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HBR IdeaCast podcast

HBR IdeaCast

A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.

A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.

 

#750

Lessons in Innovation from Bowie, Beyoncé, and More

Panos Panay, incoming co-president of the Recording Academy, which presents the Grammys, and R. Michael Hendrix, partner at the innovation consultancy IDEO, argue that the music world offers myriad lessons for anyone looking to improve their performance at work. They explain how strategies long used by musicians -- from egoless experimentation to gathering talented teams for creative collaboration -- can be applied directly to business. Panay and Hendrix are the authors of "Two Beats Ahead: What Musical Minds Teach Us About Innovation." ... Read more

20 Jul 2021

25 MINS

25:31

20 Jul 2021


#749

Stop Networking, Start Connecting

Susan McPherson, communications consultant, says many people feel strange reconnecting in person with colleagues after an extended period working in physical isolation. To help shake off the rust, she offers simple tips in a “Gather, Ask, Do” method. It's not just about networking, she says, but about finding simple connection points with others that can truly help you succeed. McPherson is the author of the book "The Lost Art of Connecting." ... Read more

13 Jul 2021

25 MINS

25:50

13 Jul 2021


#748

Best Buy’s Hubert Joly on Walking the Talk of Stakeholder Capitalism

Hubert Joly, former chairman and CEO of Best Buy, says that now is the time for companies to get serious about operating to benefit not just shareholders but also employees, customers and broader society. In the face of environmental crisis, racial turmoil, and rising economic inequality, he argues that leaders shouldn't debate whether or when to embrace this new version of capitalism. They should focus on how to do it. He says this starts with having a clear purpose and ensuring that everyone in the organization connects with it and one another. It also involves offering fair pay and opportunities for advancement and working with, not against, consumers, the community, the competition. He shares how these strategies helped turn Best Buy around despite the rise of Amazon. Joly is the author of the book “The Heart of Business: Leadership Principles for the Next Era of Capitalism” and the HBR article “How to Lead in the Stakeholder Era.” ... Read more

06 Jul 2021

27 MINS

27:20

06 Jul 2021


#747

Hybrid Work Is Here To Stay. Now What?

Nicholas Bloom, economics professor at Stanford University, has been studying remote work and hybrid (a mix of remote and onsite) work for years. Then the pandemic made these modes widespread and lasting. He says as more organizations turn to hybrid work, they face difficult logistical, strategic, and managerial challenges. Bloom shares a guideline to implementing hybrid work plans, and helps managers think through these arrangements while balancing fairness to employees and organizational needs. Bloom is the author of the HBR article “Don’t Let Employees Pick Their WFH Days.” ... Read more

29 Jun 2021

24 MINS

24:42

29 Jun 2021


#746

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 4

Suddenly powerless in Tokyo prison after his arrest, Carlos Ghosn plans an audacious escape and flees Japan while out on bail. Out of reach of Japanese authorities, the once celebrated CEO of Nissan and Renault defends his legacy as he faces new investigations by French and other authorities. This final episode of a special, four-part series features Ghosn himself and examines whether system failures contributed to his downfall. Who gave Carlos Ghosn such extraordinary power? What can we learn from his story? ... Read more

24 Jun 2021

34 MINS

34:18

24 Jun 2021


#745

What Anthropologists Can Teach Us About Work Culture

Greg Urban, anthropologist at the University of Pennsylvania, used to study indigenous tribes in Brazil. Now he hangs out in break rooms and boardrooms analyzing how people interact — and create and change culture — in organizations. He shares lessons and tips for managers to better understand and motivate their teams. Urban is the coauthor of the book "The Culture Puzzle: Harnessing the Forces that Drive Your Organization's Success." ... Read more

22 Jun 2021

23 MINS

23:55

22 Jun 2021


#744

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 3

A decade into Ghosn’s tenure, Nissan starts missing his goals for growth, profits, and electric vehicle sales. Then a devastating earthquake and tsunami in Japan and a self-made crisis at Renault in France test Ghosn’s leadership. Who is holding Ghosn accountable? This third episode of a four-part series explores the cracks that appear in Ghosn’s track record. ... Read more

17 Jun 2021

33 MINS

33:58

17 Jun 2021


#743

Former Washington Post Top Editor on Leading Through Change

Martin Baron, former executive editor of the Washington Post, managed the newsroom during a decade of incredible change and shifting views about the media and truth. Baron led his team through a tumultuous time, as they covered everything from the Trump presidency, to the covid pandemic, to the Black Lives Matter movement. Along the way, he learned some important lessons about managing a public-facing company while remaining true to its purpose and mission. He speaks with HBR editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius. ... Read more

15 Jun 2021

25 MINS

25:05

15 Jun 2021


#742

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 2

After Carlos Ghosn’s dramatic turnaround at Nissan, profits soar and Ghosnmania sweeps Japan. But signs of trouble emerge as Ghosn takes over as the CEO of both Renault and Nissan in 2005. Then Ghosn’s high pay creates controversy in Japan and France. This second episode of a four-part series explores Ghosn’s leadership style and how it contributes to his eventual downfall. ... Read more

10 Jun 2021

31 MINS

31:47

10 Jun 2021


#741

What Business Leaders Need to Know About China Now

Elsbeth Johnson, senior lecturer at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, and Rana Mitter, professor of history at Oxford, argue that there's a lot about the Chinese political system and economy that business leaders from elsewhere in the world still misunderstand. They argue that democracy and a free market system aren't always as tightly linked as we think, and that many people in China also live, work, and invest differently than Westerners do. Better understanding these dynamics will be the key to business success in the world's most populous country. Johnson and Mitter are the authors of the HBR article "What the West Gets Wrong About China." ... Read more

08 Jun 2021

26 MINS

26:12

08 Jun 2021


#740

The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn: Part 1

When Japan's most famous CEO is suddenly arrested, conflicts are revealed in the Renault-Nissan Alliance he led for two decades. Then Carlos Ghosn jumps bail by stowing away in a private jet to Lebanon. Ghosn's daring escape raises new questions about his alleged financial misconduct — and the corporate system that kept him in power. ... Read more

03 Jun 2021

31 MINS

31:13

03 Jun 2021


#739

How Leaders Can Encourage Imagination

Martin Reeves, managing director and senior partner at Boston Consulting Group’s Henderson Institute, has looked at how companies reinvent themselves to achieve success. And he has found that an essential ingredient in that process is imagination. It’s something we cultivate in children but rarely practice deliberately in the business world. He explains how to encourage and systematize imagination in your organization. Reeves is the coauthor of the new book The Imagination Machine: How to Spark New Ideas and Create Your Company's Future. ... Read more

01 Jun 2021

25 MINS

25:45

01 Jun 2021


#738

CEO Series: Ursula Burns on Leading with Authenticity at Xerox

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox from 2009 to 2016, rose from humble beginnings to become the first Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. In this interview with HBR editor-in-chief Adi Ignatius, she talks candidly about the frequent challenges and occasional advantages of being "the only" and explains why organizations needs to do a better job of promoting both economic and racial equality -- themes that also animate her new memoir, "Where You Are is Not Who You Are". ... Read more

27 May 2021

29 MINS

29:32

27 May 2021


#737

Why Smart People (Sometimes) Make Bad Decisions

Daniel Kahneman, Nobel Prize winner and emeritus professor at Princeton University, and Olivier Sibony, professor of strategy at HEC, say that bias isn't the only thing that prevents people and organizations from making good choices. We’re also susceptible to something they call "noise" - variability in calls made by otherwise interchangeable professionals and even by the same person at a different time or day. But the solution isn’t necessarily taking humans out of the equation with artificial intelligence. There are ways to combat noise, and leaders should take steps to do so. Kahneman and Sibony are the coauthors, along with Cass Sunstein, of the book "Noise: A Flaw In Human Judgment." ... Read more

25 May 2021

26 MINS

26:59

25 May 2021


#736

CEO Series: 23andMe’s Anne Wojcicki on Scientific Breakthroughs and Public Trust

Anne Wojcicki, CEO of 23andMe, spent a decade in healthcare and biotechnology before launching the DNA testing and analysis company in 2006. Her goal was twofold: to help individuals learn more about their own genetics, enabling them to pursue more personalized medical care, and to create a database of genetic information for commercial and academic researchers to promote broader improvements to the healthcare system. She speaks with HBR's Editor-in-Chief Adi Ignatius about tackling challenges in an emerging industry. ... Read more

20 May 2021

23 MINS

23:55

20 May 2021


#735

Understanding the Venture Capital Gender Gap

Jenny Lefcourt, partner at Freestyle VC and cofounder of All Raise, says that even as a serial entrepreneur herself, she long underestimated how little venture capital funding goes to female startup founders compared to the money men get. She believes unconscious biases, an industry built on intuition, and historical dynamics all contribute to this inequity. They also affect the low numbers of women in decision-making roles at VC firms. Lefcourt explains the ways the industry can actively reduce this gap. ... Read more

18 May 2021

23 MINS

23:14

18 May 2021


#734

CEO Series: Mastercard’s Ajay Banga on Promoting Financial Inclusion

Ajay Banga, the executive chairman and former CEO of Mastercard, has spearheaded a strategy focused on serving the previously unbanked via new technologies. During his 11-year tenure as president and chief executive, the company tripled revenues, increased net income six-fold, and saw its market cap rise from below $30 billion to more than $300 billion. He attributes this growth to setting ambitious goals, planning for the long term, and ensuring that all employees and customers feel valued. ... Read more

13 May 2021

28 MINS

28:37

13 May 2021


#733

How To Talk Yourself Up (Without Turning People Off)

Leslie John, associate professor at Harvard Business School, has done some deep research into the ways that people self-promote in their professional lives and identified what works and what doesn't. She says it is possible tout your own accomplishments without annoying your colleagues, if you do it at the right time or enlist others to boast on your behalf. She notes that many common workarounds -- such as humblebragging -- are highly ineffective and advises people to not only look for more natural opportunities to self-promote but also try to present balanced views of themselves. She's full of tips you can put to work, even in virtual settings. John is the author of the HBR article "Savvy Self-Promotion." ... Read more

11 May 2021

25 MINS

25:19

11 May 2021


#732

CEO Series: Mary Barra of General Motors on Committing to an Eco-Friendly Future

Mary Barra, chair and CEO of General Motors, says that electric vehicles are the future for the company and the automobile industry. GM has said it will phase out vehicles using internal combustion engines by 2035 and go carbon neutral at all of its facilities. Barra describes how she's executing on that plan as well as offering broader leadership lessons in an interview with HBR editor Amy Bernstein. ... Read more

06 May 2021

23 MINS

23:19

06 May 2021


#731

How Tech Adoption Fuels China’s Innovation Boom

Zak Dychtwald, founder of the advisory firm Young China Group, believes that the perception of China as a copycat and not an innovator is outdated. Instead, he argues the willingness of Chinese consumers to try new things is powering the country’s new innovation economy. Technology adoption rates in areas such as mobile payment are extremely high. He says non-Chinese companies can learn important lessons from this rapidly changing market and potentially use it to jump-start their own innovation engines. Dychtwald is the author of the HBR article "China’s New Innovation Advantage." ... Read more

04 May 2021

25 MINS

25:06

04 May 2021


#730

Quit Overthinking Things

Ethan Kross, professor of psychology at the University of Michigan, has spent years studying how people talk to themselves and the effect that this "chatter" has on our performance. From professional athletes to top students and senior executives, even the most talented among us sometimes struggle to quiet the voices in our heads. And Kross says that, while some self-talk can help us, it's often unproductive. He offers tips and tricks to break out of negative thinking and get back on track, especially at work. He's the author of the book “Chatter: The Voice in Our Head, Why it Matters, and How to Harness It.” ... Read more

27 Apr 2021

25 MINS

25:36

27 Apr 2021


#729

Streamlining Your Company’s Strategy

Felix Oberholzer-Gee, professor at Harvard Business School, says many organizations spend so much energy on strategy that it overwhelms with conflicting priorities. Instead, he argues companies should simplify and focus on two value drivers: customer satisfaction and employee satisfaction. By aligning strategic initiatives on these alone, leaders make their workers’ jobs less complicated and also improve customer experiences. Oberholzer-Gee is the author of the HBR article “Eliminate Strategic Overload” as well as the new book "Better, Simpler Strategy: A Value-Based Guide to Exceptional Performance." ... Read more

20 Apr 2021

26 MINS

26:23

20 Apr 2021


#728

The Career Rules You Didn’t Learn at School

Gorick Ng, career advisor at Harvard, tried to learn about the world of work at an early age, helping his mother search job listings and send out resumes. To launch his own career, he studied hard in school, secured an Ivy League education, and landed a plum job. But he still found himself struggling - as many first-generation college graduates do - because he didn’t understand workplace norms in the way that his (mostly white, middle- to upper-class) peers did. While they'd been taught how to network, angle for promotions, and "speak the language," he was left to figure it out on his own. Now, Ng counsels young people on how to avoid those mistakes and take on their first job in a way that puts them on the fast-track to success. He's the author of the book "The Unspoken Rules: Secrets to Starting Your Career Off Right." ... Read more

13 Apr 2021

26 MINS

26:01

13 Apr 2021


#727

How the Creative Economy is Changing with Covid-19

Scott Belsky, chief product officer at Adobe, says that creative workers are a bigger part of the economy than ever, thanks to new technologies, more gig work, and shifting norms following the pandemic. He recommends that leaders at all companies — not just those in traditionally creative fields — understand this key component of value creation today. He explains how companies can make themselves more competitive by making themselves more attractive to the likes of designers, writers, and artists. ... Read more

06 Apr 2021

24 MINS

24:03

06 Apr 2021


#726

Building a Company While Battling Depression

Melissa Bernstein, cofounder of the toy company Melissa & Doug, spent decades hiding her struggles with depression even as she launched and led a booming business focused on bringing joy to children and raised six of her own. She finally opened up to her family, colleagues, and the public and recently launched an organization to give people better tools to discuss and manage their mental health. Bernstein explains what managers and organizations can do to help workers facing depression and other illnesses. She’s the author of the book LifeLines: An Inspirational Journey from Profound Darkness to Radiant Light. ... Read more

30 Mar 2021

25 MINS

25:50

30 Mar 2021


#725

The Competitive Advantage of an Offboarding Program

Alison Dachner, management professor at John Carroll University, and Erin Makarius, management professor at the University of Akron, say that an organization can become more competitive by implementing a stronger offboarding process. Their research shows that similar to the way universities maintain alumni networks, an offboarding strategy keeps former employees networked, which leads to more employee referrals, new business, expert consulting, or even re-employment. Dachner and Makarius wrote the HBR article "Turn Departing Employees into Loyal Alumni." ... Read more

23 Mar 2021

23 MINS

23:18

23 Mar 2021


#724

Workplace Design, Post-Pandemic

Anne-Laure Fayard, associate professor at NYU’s Tandon School of Engineering, was studying the effects of workplace design on employees long before the Covid-19 crisis. Now, she says, the trend of flexible schedules and hybrid offices - where some people come in, others work from home, and many do both - is here to stay. This means that businesses need to reimagine offices as places built less for individual knowledge work than for learning, collaboration, and culture-building. Fayard is the coauthor of the HBR article "Designing the Hybrid Office." ... Read more

16 Mar 2021

24 MINS

24:44

16 Mar 2021


#723

New Recruiting Strategies for a Post-Covid World

Lauren Smith, vice president at Gartner Research, says the pandemic is accelerating several key recruitment trends. She led a survey of thousands of job candidates and hiring managers that details the shift to virtual interviews, but also identifies other ongoing transitions that may be more important. The research points to three main trends to manage: a rapid turnover of necessary skills, the need to expand beyond existing talent pools, and the competitiveness that comes from offering an "employee value proposition." Even as more people return to in-person work, Smith argues, these trends will continue. Learn more about Gartner’s research in the HBR article "Reengineering the Recruitment Process." ... Read more

09 Mar 2021

23 MINS

23:04

09 Mar 2021


#722

What Black Leaders Bring to the Table

Chad Sanders, a former tech executive and entrepreneur, says that people of color, especially Black men like him, often feel the need to assimilate to white corporate culture. They learn to code switch and downplay their race. But Sanders realized a few years into his career that, by trying to fit in, he was failing to leverage the strengths he'd developed growing up as a minority in the United States. After digging into the stories of successful Black leaders, he discovered some common threads to their leadership styles, including empathy, resilience and creative thinking, and he has advice for rising Black executives who want to put those attributes to work as well as the organizations who employ them. Sanders is the author of "Black Magic: What Black Leaders Learned from Trauma and Triumph." ... Read more

02 Mar 2021

27 MINS

27:19

02 Mar 2021


#721

How CEOs Can Drive Sales — or Kill Deals

Christoph Senn, marketing professor at INSEAD, has spent years studying how top executives involve themselves in B2B sales. Some are very hands-off. Others make only social calls. Still others sit at the negotiating table. Outcomes vary widely. Senn explains the best combination of approaches for top executives engaging with core customers. And he shares how account managers and other employees can benefit from knowing their leader’s style. Senn is the coauthor, with Columbia Business School's Noel Capon, of the HBR article "When CEOs Make Sales Calls." ... Read more

23 Feb 2021

25 MINS

25:02

23 Feb 2021