The 10 Most Popular Articles in 2021 (So Far)

Leading through change, hybrid work environments, and developing strategy for the post-pandemic era are among the most popular topics for readers in recent months.

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Following one of the most disruptive years in recent memory, 2021 has offered up many challenges and questions for managers: How can they keep teams safe and engaged in their work when they return to offices? How can they develop new skills and strategies at a time when things aren’t quite back to normal?

In the first half of the year, the most popular topics among readers have dived into answering these types of questions, with a focus on returning to physical offices, implementing hybrid work models, and redesigning organizational culture and strategy for the post-pandemic era. Other core issues for readers include understanding employee productivity and resilience, overcoming leadership failure, and developing strategies that can stand up against uncertainty and change.

The following are the 10 most popular articles of the year so far. We hope they are inspiring and instructive for you and your teams in the months ahead.

The Future of Team Leadership Is Multimodal

Robert Hooijberg and Michael Watkins

The COVID-19 pandemic has driven a transformation in the ways we work by accelerating a shift to hybrid virtual and in-person models and requiring a fundamental change in the skills team leaders need to succeed. Leaders will need to play four roles as they adapt to managing a hybrid workforce.

Redesigning the Post-Pandemic Workplace

Gerald C. Kane, Rich Nanda, Anh Phillips, and Jonathan Copulsky

As organizations plan for ways to bring remote employees back to the workplace, they should take advantage of the opportunity to rethink how and where work is best done, and how to combine the best aspects of remote and colocated work.

The Future of Work Is Through Workforce Ecosystems

Elizabeth J. Altman, David Kiron, Jeff Schwartz, and Robin Jones

Today’s leaders need best practices for dealing strategically and operationally with a distributed, diverse workforce that crosses internal and external boundaries. The authors contend that the best way to address the shift to managing all types of workers is through the lens of a workforce ecosystem — a structure that consists of interdependent actors, from within the organization and beyond, working to pursue both individual and collective goals.

How to Prevent the Return to Offices From Being an Emotional Roller Coaster

Liz Fosslien and Mollie West-Duffy

Leaders can take proactive steps to make workers feel more comfortable about going back to in-person work by being transparent, surfacing concerns early on, involving employees in the planning process, and highlighting potential benefits.

A Framework for Innovation in the COVID-19 Era and Beyond

Johnathan Cromwell and Blade Kotelly

The past year and a half has demonstrated how important it is for organizations and leaders to become more comfortable with ambiguity. By orienting their organizations within the authors’ innovation framework, company leaders can better understand how they weathered that uncertainty and leverage newfound innovation skills for long-term success.

Why So Many Data Science Projects Fail to Deliver

Mayur P. Joshi, Ning Su, Robert D. Austin, and Anand K. Sundaram

Many companies are unable to consistently gain business value from their investments in big data, artificial intelligence, and machine learning. A study of the data science functions and initiatives in three of India’s largest private-sector banks identifies five obstacles to successful data science projects and suggests remedies that can help companies obtain more benefit from their data science investments.

Why Good Arguments Make Better Strategy

Jesper B. Sørensen and Glenn R. Carroll

Sustainable success happens only for a set of logically interconnected reasons — what the authors call strategy arguments. They’ve developed a flexible system of three activities — constructive debate, iterative visualization, and logical formalization — to help leaders facilitate such arguments.

How to Combat Virtual Meeting Fatigue

Katie Kavanagh, Nicole Voss, Liana Kreamer, and Steven G. Rogelberg

Employee data shows that people find virtual meetings draining because of their scheduling and structure. Leaders can make meetings more effective and less fatiguing by incorporating feedback from their teams.

The Top 10 Findings on Resilience and Engagement

Marcus Buckingham

The ADP Research Institute conducted a global study of resilience and engagement levels across 25 countries in 2020 to help leaders become more engaged and resilient in their own lives and identify ways leaders can build engagement and resilience in their employees.

Why Good Leaders Fail

Morela Hernandez, Jasmien Khattab, and Charlotte Hoopes

It’s hard to understand why successful leaders suddenly fail to meet expectations — what the authors term leader derailment. While personalities are sometimes to blame, organizational context plays a significant role. Companies can help prevent derailment by identifying the most challenging demands leaders must overcome early on and providing them with better support systems.


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Phillip Jutras