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.

 

#650

Rethinking Growth at All Costs

Many companies, especially in the tech world, have come to embrace the idea of growth at all costs. But according to research from Gary Pisano, professor at Harvard Business School, most firms fail to consistently increase revenues and profits over the long term, adjusting for inflation. He says that it’s important for leaders to think more strategically about not just the rate of growth they want to achieve but the direction they want to grow in and their method for doing so. Trying to grow too fast can be the downfall of many organizations. He shares examples of companies that have fallen into this trap, as well as those getting the balance right.  Pisano wrote the HBR article "How Fast Should Your Company Really Grow?" ... Read more

6 hrs Ago

28 MINS

28:35

6 hrs Ago


#649

Companies Can Win by Reducing Overwork

Organizations regularly reward devoted workers who put in long hours. At the same time, “always-on” communication spurred by the pandemic and new digital tools encourage workaholism. But research shows that it’s not just individuals who are harmed by overworking. Their employers are, too. Malissa Clark, associate professor and head of the Healthy Work Lab at the University of Georgia, explains how companies unwittingly create a workaholic culture — one that ultimately backfires with higher turnover and disengaged employees. She shares what companies can easily do to change that. Clark wrote the new book Never Not Working: Why the Always-On Culture Is Bad for Business--and How to Fix It. ... Read more

20 Feb 2024

26 MINS

26:45

20 Feb 2024


#648

When Should Companies Weigh in on Contentious Issues?

In a globally connected and highly politicized world, organizations are increasingly expected to comment on social, political, and environmental issues. But taking a stance doesn't always make business sense and can backfire when employees or consumers see a disconnect between leaders’ words and actions. Alison Taylor, associate professor at New York University, says there's a better way to make decisions on corporate speech, which includes involving workers in the process. Taylor is the author of the HBR book Higher Ground: How Business Can Do the Right Thing in a Turbulent World and the HBR article “Corporate Advocacy in a Time of Social Outrage.” ... Read more

13 Feb 2024

29 MINS

29:43

13 Feb 2024


#647

Stuck on a Problem? Try Switching Up Your Approach

Many leaders confidently go about tackling challenges. After all, relying on their experience got them to where they are. But taking the same approach over and over again can actually hold you back. Sometimes you need to switch up your tactics to break through to the next level. Decision-making expert Cheryl Strauss Einhorn says the first step is to understand your personal problem-solving style. Then she explains a framework to assess the situation and select the best approach. Einhorn is founder and CEO of Decisive. She also wrote the book Problem Solver: Maximizing Your Strengths to Make Better Decisions and the HBR article “When Your Go-To Problem-Solving Approach Fails.” ... Read more

06 Feb 2024

25 MINS

25:54

06 Feb 2024


#646

How to Reduce the Friction that Hurts You — and Harness the Friction that Helps

Organizations too often subject their employees and customers to unnecessary friction that creates inefficiency and causes frustration. But, in some situations, friction can be a positive force, spurring more innovation and better decision-making. So how do you reduce the bad kind and embrace the good?  Stanford professors Bob Sutton and Huggy Rao have studied this problem for seven years and offer strategies for leaders at every level to help them recognize when friction is needed or not and then add or subtract accordingly. They share ample examples of people and companies getting it right. Sutton and Rao are the authors of The Friction Project: How Smart Leaders Make the Right Things Easier and the Wrong Things Harder, as well as the HBR article, "Rid Your Organization of Obstacles that Infuriate Everyone." ... Read more

30 Jan 2024

29 MINS

29:28

30 Jan 2024


#645

What the New Freelance Economy Means for Your Talent Strategy

The rapid pace of technological change is making a big impact on hiring. Some organizations are dynamically securing freelance workers through platform apps like Upwork and Freelancer. Other companies are investing heavily in work enabled by artificial intelligence. John Winsor and Jin Paik say these structural changes call for a reimagining of your talent strategy — one that is open to flexible, project-based work for talent inside or outside your organization — and they explain how to go about it. Winsor is the founder and chair of Open Assembly and an executive-in-residence at the Laboratory for Innovation Science at Harvard. Paik is a cofounder and managing partner at the AI consultancy Altruistic and a visiting research scientist at Harvard Business School. Together, they wrote the book Open Talent: Leveraging the Global Workforce to Solve Your Biggest Challenges and the HBR article "Do You Need an External Talent Cloud?" ... Read more

23 Jan 2024

30 MINS

30:11

23 Jan 2024


#644

Making Peace with Your Midlife, Mid-career Self

Research shows that happiness bottoms out for people in their mid to late 40s. We might struggle with mid-career slumps, caring for both children and aging parents, and existential questions about whether everything has turned out as we'd planned. But Chip Conley says we can approach this phase of our personal and profesional lives with a different perspective. He's a former hospitality industry CEO and founder of the Modern Elder Academy, and he explains how to reframe our thinking about middle age, find new energy, and become more fulfilled and successful people at work and home. Conley wrote the book Learning to Love Midlife: 12 Reasons Why Life Gets Better with Age. ... Read more

16 Jan 2024

29 MINS

29:27

16 Jan 2024


#643

Supercharge Your One-on-One Meetings

Most good bosses know that they should schedule regular one-on-ones with each of their team members. But fewer know exactly how to manage these meetings well, in part because organizations rarely offer relevant training. Steven Rogelberg, Chancellor's Professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, has spent years researching the best way to prepare for, structure, engage in, and follow up on one-on-ones. He says they're a key way to boost performance, and offers tips for ensuring that we all get more out of them. Rogelberg is author of the book Glad We Met: The Art and Science of 1:1 Meetings. ... Read more

09 Jan 2024

30 MINS

30:40

09 Jan 2024


#642

The Best Return-to-Office Policies Aren’t One-Size-Fits-All

A growing number of companies are mandating office time for employees and structuring hybrid work under broad, rigid rules. But pushing people into the office is a mistake, argues Kimberly Shells, a senior director in the Gartner HR practice. She shares research showing how much flexibility and autonomy and belonging workers want. And Shells says organizations can still foster those qualities in an in-person office culture that also improves productivity and collaboration. She explains that companies should follow through on a clear purpose and craft policies that allow for options, flexibility, offsite team-building events, and support services such as on-site childcare. Shells cowrote the HBR article “Return-to-Office Plans Don’t Have to Undermine Employee Autonomy.” ... Read more

02 Jan 2024

24 MINS

24:20

02 Jan 2024


#641

Best of IdeaCast: Behaviors of Successful CEOs

For the qualities that top-performing CEOs have in common, research shows some surprising results. It turns out that charisma, confidence, and pedigree all have little bearing on CEO success. Elena Botelho, partner at leadership advisory firm ghSMART and coleader of its CEO Genome Project, studied high performers in the corner office. The analysis found that they demonstrated four business behaviors: quick decision making, engaging for impact, adapting proactively, and delivering reliably. Botelho cowrote the HBR article “What Sets Successful CEOs Apart.” ... Read more

26 Dec 2023

27 MINS

27:32

26 Dec 2023


#640

Why More Companies Are Getting in on the Resale Game

For a long time, conventional wisdom ruled that companies should avoid reselling their own products in used condition. There’s the threat of cannibalization, marketing confusion, and tricky logistics that can erase margins. But more name-brand retailers are jumping into resale, says Wharton marketing professor Tom Robertson. Thanks in part to Gen Z with its zeal for sustainability, he says consumer demand is rising fast for reused goods. He sees a revolution where brands cash in on resale, knowing that if they don’t own those customer relationships and sales, others will. Robertson wrote the HBR article “The Resale Revolution.” ... Read more

19 Dec 2023

25 MINS

25:25

19 Dec 2023


#639

How Hybrid Work Is (And Isn’t) Reshaping Cities

Economic activity has long been concentrated in big metropolitan areas. But has the rise of remote work technology -- and its accelerated adoption during the pandemic -- changed that? How are talent flows between geographies changing? And what does it mean for employers? Richard Florida, professor at the Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto known for coining the term "creative class," shares his latest research, which shows the deepening links between urban centers in various parts of the world, and he explains how these "meta cities" remain important places for people to connect. He is coauthor of the HBR article “The Rise of the Meta City.” ... Read more

12 Dec 2023

31 MINS

31:24

12 Dec 2023


#638

Setting AI Projects Up for Success

Unfortunately, you can’t set up your organization’s artificial intelligence projects like just any other IT project. By their nature, AI endeavors are quite different and suffer high failure rates. But there are proven approaches you can take to increase your odds of success. Iavor Bojinov, assistant professor at Harvard Business School and former LinkedIn data scientist, breaks down five critical steps for an AI project to turn into an effective product: selection, development, evaluation, adoption, and management. He’s the author of the HBR article “Keep Your AI Projects on Track.” ... Read more

05 Dec 2023

24 MINS

24:53

05 Dec 2023


#637

New Here: Getting a Raise Is a Process, Not a Conversation

Introducing HBR’s podcast for young professionals, [New Here] (https://podcasts.apple.com/us/podcast/new-here/id1705031803) , hosted by Elainy Mata. Whether it’s your first job or a fresh start, New Here will help you build a meaningful career on your own terms. In this episode, author and personal finance expert Anne-Lyse Ngatta and author, career advisor, and past HBR IdeaCast guest Gorick Ng explain how to lay the groundwork before you ask for a raise, when and how to start the conversation with your manager, and how to navigate the negotiation that may follow. Listen for free to season one of New Here at [HBR.org/Podcasts/New-Here] (https://hbr.org/podcasts/new-here) or wherever you get your podcasts. ... Read more

30 Nov 2023

33 MINS

33:12

30 Nov 2023


#636

Fast Casual Food Pioneer Ron Shaich Explains How to Find a Niche — and then Scale

The restaurant business is notoriously competitive and often propelled by passing fads. But, first at the helm of Au Bon Pain, and then as the founder of Panera Bread, Ron Shaich managed to create an entirely new category of dining between fast food and table service and then dominate that market in the United States. He says the strategies that brought him success can be applied in any type of organization:  listen to and observe customers so you know what they want, create a truly differentiated offering, execute with excellence, and find the right opportunities to grow. He’s employed this playbook as an investor in newer ventures like Cava and Tatte, as well. Shaich wrote the book Know What Matters: Lessons from a Lifetime of Transformations. ... Read more

28 Nov 2023

30 MINS

30:12

28 Nov 2023


#635

Why Private Equity Needs to Invest More in Talent Development

Traditionally, private equity companies have created value at the companies they own by taking on debt, restructuring, and exploiting underserved opportunities. But surging interest rates and increased competition have made it much harder to deliver strong returns. Ted Bililies, a partner and managing director of AlixPartners, says private equity leaders can no longer count on financial engineering to drive performance. Instead, they need to invest in the human capital at their portfolio companies. Bililies wrote the HBR article “Private Equity Needs a New Talent Strategy.” ... Read more

21 Nov 2023

22 MINS

22:46

21 Nov 2023


#634

Nvidia’s CEO On What It Takes To Run An A.I.-Led Company Now

The future of AI goes far beyond individuals using ChatGPT. Companies are now integrating artificial intelligence into all aspects of their businesses. One key player in this transition is Nvidia, the AI-driven computing company, which makes both hardware and software for a range of industries. In this episode, HBR editor in chief Adi Ignatius speaks with Nvidia’s CEO and cofounder Jensen Huang at HBR’s Future of Business conference about how he keeps his company agile in the face of accelerating change and where he sees AI going next. ... Read more

14 Nov 2023

22 MINS

22:35

14 Nov 2023


#633

A High-Performance Coach on the Key to Achieving Your Full Potential

What holds many people back from attaining the success they want - whether it's winning an Olympic medal or a seat in the C-suite - isn’t a lack of effort or talent. It’s the fear of other people’s opinions. That’s according to Michael Gervais, a performance expert and founder of the consultancy Finding Mastery. He works with top athletes and executives around the world to help them overcome FOPO and improve their performance and well-being. Gervais is the author of the book The First Rule of Mastery: Stop Worrying about What People Think of You. ... Read more

07 Nov 2023

29 MINS

29:26

07 Nov 2023


#632

How Job Training Must Change in the AI Age

The rapid expansion of artificial intelligence technology is creating, destroying, and changing jobs. And Harvard Business School professor Raffaella Sadun has been studying how leading companies are training and reskilling employees for this new paradigm. She says many firms underestimate how quickly and significantly workers will need to be reskilled and leave this effort to the HR department. Instead, she explains leaders and middle managers across the company are essential to manage this change. With Jorge Tamayo and Leila Doumi of HBS and Sagar Goel and Orsolya Kovács-Ondrejkovic of the BCG Henderson Institute, Sadun wrote the HBR article “Reskilling in the Age of AI.” ... Read more

31 Oct 2023

28 MINS

28:01

31 Oct 2023


#631

Getting Feedback Right on Diverse Teams

We know that teams mixing people of different generations, genders, and cultures yield better outcomes, and that frank, constructive feedback is key to improving individual, group, and organizational performance. But these two attributes -- diversity and candor -- often clash, says Erin Meyer, a professor at INSEAD. She's studied the challenges that arise when teammates with different backgrounds try to give one another advice and offers recommendations for overcoming them, including establishing norms around regular feedback and ensuring that it is asked for, designed to assist, and actionable. She’s the author of the HBR article “When Diversity Meets Feedback.” ... Read more

24 Oct 2023

29 MINS

29:51

24 Oct 2023


#630

Tools for Managers to Help Employees with Their Mental Health Challenges

It’s a reality that more employees are discussing their mental health in the workplace. And proactive leaders can serve their teams better by listening and responding. At the same time, managers can’t play the role of a therapist or the HR department. Counseling psychologist Kiran Bhatti and University of Cambridge leadership professor Thomas Roulet argue that following the basic practice of cognitive behavioral therapy can serve managers well. The researchers explain the mental-health first-aid tool, how managers can help employees address emotional distress and negative behavioral patterns, and how that can strengthen the work culture and ultimately the business. Bhatti and Roulet wrote the HBR article, “Helping an Employee in Distress.” ... Read more

17 Oct 2023

26 MINS

26:37

17 Oct 2023


#629

Reflecting on What Matters After a Terminal Cancer Diagnosis

How does someone who's been told he will die much sooner than expected find contentment in the time he has left? As a former therapist, cofounder of the Deeper Coaching Institute, and business book author, Mark Goulston has spent his entire career trying to help others manage their emotions, improve their communication, and find the right balance between the personal and the professional. Faced with his own cancer diagnosis, he's been reflecting on lessons learned in his own life, things he and clients wish they'd done differently, and how to both prepare for a "good" death and leave a meaningful legacy. He shares his newfound perspective and his advice for early, mid- and late-career leaders. ... Read more

10 Oct 2023

28 MINS

28:24

10 Oct 2023


#628

How to Solve Tough Problems Better and Faster

When it comes to solving complicated problems, the default for many organizational leaders is to take their time to work through the issues at hand. Unfortunately, that often leads to patchwork solutions or problems not truly getting resolved. Instead, Anne Morriss offers a different framework: to increase trust and transparency and the speed of execution to truly tackle big problems. Morriss is an entrepreneur, leadership coach, and founder of the Leadership Consortium. With Harvard Business School professor Frances Frei, she wrote the new book, Move Fast and Fix Things: The Trusted Leader’s Guide to Solving Hard Problems. ... Read more

03 Oct 2023

28 MINS

28:35

03 Oct 2023


#627

Improve Your Impromptu Speaking

We all know that leaders need to captivate audiences and effectively convey their ideas. But not every speaking opportunity can be prepared and practiced. That's why it's so important to learn the skill of speaking off-the-cuff, and Matt Abrahams, lecturer at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and host of the podcast Think Fast, Talk Smart, has advice to help. He explains how to stay calm in these situations, craft a compelling message, and ensure you've made a good impression. Abrahams is author of the book Think Faster, Talk Smarter: How to Speak Successfully When You’re Put on the Spot as well as the HBR article “How to Shine When You’re Put on the Spot.” ... Read more

26 Sep 2023

29 MINS

29:29

26 Sep 2023


#626

How Companies Can Recommit to Their DEI Goals

After the summer of 2020 in the United States, many organizations made a big push to increase diversity, equity, and inclusion in their ranks and operations. But now, many fear that that momentum is slipping, especially in the face of economic headwinds. Laura Morgan Roberts, organizational psychologist and professor at the University of Virginia Darden School of Business, says it is time to recommit to these efforts by creating the conditions for all workers to flourish. She explains four freedoms that organizations can foster to allow employees to become their best selves — and even be able to fade into the background when they choose. Roberts wrote the HBR Big Idea article “Where Does DEI Go From Here?” ... Read more

19 Sep 2023

26 MINS

26:07

19 Sep 2023


#625

People with Disabilities Are an Untapped Talent Pool

It is now accepted wisdom that increasing the diversity of your workforce in any dimension can improve both organizational culture and performance. But one group — people living with intellectual, developmental, and physical disabilities — continues to be overlooked by many companies. Luisa Alemany, associate professor at London Business School, has studied workplaces that do recruit and hire employees with disabilities and found that it can be a true source of competitive advantage. She explains four main ways this talent strategy benefits the firm. She’s the coauthor, along with Freek Vermeulen, of the HBR article “Disability as a Source of Competitive Advantage.” ... Read more

12 Sep 2023

25 MINS

25:06

12 Sep 2023


#624

If You Want Culture Change, Create New Stories

Many leaders realize they need to change their organization’s culture to save the business. But employees usually resist change and stick to past norms. Jay Barney, professor at the University of Utah’s Eccles School of Business, studied leaders who successfully led culture change and found one thing in common: they created and spread stories. He says it's not about making up stories but taking action — in authentic, yet theatrical and memorable ways. The new stories then emanate throughout the workforce and rewrite the old narrative. Barney explains the six rules of this practice that leaders need to follow. He’s a coauthor, with Manoel Amorim and Carlos Júlio, of The Secret of Culture Change: How to Build Authentic Stories That Transform Your Organization and the HBR article “Create Stories That Change Your Company’s Culture.” ... Read more

05 Sep 2023

30 MINS

30:37

05 Sep 2023


#623

Leading a Workforce Empowered by New AI Tools

New AI technology enables anyone to become a programmer — opening doors to faster analytics and automation but also presenting big challenges. Organizations need policies and strategies to manage the chaos created by what Tom Davenport calls “citizen developers.” Davenport is a professor of management and information technology at Babson College, and he’s been studying how employees are using new AI tools and how companies can both encourage and benefit from this work. He suggests practical ways for team and organizational leaders and IT departments to best oversee these efforts. Davenport is coauthor of the HBR article “We’re All Programmers Now” and the book All-in On AI: How Smart Companies Win Big with Artificial Intelligence. ... Read more

29 Aug 2023

30 MINS

30:25

29 Aug 2023


#622

How One Ukrainian Company Cultivated Resiliency Amid War

Companies plan for crises and aim to be resilient and adaptive in the face of all kinds of risks, but it’s always easier said than done. And perhaps none of these threats is as serious as war. That’s what Roman Rodomansky had to prepare his company for. He’s the cofounder and COO at Ralabs, a Ukrainian software development company. As Russia prepared to invade his home country, Rodomansky and his leadership team crafted a plan to survive and keep serving clients. He shares how his firm put people first, communicated with customers, and managed to become resilient. Rodomansky wrote the HBR article “A Cofounder of Ralabs on Leading a Ukrainian Start-Up Through a Year of War.” ... Read more

22 Aug 2023

21 MINS

21:37

22 Aug 2023


#621

How to Reinvent a Consumer Brand

How does a brand or product that's been around for decades suddenly become popular with a whole new segment of consumers? Terence Reilly has some pointers. As CMO of Crocs, he used social media and celebrity collaborations to drive sales of its signature boat shoes. Now, as president at Stanley, he has made the company's durable mugs TikTok famous and bestsellers across numerous retail outlets. He explains how listening to employees and customers and acting quickly on their insights can help any organization spur growth. ... Read more

15 Aug 2023

26 MINS

26:51

15 Aug 2023