Business, Management and Leadership Ideas

20 Most Recent Ideas

  1. Establish a Company PowerPoint Protocol

    Several years ago, Pentagon officials put out specific guidelines for computer presentation. They did so to force briefing officers to spend less time developing great slides - and more time developing great briefings. They were also interested in curbing the use of unnecessary PowerPoint features - like wildly zooming pictures and exotic slide transitions. Among other points, a good protocol should mandate the use of … [ Read more ]

  2. Team Building Through Volunteerism

    Studies show that encouraging and supporting staff to get involved in the community is a great way to motivate employees and increase team spirit. But instead of sending folks out on their own to volunteer, take your team out for a day to support a local group. This builds collaboration and a sense of respect and accomplishment.

  3. Consciously Enforce Cooperative Social Norms

    Larry Prusak, a former IBM executive who is now scholar in residence at Babson College, notes that some firms are consciously enforcing cooperative social norms. “Firms that encouraged opportunistic behavior and that thought performative ties were just ‘soft stuff’ have not done well,” he says, adding that companies can encourage cooperative behavior in two ways. “First, signals and symbols are important. If a firm promotes … [ Read more ]

  4. Humans vs. Algorithms for Hiring

    Michael Lewis’s book Moneyball pits the collective old-time wisdom of baseball players, managers, coaches, scouts, and front offices against rigorous statistical analysis in determining which players to recruit. Analysis wins, changing the game forever. Could the same be true for recruiting top talent?

    When the National Bureau of Economic Research looked into this, it pitted humans against computers for more than 300,000 hires in high-turnover jobs … [ Read more ]

  5. Search for Hidden Talent Treasures

    Organizations looking for outside talent pay an extraordinary amount of attention to resumes. [...] Once people are inside, it’s almost as if some of kind of reset button is pressed: The details of their backgrounds seem to get dumped onto a far-off slag heap, and they become known only for what they do at the new organization. I call this phenomenon resumenesia — a malady … [ Read more ]

  6. Screening Job Applicants for Cultural Fit

    San Francisco startup Weebly invites job candidates to work on site during a “trial week,” paid at fair market value. Why? Simple: it’s very hard to suppress values-incongruent behaviors when working closely with others for that long. As their CEO says: “Assholes can hide it in interviews, but for whatever reason, they cannot hide it for a whole week. I don’t know why, but it … [ Read more ]

  7. Create a “How to Use Me” Guide

    Jay Desai has FOMU. As a first-time founder and CEO of health technology startup PatientPing, he’s got a healthy fear of messing up. This anxiety especially bubbles to the surface when it has to do with his team — now over 100 employees — and particularly the seven who report directly to him. He’s seen too many immensely talented and productive teams stall because of … [ Read more ]

  8. Learning to Say No: The MSPOT

    The single best tool I have found to help unlearn the yes-man ways of a startup CEO is a single-page document we call our MSPOT. With it, we articulate our Mission, the constituencies we Serve, the Plays we’re going to run this year, the plays we are going to Omit, and how we will Track our progress.

    The most painful portion of that document are the … [ Read more ]

  9. Gamification of the Enterprise

    In the summer of 2011, Facebook announced it would use the social performance platform Rypple (now part of Salesforce.com) for internal reviews and communications.  Rypple allows employees to create and compete in challenges, receive recognition from colleagues, see what others are working on, and find where needed skills may exist within an organization. But Rypple is not a game. It doesn’t even look like a … [ Read more ]

  10. Build a Fact-Base and Search for Strategic Options

    By determining where, how, and why value is created and destroyed within each business unit, managers can typically uncover opportunities to double the value of their business units within two to three years. To accomplish this feat, management must identify which customer segments are most profitable, which product and service features are most important to meeting the needs of customers in these segments, and which … [ Read more ]

  11. Protect Your Company from Liability Suits Resulting from Counterfeits

    Because fakes (counterfeit goods) are getting better—sometimes even coming in lookalike packaging—it's a good idea to include secret features that distinguish your products from knockoffs, especially if you're worried about liability suits resulting from counterfeits. "You can put secret tells in your product," says Dave Tognotti, general counsel of Monster. It marks its headphones with microscopic dots, and stamps some of its packaging with codes … [ Read more ]

  12. Intermittent Reinforcement is More Effective

    Intermittent "extras" are more powerful than constant bonuses that are predictable. Say that a manager wants to reward employees. A good way to do it is with a lottery system. You could set it up so one would have to maintain some level of performance to be eligible for the lottery. The hope of entering the lottery will keep workers going at a higher level … [ Read more ]

  13. Hire Two Salespeople at a Time

    Spanning's Jeff Erramouspe likes to hire salespeople in pairs. "You spend the same energy training one sales rep as two," he says, "and it promotes healthy competition from the start." It's also a hedge against high turnover: "You don't want to spend all that effort and be back where you started."

  14. Improve HR with a Rotational Onboarding Program and Peer-to-Peer Hiring

    One important initiative at ING has been a new three-week onboarding program, also inspired by Zappos, that involves every employee spending at least one full week at the new Customer Loyalty Team operations call center taking customer calls. As they move around the key areas of the bank, new employees quickly establish their own informal networks and gain a deeper understanding of the business.

    We have … [ Read more ]

  15. Give Your Employees Meaning to Improve Turnover

    At Zumasys, in addition to the typical corporate benefits, every employee gets three to four weeks of vacation, complementary access to the company’s two-bedroom Vegas loft, and the opportunity to qualify for a tenure-based international travel program that, each year, gives four to six employees a week off with pay and a $4,000 stipend to travel to the destination of their choice. The open-book financials … [ Read more ]

  16. Institutionalize an “Astonishment Report”

    At the end of their induction period (generally three months), new hires are required to write (and discuss with their boss) a short report documenting anything and everything that they have found interesting or surprising since joining the company.

  17. Getting a Fresh Look at Your Products and Services

    Every three months, a group of people from the organization—younger people, junior people, but never the same people—sits down and looks at one segment of the company’s products, or services, or process or policies with a question: If we didn’t do this already, would we go into it the way we are now? Every four or five years, that company has systematically abandoned or at … [ Read more ]

  18. A Better Employee Suggestions System

    AT&T has built a digital infrastructure enabling all employee suggestions to be logged online. A small, dedicated team regularly reads and triages the suggestions, sending each promising one to a designated leader or expert who is obligated to consider it and respond. Employees can see the progress of each suggestion and log comments. Other companies have developed systems that enable employees to “vote up” or … [ Read more ]

  19. Why You Should Interview People Who Turn Down a Job with Your Company

    Successfully competing for top talent involves both selling jobs to the best candidates and retaining the highest performing incumbents. In order to be seen as an employer of choice with a compelling value proposition for employees, many companies measure turnover and conduct exit interviews with departing employees to gather feedback about the experiences people had working there and the reasons why they’re leaving. But a … [ Read more ]

  20. Identify Customer Pain Points

    One of the best ways to find out where consumers’ pain points (and thus your opportunities) are is to talk to your frontline people. Your retail and call center people have heard it all; once every quarter, spend half a day asking them what challenges your customers face, and then focus your innovation investments on findings ways to address those issues.