Summary: A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.
Eugene Soltes, associate professor at Harvard Business School, studies white-collar crime and has even interviewed convicts behind bars. While most people think of high-profile scandals like Enron, he says every sizable organization has lapses in integrity. He shares practical tools for managers to identify pockets of ethical violations to prevent them from ballooning into serious reputational and financial damage. Soltes is the author of the HBR article “Where Is Your Company Most Prone to Lapses in Integrity?”
Peter Cappelli, professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and director of its Center for Human Resources, says managers at companies large and small are doing hiring all wrong. A confluence of changes, from the onslaught of online tools to a rise in recruitment outsourcing, have promised more efficiency but actually made us less effective at finding the best candidates. Cappelli says there are better, simpler ways to measure whether someone will be a good employee and advises companies to focus more on internal talent. He's the author of the HBR article "Your Approach to Hiring is All Wrong."
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the founder of the Center for Talent Innovation, has studied the difference between mentoring and sponsorship and what leaders have to gain from the latter. She says it's important to seek out protégés who outperform, are exceptionally trustworthy, and, most importantly, offer skills, knowledge, and perspectives that differ from your own, so you can maximize the benefits for both parties. Hewlett brings real-world lessons from several successful pairings and tips on how to effectively launch and manage these long-term relationships. She's the author of the book "The Sponsor Effect: How to Be a Better Leader by Investing in Others."
Nathan Furr, assistant professor of strategy at INSEAD, researches what makes great innovative leaders, and he reveals how they develop and spend “innovation capital.” Like social or political capital, it’s a power to motivate employees, win the buy-in of stakeholders, and sell breakthrough products. Furr argues that innovation capital is something everyone can develop and grow by using something he calls impression amplifiers. Furr is the coauthor of the book “Innovation Capital: How to Compete--and Win--Like the World's Most Innovative Leaders.”
Scott Kupor, managing partner at Andreessen Horowitz, says there's a lot about navigating the venture capital world that entrepreneurs don't understand. Some can't figure out how to get in the door. Others fail to deliver persuasive pitches. Many don't know how the deals and relationships really work. Kupor outlines what he and his partners look for in founding teams and business ideas and explains how start-ups work with VCs to become successful companies. He also discusses how Silicon Valley can do a better job of finding more diverse talent and funding new types of ventures. Kupor is the author of the book "Secrets of Sand Hill Road: Venture Capital and How to Get It."
Sinéad O'Sullivan, entrepreneurship fellow at Harvard Business School, discusses how space is much more important to modern business than most people realize. It plays a role in making food, pricing insurance, and steering self-driving cars. While moonshot projects from SpaceX to Blue Origin drive headlines, the Earth-facing space economy is booming thanks to plummeting costs of entry. As tech companies large and small compete to launch thousands of satellites, O'Sullivan says we are actually running out of space in space.
Robert Eccles, a visiting professor of management practice at Saïd Business School at the University of Oxford, says that the global investment community's interest in environmental, social, and governance (ESG) issues has finally reached a tipping point. Large asset management firms and pensions funds are now pressuring corporate leaders to improve sustainability practices in material ways that both benefit their firms' bottom line and create broader impact. They're also advocating for more uniform metrics and industry standards. Eccles is the author of the HBR article “The Investor Revolution."
Adam Grant, organizational psychologist at The Wharton School, argues that individuals and companies alike can benefit from having rivals. He has studied sports and business rivalries and believes they often add up to more than just zero-sum competition. Grant explains how we can perform and even feel better by taking the risk of treating our rivals more like competitive friends.
Joseph Fuller, professor at Harvard Business School, says that the story we hear about workers being afraid for the future of their jobs might not be right. In surveying 11,000 people in lower-income and middle-skills jobs and 6,500 managers across 11 countries, Fuller discovered that, contrary to what bosses believe, many employees are excited about new technologies and willing to be trained in new skills. But they don't always know what they need to learn or how to access and pay for it. Organizations can do a better job of identifying the skills gaps they have or will soon face and using their existing workforces to fill them. Fuller's project is a joint venture between the HBS Project on Managing the Future of Work and the Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute. He's a co-author of the HBR article “Your Workforce is More Adaptable Than You Think."
Harvard Business School's Brian Kenny is joined by professors to distill the school's legendary case studies into podcast form, giving listeners important takeaways they can use in their own businesses and careers. In this episode, Harvard Business School professors Leslie John and Mitch Weiss discuss a case on the city of Toronto, and how it is experimenting with various smart city ideas born of the Google spin-off Sidewalk Labs. "Cold Call" is part of HBR Presents, a new network of business podcasts curated by HBR editors. For our full lineup of shows, search “HBR” on your favorite podcast app or visit hbr.org/podcasts.
Kimberly Whitler, assistant professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, believes the days of transplanting well-worn Western marketing practices into national markets may be numbered. She has researched marketing campaigns in China and finds they are faster, cheaper, and often more effective than traditional Western ones. Moreover, she argues they may be better suited to today’s global marketplace. Whitler is the author of the HBR article “What Western Marketers Can Learn from China.”
Patrick McGinnis, creator of the term FOMO, engages business leaders, entrepreneurs, politicians and more about the paths they’ve taken in life – and what they’ve let go of. In this episode, he speaks with Zola CEO Shan-Lyn Ma and Female Founders Fund founder Anu Duggal about how women are driving diversity in the start-up world. "FOMO Sapiens with Patrick J. McGinnis" is part of HBR Presents, a new network of business podcasts curated by HBR editors. For our full lineup of shows, search “HBR” on your favorite podcast app or visit hbr.org/podcasts.
Marcus Buckingham, head of people and performance research at the ADP Research Institute, and Ashley Goodall, senior vice president of leadership and team intelligence at Cisco Systems, say that managers and organizations are overestimating the importance of critical feedback. They argue that, in focusing our efforts on correcting weaknesses and rounding people out, we lose the ability to get exceptional performance from them. Instead, we should focus on strengths and push everyone to shine in their own areas. To do that, companies need to rethink the way they review, pay, and promote their employees. Buckingham and Goodall are the authors of the book "Nine Lies About Work: A Freethinking Leader's Guide to the Real World" and the HBR article "The Feedback Fallacy."
Entrepreneur, investor, and podcast host Azeem Azhar looks at some of the biggest issues at the intersection of technology and society, with a focus this season on artificial intelligence. In this episode, he speaks with University of Bath professor Joanna Bryson on the kind of professional and ethical standards that need to be put in place as AI continues to grow as an industry. "Exponential View with Azeem Azhar" is part of HBR Presents, a new network of business podcasts curated by HBR editors. For our full lineup of shows, search “HBR” on your favorite podcast app or visit hbr.org/podcasts.
Sydney Finkelstein, professor at the Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth College, says that being the most knowledgeable and experienced person on your team isn't always a good thing. Expertise can steer you wrong in two important ways. It can stop you from being curious about new developments in your field. And it can make you overconfident about your ability to solve problems in different areas. He says that, to be effective leaders, we need to be more aware of these traps and seek out ways to become more humble and open-minded. Finkelstein is the author of the HBR article "Don't Be Blinded By Your Own Expertise."