The Best of This Week
The week’s must-reads for managing in the digital age, curated by the MIT SMR editors.
Rethinking Assumptions About How Employees Work
Over the past year and a half, many companies have pivoted to deal with the accelerated change and the range of challenges the pandemic has brought on. But preparing for the next era will require a change in leaders’ mindsets about jobs and managerial expectations.
How Will Increased Flexibility in Hybrid Work Impact Performance and Productivity? Top Strategists Weigh In
Since COVID-19 vaccines became widely available, leaders have had to grapple with what to tell employees about work-from-home arrangements. They are now facing an urgent, unresolved question: Will relaxed rules around physical presence in the office affect employee productivity and company performance? The MIT SMR Strategy Forum asked experts around the world to weigh in on whether they agree or disagree. Spoiler alert: Many fall somewhere in the middle.
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Two Underappreciated Causes of the Supply Chain Crisis
The ongoing global supply chain crisis shows no sign of abating. And although many media outlets have blamed pandemic shortages on companies’ practice of just-in-time inventory management, abandoning it would do little to help current supply chain problems. This article points to two other overarching causes of product and parts shortages: suppliers’ inability to adjust to soaring demand, and government interventions.
For Senior Leaders, the Most In-Demand Intelligence Is Emotional
Companies are increasingly seeking socially adept leaders — not charismatic smooth talkers, but executives who listen empathetically, welcome input, and rally teams around a common goal, according to new research. In today’s complex work world, social skills in the C-suite are seen as more important than more traditional operational and administrative abilities.
What Else We’re Reading This Week
- Companies should manage and measure return on visibility like any other enterprise asset (Source: MIT SMR)
- Midcareer women may have trouble recovering financially from pandemic setbacks (Source: The 19th)
- Amid the Great Resignation, an increase in new business filings indicates that many entrepreneurial workers are starting their own businesses (Source: Knowledge@Wharton)
- Two key changes have put plastic on track to surpass coal power plants for greenhouse gas emissions (Source: Here & Now)
Quote of the Week:
“If companies make employees who can do their jobs at home go into the office, it will be harder for them to hire, and other companies will benefit.”
— Thomas Malone, professor at MIT Sloan and director of MIT’s Center for Collective Intelligence, in “MIT Expert on Work Says Any Boss Who Thinks Employees Will Return to Offices Is Dreaming”