Steve Jobs was forced out of Apple — the company he cofounded — in 1985, only to return and rebuild the company in the 1990s. Many other companies have also turned to former CEOs, known as “boomerang CEOs,” in times of need, but little was known until now about the impact of these rehires. This comparative investigation of boomerang and non-boomerang CEOs reveals critical implications for leaders.
The language people use to talk about racism shapes how they understand what’s happening and which solutions sound appropriate. An analysis of U.S. tech companies’ statements on racial injustice reveals that, while certainly well intentioned, many point to race itself, not racism, as the cause of discrimination.
Determining how to improve engagement and satisfaction is a mission-critical priority in a post-pandemic working world where uncertainty is rife. Job crafting, a proactive approach to job redesign, empowers workers to become design agents, transforming the jobs they have into the jobs they want.
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The use of behavioral insights has always incorporated aspects of design but in a top-down way, using principles of behavior to embed certain ways of acting into the local environment or context. This approach can be successful but has also been criticized for paying too little attention to users, leading to growing interest in “human-centered design.”
Companies that sell shippable goods have grappled with spikes in demand since COVID-19 hit. Robots seem like an obvious fix, but putting them into production is a complex undertaking. Still, we can learn from the rare successes: Plug-and-play systems offer far greater returns than large-scale, custom installations. They can be rapidly set up to meet surging demand — and rapidly reconfigured when needs change.
What Else We’re Reading This Week
- Defusing stress-driven survival mode
- How to politely disconnect with too-rarely-used away messages
- Reddit cofounder Alexis Ohanian (aka Serena Williams’s husband) wants to destigmatize paternity leave
Quote of the Week:
“The hype machine, the social media industrial complex, is such a powerful tool, and we have seen it as both being used for good and for bad purposes. It’s used in foreign election interference, and it’s used to market the use of condoms or to prevent the spread of disease. We can achieve the promise and avoid the peril.”
— Sinan Aral, the David Austin Professor of Management at MIT and director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy in this week’s Three Big Points podcast, “Inside the Hype Machine”