publicly Display Progress to Build Organization Spirit

    Keep highly visible scoreboards, big thermometers (as in a fund-raising campaign), bulletin boards, Intranet sites, voice mail messages and newsletters to update everyone on progress toward key goals or change and improvement targets. Make goals/targets and progress as visible as possible.

  19. Create an Internal Innovation Futures Market

    A consumer products company created an internal innovation futures market, where managers can go long or short on innovative ideas pitched by the teams creating them. Once the market price of an idea crosses a threshold, the innovators get more funding; if it crosses a higher threshold, it's transferred into an existing or new business unit. But if its price falls below a certain level, … [ Read more ]

  20. Learning from Existing Customers

    One of the best ways to figure out how to structure your offer is to talk to some of the people who've already bought from you. Call them on the phone and say, "What was it about this product that you like? Why did you buy in the first place? What was appealing about it to you? What are some of the best benefits you've … [ Read more ]