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Synopsis

A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management from Harvard Business Review.

Episodes

  • Staying Agile Beyond a Crisis

    Staying Agile Beyond a Crisis

    26/05/2020 Duration: 25min

    Darrell Rigby, partner at Bain & Company, says many firms have rapidly adopted agile principles to react to the coronavirus crisis. Namely, they’ve been ditching bureaucratic planning processes and instead fast-tracking ideas, holding focused meetings, and empowering decisions at lower levels of the organization. He argues that C-suite leaders should keep this newfound organizational nimbleness for good and explains how they can. With Sarah Elk and Steve Berez, Rigby wrote the HBR article “The Agile C-Suite” and the new book Doing Agile Right: Transformation Without Chaos.

  • Smarter Side Gigs

    Smarter Side Gigs

    19/05/2020 Duration: 27min

    Ken Banta, founder of the Vanguard Network, and Orlan Boston, partner at Ernst & Young, argue that every aspiring leader needs to have a side gig -- not to pursue a crazy dream or earn some extra cash but to enhance their skills, knowledge, and network in a way that benefits their existing careers. The key is to find meaningful and strategic roles that help you bring new insights and experience to your day job, and you can even let your boss in on your plans. Banta and Boston are the authors of the HBR article "The Strategic Side Gig."

  • To Build Strategy, Start with the Future

    To Build Strategy, Start with the Future

    12/05/2020 Duration: 25min

    Mark Johnson, cofounder of the consulting firm Innosight, says that too many managers develop strategy while focusing on problems in the present, and that’s especially true during a crisis. Instead, he argues, leaders should imagine the future and work backward, so they can build their organization for that new reality. He shares practical steps managers can take to look beyond the typical short-term planning horizon and help their teams grasp future opportunities. Johnson is the coauthor of the HBR article "Leaders, Do You Have a Clear Vision for the Post-Crisis Future?" and the book "Lead from the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking into Breakthrough Growth."

  • How Marketers Can Drive Social Change and Profits

    How Marketers Can Drive Social Change and Profits

    05/05/2020 Duration: 25min

    Myriam Sidibe, senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, says that brands are uniquely positioned to encourage shifts in consumer behavior that benefit individuals, communities, and the environment. A public health expert, she has studied these types of mission-led marketing campaigns and helped Unilever design one for Lifebuoy soap that not only promoted hand-washing in the developing world but also boosted the business's bottom line. She explains how companies of any size can find the right causes, craft authentic messages, and measure the return on their investments, adding that the current pandemic and economic crisis have made this work even more important. Sidibe is the author of the HBR article "Marketing Meets Mission."

  • Digital Transformation, One Discovery at a Time

    Digital Transformation, One Discovery at a Time

    28/04/2020 Duration: 21min

    Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School, says the need for organizations to adopt digital business models is more important than ever. Change is accelerating as startups tackle incumbents. And suddenly the coronavirus crisis is forcing the hand of many companies that have put off digital transformations. She explains how established firms can avoid bet-the-farm moves and instead take small steps and quickly target their experiments. McGrath is the coauthor of the HBR article "Discovery-Driven Digital Transformation."

  • Another Workplace Crisis: Loneliness

    Another Workplace Crisis: Loneliness

    21/04/2020 Duration: 27min

    Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General, says that, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were facing another health crisis: loneliness. Studies show that, around the world, more people have been feeling a greater sense of social isolation, which has many negative affects, including increased blood pressure, reduced immune response, and decreased engagement and productivity at work. But organizations can be a place where people find a greater sense of belonging. Murthy wants us to take loneliness more seriously and focus on fostering the types of authentic connections -- face-to-face and virtual -- that we need to combat it. He's the author of the book "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World."

  • Managing Crises in the Short and Long Term

    Managing Crises in the Short and Long Term

    14/04/2020 Duration: 27min

    Eric McNulty, associate director of Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, studies how managers successfully lead their companies through crises such as the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Boston Marathon terror attack. He identifies the common traps that leaders fall into and shares how the best ones excel by thinking longer-term and trusting their teams with operational details. He also finds that companies that put people ahead of the bottom line tend to weather these storms better. McNulty is a coauthor of the book “You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most” and the HBR article “Are You Leading Through Crisis… Or Managing the Response?”

  • How Entrepreneurs Succeed Outside Silicon Valley

    How Entrepreneurs Succeed Outside Silicon Valley

    07/04/2020 Duration: 26min

    Alex Lazarow, venture capitalist at Cathay Innovation, says that start-ups in cities around the U.S. and the world are creating their own rules for success. While Silicon Valley companies have sparked key innovations and generated huge wealth over the past few decades, not everyone should use them as a model going forward. In fact, we can learn more from frontier entrepreneurs, who are thinking more creatively about raising capital, sourcing talent, and pursuing social impact. Lazarow is the author of the book "Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley."

  • Working Parents, Let Go of the Idea of Balance

    Working Parents, Let Go of the Idea of Balance

    31/03/2020 Duration: 26min

    Stewart Friedman, organizational psychologist at The Wharton School, and Alyssa Westring, associate professor at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business, say it’s a mistake for a working parent to think of career and home life as competing interests that have to be balanced. Their research shows how many leadership skills apply to parenting, and vice versa. The professors explain how individuals can stop making tradeoffs and instead find sustainable ways to advance their careers and also parent more effectively. Friedman and Westring are the authors of the book "Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life."

  • Real Leaders: Oprah Winfrey and the Power of Empathy

    Real Leaders: Oprah Winfrey and the Power of Empathy

    26/03/2020 Duration: 29min

    In 1976, broadcast journalist Oprah Winfrey moved to Baltimore to coanchor the evening newscast at a local TV station. But she struggled in that spot and was moved to the morning talk show. That demotion led Winfrey to discover a professional calling that aligned with her personal sensibilities and emerging strengths. In the final episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn trace Winfrey’s career as an entrepreneur and leader of a media empire. They discover lessons on how to cultivate self-awareness, cross traditional boundaries, and responsibly wield influence.

  • Adjusting to Remote Work During the Coronavirus Crisis

    Adjusting to Remote Work During the Coronavirus Crisis

    24/03/2020 Duration: 27min

    Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School, says that there are simple ways leaders can help their employees stay productive, focused, and psychologically healthy as they work from home during the current global pandemic. The right technology tools and clear and constant communication are more important than ever. She recommends that managers do an official remote-work launch, carefully plan and facilitate virtual meetings, and pay extra attention to workers' behavior. For individual contributors, it's critical to maintain a routine but also embrace flexibility, especially if you're in the house with family.

  • Real Leaders: Abraham Lincoln and the Power of Emotional Discipline

    Real Leaders: Abraham Lincoln and the Power of Emotional Discipline

    19/03/2020 Duration: 27min

    In 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote a scathing letter to his top Union general, who had squandered a chance to end the Civil War. Then Lincoln folded it up and tucked it away in his desk. He never sent it. Lincoln understood that the first action that comes to mind is often counter-productive. In the third episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn explore Lincoln’s career both before and during America’s greatest crisis. They discover lessons on how to learn continuously, communicate values, and exercise emotional self-control.

  • Square’s Cofounder on Discovering — and Defending — Innovations

    Square’s Cofounder on Discovering — and Defending — Innovations

    17/03/2020 Duration: 27min

    Jim McKelvey, entrepreneur and cofounder of Square, says that most companies that think of themselves as innovative are really just copycats. True innovation, he argues, is about fearlessly exploring novel solutions and dramatically expanding markets. Doing so also helps startups defend their innovations against industry giants, as Square did against Amazon. McKelvey is the author of the book “The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time.”

  • Real Leaders: Rachel Carson Seeds the Environmental Movement

    Real Leaders: Rachel Carson Seeds the Environmental Movement

    12/03/2020 Duration: 25min

    In 1958, writer Rachel Carson began her exhaustive research on the effects of widespread pesticide use for her next book, Silent Spring. Over the next four years, she built up an airtight case showing how the world’s most powerful chemical companies were harming animals, plants, and people. Her effort was also a race against time, as she struggled against an aggressive form of breast cancer. In the second episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn trace the modern environmental movement back to Carson’s pioneering reporting and powerful prose. They discover lessons in how to strengthen your resilience, gather your energy and skills for a coming challenge, and why caretaking is an act of leadership.

  • Why Capitalists Need to Save Democracy

    Why Capitalists Need to Save Democracy

    10/03/2020 Duration: 27min

    Rebecca Henderson, professor at Harvard Business School, says that both capitalism and democracy are failing us. She argues that it will take public and private leaders working together to simultaneously fix these two systems because free markets don't function well without free politics and healthy government needs corporate support to survive. She is calling on the business community to take the first step. Henderson is the author of the upcoming book "Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire." And the March Big Idea article, "The Business Case for Saving Democracy."

  • Real Leaders: Ernest Shackleton Leads a Harrowing Expedition

    Real Leaders: Ernest Shackleton Leads a Harrowing Expedition

    05/03/2020 Duration: 30min

    In 1915, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship became trapped in ice, north of Antarctica. For the next two years, he kept his crew of 27 men alive on a drifting ice cap, then led them in their escape. How Shackleton did that has become one of the most famous leadership case studies. In the first episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn analyze Shackleton’s leadership during the struggle to survive. They discover lessons in building a team, learning from bad bosses, and cultivating empathy.

  • How Workplaces — Not Women — Need to Change to Improve Equality

    How Workplaces — Not Women — Need to Change to Improve Equality

    03/03/2020 Duration: 20min

    Michelle King, director of inclusion at Netflix, says it’s time to stop telling women to adapt to the male-dominated workplace and time for the workplace itself to change. Her prior academic research shows that diversity training and anti-harassment efforts address important issues but fall short of creating gender equality in organizations. She identifies the real obstacles and shares how leaders can create a culture of equality at work, for women and men alike. King is the author of the book "The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work.”

  • Rules for Effective Hiring — and Firing

    Rules for Effective Hiring — and Firing

    25/02/2020 Duration: 24min

    Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways, has spent a career leading teams, building businesses, and managing people at every level. Along the way, he's learned valuable lessons about the best ways to bring on new talent – as well as when and how to let people go. He also teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the author of the book “Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff.”

  • Defining Radical Candor – and How to Do It

    Defining Radical Candor – and How to Do It

    18/02/2020 Duration: 25min

    Kim Scott, a cofounder of the executive coaching firm Radical Candor, says that too many managers give meaningless positive feedback, while many others are highly critical without showing any understanding. Scott, who previously worked at Google and has consulted for Twitter and Dropbox, says leaders should learn to give honest feedback in the moment, while also developing a relationship that shows how the hard feedback is coming from a place of caring. She explains the steps managers can take to challenge more directly while also communicating empathy. Scott is the author of the book "Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity."

  • How People Succeed By Defying Expectations

    How People Succeed By Defying Expectations

    11/02/2020 Duration: 24min

    Laura Huang, associate professor at Harvard Business School, has studied groups that face bias in the workplace, from entrepreneurs with accents to women and people of color. She says that the best way for individuals to overcome this type of adversity is to acknowledge and harness it, so it plays to their advantage instead of holding them back. Start by recognizing your outsider status and the preconceived notions others might have about you, then surprise them by showing how you defy their expectations and can offer unique value. Huang is the author of the book "Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage."

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