The Top MIT SMR Articles of 2019

This year’s most popular articles show that continuous learning, responsiveness, and adaptability are important qualities for organizations to embrace in the future of work.

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As we head into the final days of 2019, it’s a good time to look back at the research, perspectives, and insights that resonated most deeply with readers this year, with our collection of most-read articles. What does this collection say about how our readers are thinking about business challenges and the practice of management?

For one thing, the diversity of topics and ideas reflects how modern leaders must embrace change and fast-paced innovation but also offer stability and support to their teams and employees who are navigating their way in the new world of work. Continuous learning, responsiveness, and adaptability stand out as key themes in the collected works from this year. By embracing these characteristics, leaders and organizations can help champion their employees and meet the goals of tomorrow.

1. The Surprising Value of Obvious Insights

Findings don’t have to be earth-shattering to be useful. Confirming what people already believe can help organizations overcome barriers to change.

2. A Structured Approach to Strategic Decisions

Reducing errors in judgment requires a disciplined process. The authors provide leaders with a framework that is easy to learn, involves little additional work, and (within limits) leaves room for their own intuition.

3. Nondisruptive Creation: Rethinking Innovation and Growth

It’s time to embrace the idea that companies can create without destroying — and expand the conversation about the problems they can solve and the opportunities they can seize.

4. Leisure Is Our Killer App

Beyond reducing burnout, leisure is a uniquely human activity that robots cannot perform, and it might actually make us better thinkers and workers.

5. Agile Is Not Enough

Three impediments, in particular, work against agile adoption in most organizations. By addressing architectural rigidity, closing talent gaps, and adopting a product mindset, leaders and companies can realize agile’s power in delivering business value.

6. Learning for a Living

Employers and managers can better support learning, and individuals can do it more effectively, by understanding that there are two types of learning and that each needs its own space.

7. Beat the Odds in M&A Turnarounds

It’s tough to create value by buying and fixing troubled businesses. Six actions can improve your chances of success.

8. The World in 2030: Nine Megatrends to Watch

From demographics to urbanization to the big one — climate change — the directions we’re heading and the choices we make in the next decade will have enormous impacts on our careers, businesses, and lives.

9. The Magic That Makes Customer Experiences Stick

Customers want their choices to align as much with their feelings and senses as with their values and ethics. The rational approaches taught at most business schools — offer more value for money, add features, make service more efficient — are not enough.

10. How to Become a Strategic Leader

By investing more time in three key activities, new and experienced managers alike can become better strategic leaders.

11. Why Great Leaders Focus On Mastering Relationships

In today’s digital economy, leaders must address leadership challenges with a renewed focus on relationship building to achieve sustainable success.

12. Building Digital-Ready Culture in Traditional Organizations

For legacy companies, culture change is often the biggest challenge of digital transformation. How can they become more agile and innovative without alienating their best employees or wrecking their best existing practices? This article provides a framework for leaders in any industry.


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