- Opinion & Analysis
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To reach its full potential, the popular innovation methodology must be more closely aligned with the realities and social dynamics of established businesses.
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Large-scale, long-term projects are notoriously difficult to manage. But recent research on megaprojects — defined as projects costing more than $1 billion — reveals five lessons that can help executives manage any big, complex project more effectively.
In the short term, ignoring or stifling employees’ negative emotions is easier for managers than addressing the problem. But since brushing aside negative emotions can lead to high costs from reduced employee productivity, engagement, and effectiveness, executives should learn what to look for and how to respond.
MIT Sloan Management Review editor in chief Paul Michelman argues that the importance of corporate culture will dissipate as organizations become flatter and more distributed. However, several readers take a different view.
It is impossible to block negative emotions from the workplace. Whether provoked by bad decisions, misfortune, poor timing, or employees’ personal problems, no organization is immune from trouble. And trouble agitates bad feelings. However, in many workplaces, negative emotions are brushed aside; in some others, they are taboo. Unfortunately, the author’s research suggests that neither of these strategies is effective. Instead, insight and readiness are key to developing effective responses.
Many big projects start off well, but then lose momentum and spiral downward as skeptical stakeholders withdraw support. Executives need to identify common triggers that spark stakeholder concerns — and take action to avert the ‘cycle of doubt’ that can ensue.
One way to learn, argue Paul J.H. Schoemaker and Steven Krupp, is to “try to fail fast, often and cheaply in search of innovation.” Asking “what if” questions, they say, challenges executives to incorporate broader perspectives, stimulating “out-of-the-box dialogues that help leaders make better choices and find innovative solutions sooner.” Schoemaker and Krupp write that to help a team learn faster, leaders must frame mistakes as valuable learning opportunities.
Simple as it sounds, regular sleep is the best antidote for a fatigued or stressed-out workforce. But many modern workplaces condone practices that are not conducive to healthy sleep schedules, with leaders setting the expectation that others need to be at the office at all hours of the day and night. The authors argue that managers should “allow employees to separate from work when the workday is finished” and think of sleep as a strategic resource that is a key to human sustainability.
Asking why you’re embarking on a project before you begin raises the project’s chance of success. But “to our continuing surprise, we often discover these teams have not even discussed, let alone agreed on, why they are pursuing the project,” write Karen A. Brown, Nancy Lea Hyer and Richard Ettenson. But producing a good “why” statement often requires both a lot of work and heated debate.
The editors of MIT Sloan Management Review are pleased to announce the winners of this year’s Richard Beckhard Memorial Prize, awarded to the authors of the most outstanding MIT SMR article on planned change and organizational development published from fall 2010 to summer 2011.
Employees who work out of the office employ a variety of tactics to make sure that their contributions are noticed and that their colleagues have a favorable impression of them.
From time to time a company’s project truly stands out, creating exceptional value and having an impact on the industry. IBM’s AS/400 development effort in the 80s was a game changer and gave IBM a competitive edge. Apple Inc.’s success in creating the iPod portable media player and iTunes online store is another more recent example of a great project — one that changed the way people listen to and buy music. Why are such projects so rare — and why can’t more projects be like them?
Many managers think they’ve committed their organizations to evidence-based decision making — but have instead, without realizing it, committed to decision-based evidence making. Is that all bad? What can be done to fix it?
As research on the National Football League reveals, sometimes the specific nature of a job determines whether a great performer at one company can replicate that performance at another.
Most mergers fail because the newly constructed management team has been put in no position to actually lead. Can the pitfalls faced by merged teams be avoided, and the opportunities seized? Here are six guidelines for setting up new management to succeed.
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