Leadership

Leading in a Time of Increased Expectations

  • Interview
  • Read Time: 17 min 

Traditionally, big energy companies focused primarily on power generation, not customer-centricity. But that’s changing — and today’s digitally empowered customers have opinions about everything from where their energy should come from to when their bills should arrive. Lynn Good, CEO of Duke Energy Corp., reflects on guiding her company through this transformation.

Give Technical Experts a Role in Defining Project Success

Poor communication between managers and technical experts is an obstacle to technology innovation that literally has been present for centuries. To overcome these issues, leaders need to absorb three key lessons about how to manage the inherent tensions between defining technical requirements and achieving valuable business outcomes.

What the Military Can Teach Organizations About Agility

  • Blog
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Once bastions of command-and-control management style, U.S. military institutions have moved to the forefront of organizational and leadership agility. Today’s military leadership emphasizes efficient movement through four decision cycles — observe, orient, decide, and act — to speed up its response to external threats. It’s also investing significant resources to become more agile and experimenting with innovative solutions.

Don’t Get Caught in the Middle

There was once a time when middlemen were indispensable. Intermediaries facilitated transactions between makers and buyers; they closed the gaps between disconnected entities that required one another for survival; and, within organizations, they interpreted high-level corporate strategy and connected it to front-line execution. But one by one, such intermediaries are being made obsolete by technology.

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AI in the Boardroom: The Next Realm of Corporate Governance

Business has become too complex for boards and CEOs to make good decisions without intelligent systems. Just as artificial intelligence helps doctors use patient data to make better diagnoses and create individualized medical solutions, AI can help business leaders know more precisely which strategy and investments will provide exponential growth and value in an increasingly competitive marketplace.

Putting an End to Leaders’ Self-Serving Behavior

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 5 min 

Business leaders are often selfish. They honestly think they are entitled to more resources than anyone else, and that they have earned the right to take more. Their self-serving behavior is usually enabled by their organizations. But three strategies can help: Organizations can choose leaders who tilt away from self-serving frameworks; create systems that reinforce fairer evaluations; and recognize the added complexities that arise on the global stage.

Don’t Confuse Digital With Digitization

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 6 min 

“Becoming digital” is a totally different exercise from digitizing. Digitization involves standardizing business processes and is an important enabler of digital, but digitization on its own won’t make a business a digital company. Instead, a digital transformation involves rethinking a company’s value proposition. To become digital and pursue a digital vision, companies must embrace information-enriched customer solutions delivered as a seamless, personalized customer experience.

Turning Strategy Into Results

  • Research Feature
  • Read Time: 14 min 

Businesses develop strategies to address complex, multi-layered business environments and challenges — but to execute a strategy in a meaningful way, it must produce a set of specific priorities focused on achieving clear goals. Rather than trying to boil the strategy down to a pithy statement, executives will get better results if they develop a small set of actions that everyone gets behind.

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Leading Analytics Teams in Changing Times

Analytics teams are often underfunded, misunderstood, and starved for talent. Extracting business value from data depends on nurturing the development and effectiveness of these teams — not just in terms of finding talent, but also in terms of getting leaders up to speed on how to use the insights analytics teams produce.

The Case Against Agility

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 6 min 

Leaders today must wean their companies away from three pieces of conventional wisdom about digital strategy: agility, first-mover advantage, and minimum viable product. These ideas have anchored technological decision-making for over a decade but are highly unsuitable for the emerging world. In conditions of environmental uncertainty and interconnected technology, we need more thoughtfulness rather than more speed.

Five Management Strategies for Getting the Most From AI

A global survey by the McKinsey Global Institute finds that AI is delivering real value to companies that use it across operations. C-level executives report that when they adopt AI at scale — meaning they deploy AI across technology groups, use AI in the most core parts of their value chains, and have the full support of their executive leadership — they are finding not just cost-cutting opportunities, but new potential for business growth, too.

Moving Beyond the Silicon Valley State of Mind

In his new book Sensemaking, a polemic defending the need for the liberal arts in business, Christian Madsbjerg, the founder of strategic consultancy nReD Associates, argues that leaders shouldn’t try to know everything. Instead, they should try to make sense of something.

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Six Reasons Why Companies Should Start Sharing Their Long-Term Thinking With Investors

Most CEOs have detailed long-term plans, which are often closely held secrets out of concern that competitive advantage may be undermined by detailed disclosure. Yet disclosing a long-term plan provides an opportunity to identify financially material sustainability issues and demonstrate how the company manages business-critical issues — information that’s valuable to investors.

Who’s Building the Infrastructure for Lifelong Learning?

  • Column

  • Column
  • Read Time: 7 min 

Current trends in both human longevity and technological innovation raise the possibility of people living until 100 and working until they are 80. It’s clear that much will have to change — both in how people understand and anticipate the evolving nature of work, and how they then respond. Providing access to lifelong learning demands a complex system involving stakeholders in education, government, and the corporate world.

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