Fresh insights from our authors to help
your organization grow
From diversity and gender to workplace
learning, read about our latest research
on workplace culture
and welcome to the annual #RealWorldResearch magazine!
From post-Brexit business to brand experience, from the gender pay gap to swearing at work – these are some of the hot topics that 2017 saw, and that we brought insight to through research.
This collection of blog posts, interviews, listicles, sketchnotes, podcasts, and video showcases research that has made an impact in the real world over the last year, in the areas of business, management, marketing, HR, and beyond.
The content in this annual includes links to key research articles that are published on our research platform, Emerald Insight. You can access the articles linked within this annual for free until 1st April 2018.
From social entrepreneurship to robotics,
here’s our research on all things disruptive
Emerald Publishing was founded in 1967 to champion new ideas that would advance the research and practice of business and management. Today, we continue to nurture fresh thinking in applied fields where we can make a difference.
The latest research from our authors
on how to lead with a vision
Fresh insights to help your organization grow based on our research
Consumers now expect consistent brand experiences across different devices, be it their laptop, tablet, smartphone or wearable technology. In fact, nearly 75% of consumers who are ‘connected’ online feel negatively toward brands that offer inconsistent experiences across devices. And so, marketing guru, Philip Kotler, has advised organizations to “digitize or die”. Here we look at the three trends marketers need to know about to ensure the successful transition to digital.
CRM (customer relationship management) is now, more than ever, critical for companies to get right. The three main points a company’s CRM system should deliver is a complete understanding of the customer, aligning the organization to better deliver enhanced value and facilitating the immediate accessibility of information.
Traditionally, marketing was tasked with generating leads for salespeople to follow up and qualify. But with the advent of ‘Big Data’, marketing must prequalify those leads by providing more accurate information prior to sending them to the sales force. This puts pressure on marketers to acquire better data analysis tools and skills in order to become a reliable and constantly learning channel for information throughout the organization.
In order to achieve the ultimate brand experience, companies need to think about how they will reach their customers at the right time with content they want to see, which can only be achieved by having a logical data system in place. Clearly there is an urgent need for companies to combine data analysis and creativity.
This article is based on the research paper ‘The new marketing solutions that will drive strategy implementation’ published in Strategy & Leadership
Marketing automation makes it possible to track a potential customer’s behaviour after they click on a website and then to subsequently build behaviourally-based follow up campaigns. This involves taking into account all the sites and pages that a customer has visited. By customizing the message based on a visitor’s history and behavior, marketing is ramping up its powers of persuasion.
In contrast, search marketing only reveals the key phrase that brought a potential customer to a web page. But with marketing automation, marketers can track individually identifiable visitors using search data, website, email campaigns and social content to gain a richer history of what they have done – and what they are likely to want to see next. Marketing automation and data analysis gives a fuller view of the prospect than just demographic or psychographic information.
STRATEGY & GROWTH
As a recent whitepaper by Third Door Media put it, ‘Segmenting target audiences is not new. What is new is marketing to individual consumers in real time and at scale. In the Age of You, the consumer voice is larger than that of the brand, and as a result marketers now need a more human level of consumer understanding than before.’
The most effective strategies are now powered by real-time moments that require brands to be agile and creative on the spot. Marketers need to realize that today’s impatient customer will not wait for satisfaction. Customers want to interact with brand stories as they evolve and modify them on social media. For brands to thrive in the future they will have to excel at capturing customers’ attention and trust by delivering the right content, in the right dose, at the right moment, informed by the right data. Customers today seek engagement on their terms, which means marketers must both pull and push correctly.
full research paper on Emerald Insight
Society and Business Review
What is brand religiosity and why do businesses need to know about it?
Meet Bill (an imaginary character). Bill completed his MBA degree from Harvard Business School in 2002. In any social gathering, he always introduces himself by saying that he is a Harvard alumnus, he then tells of his other affiliations such as serving as the CEO of a highly reputed multi-national company. In his life, he loves three things the most – his wife, daughter and Harvard. Despite being a Catholic Christian, he does not attend the church. He does however, religiously attend Harvard conferences in his area of interest and never fails to attend Harvard alumni meetings. So what makes Bill show a religious devotion to Harvard, which is superior to his devotion towards Christianity?
1. Need to belong
Consumers like Bill use a brand as a way of belonging. Being accepted in a sub brand culture with other ‘worshippers’ allows a sense of self identity. As a business you need to make sure your consumers feel this sense of acceptance and belonging when they invest in your brand. This could be through rules and rituals they follow. For example, Harley Owners Group (HOG) expect its members to own a Harley bike and follow certain norms.
Intentionally or unintentionally, consumers regard their possessions as parts of themselves. This means that an individual might consider a strong brand as a significant part of his/her self-identity to strengthen his/her self-image. Consumers regard your brand as a part of them and feel dependant on it to complete their self-identity.
3. Individual narcissisms
Every individual loves themselves to a certain extent. The reason is when an individual loves themselves, he/she is also likely to love the brand which has already become a part of his/her self-concept. As a marketer you should identify those customers who love themselves and highlight the brand attributes to them that they need to improve their self-image.
As marketers it is important to understand the reasons why some individuals are more dedicated to a brand than religion. Brand religiosity has become the central core of a brand community that makes the community alive. A brand community would sustain until the brand community members would believe that the brand adequately satisfies their needs for self-identity and belongingness. Marketers can facilitate brand religiosity by taking strong marketing actions, and making their brand really equivalent to religion.
This article is based on the research paper 'Brand religiosity: An epistemological analysis of the formation of social anti-structure through the development of distinct brand sub-culture' published in Society and Business Review
In 2016, the IBM Institute for Business Value
surveyed a group of 818 CEOs who had a
strong reputation as leading innovators, plus
an outstanding financial track record. The
institute set out to explore what the CEOs
thought the future would bring for
innovation and how they are positioning
their organizations to prosper in the ‘age of
disruption’. Read on to find out the four key
insights from the research.
Embrace the ecosystem
Companies have now come to the realization
that they cannot single handily satisfy their
customer desires and now need to take
advantage of cross-industry ecosystems to
deliver different elements of innovation.
Drawing on different network of companies
provides new opportunities to bring together
products, services, operations and
organizations in new ways.
Focus on strategy not operations
By focusing on strategy, CEOs are able to
embrace the wider ecosystem to effectively
enhance the future of their business. Along
with strategy, CEOs are also focusing on
disruptive innovation. They aren't simply
tweaking existing products and services;
they are shedding old industry paradigms
and reinventing their companies.
Expand customer reach
Leading CEOs are not just changing
their overarching strategies they are
reconsidering how they engage with
the outside world. CEOs remarked that
creating online customer communities
is one of the best ways of finding out
what the markets really want. For
example, BMW regularly uses design
contests and crowd sourcing to help it
innovate design features for the cars of
CEOs are focusing on embracing agility
and experimenting extensively when it
comes to innovation. They want to
innovate in more disruptive initiatives,
which have a higher risk. Using
imaginative ways to fund innovation is
also something they are concentrating
on, with 43% of CEOs mentioning that
they are more inclined to use financing.
3 steps you need
to take to achieve CEO success.
1. Sharpen your strategy
Pursue disruptive innovation, not purely incremental improvement. Investigate
opportunities to exploit new and emerging technologies or business models, or apply
existing technologies in new ways, and look at other industries for ideas. Experiment with
new revenue models that might provide additional sources of value and a stronger
customer interface. When launching something new, aim to get to market first. Ensure your ecosystem is also ready to launch; your partners need to be ready when you get
2. Energize your engagement
Use predictive and cognitive analytics to investigate new trends, identify new customer
segments and make smarter business decisions. Share customer feedback with everyone else in your ecosystem to help you acquire a better understanding of your customers and develop deeper, richer customer experiences. Be bold in exploring new geographic markets and delivery channels, and draw on the diverse resources within your ecosystem to take advantage of market opportunities you can't realize alone.
3. Turbocharge your transformation
Build a culture of rapid experimentation and prototyping to accelerate the release of new
business models, products and services. Be prepared to make long-term investments in
innovation, not just the sort of investments that deliver better quarter-to-quarter financial performance. Communicate your plans and payback horizons clearly to shareholders.
Define the skills your enterprise will need in the future, as industries converge and
ecosystems predominate. And actively bring in the necessary talent.
This guide is based on the research paper ‘How successful firms guide innovation: insights and strategies of leading CEOs’ published in Strategy & Leadership.
Two-thirds of CEOs surveyed plan to reassess their strategic direction and explore the potential for novel, non-traditional forms of growth.
By allowing a new customer segment to be the driving force behind the model means that the outcome will include a range of activities that can create value for new markets.
EXAMPLE: Fashion retailer Zara used the resource-led model by restructuring its resources, while also aligning its design, production and commercialization assets and activities. This realignment allowed the company to bring leading trends and designs to the market quicker, thus giving it significant competitive advantage within its marketplace.
EXAMPLE: Bankwest is a retail banker that decided to focus on creating a better banking experience for a young customer demographic. As a result, Bankwest streamlined its product offering to suit the new demographic, which in turn became a key driver of their business model.
COST DRIVEN model
A cost driven approach requires expenses to be reduced by outsourcing manufacturing offshore or changing to a low cost marketing in favour of an online presence for example, in order to find opportunities elsewhere in your business. This often results in the creation of a unique product or service offering.
EXAMPLE: UK graphics company 99 used this model by applying an online approach to staffing through crowd sourcing designers instead of employing them in house. Having designers offer their expertise at a far lower price meant that 99 was able to scale up their business far more effectively.
A resource-led approach to business starts with the evaluation of your company’s internal resources and capabilities. Once these are identified, the next step is to explore new ways to restructure the existing resource by utilizing manufacturing capabilities for complimentary products for example, or leveraging brand equity, or licensing existing patents and trademarks.
This infographic is based on the research paper ‘Designing innovative business models with a framework that promotes experimentation’ published in Strategy & Leadership
EXAMPLE: Southwest Airlines is an example of this approach. In its branding, Southwest Airlines pledged to become the cheapest form of short-haul travel, and not only considered other airlines as competitors, but also other transport services such as buses, and trains. This led Southwest to restructure its costs in order to become a price leader.
Generally, corporate business models are created by the senior management teams within a company. Latest research published in the Strategy & Leadership journal however, suggests that businesses need to take a more innovative approach when considering their business model, highlighting that there is no ‘one’ right way.
Take a look at these five innovative business models that your company needs to explore.
Innovative business models
your business needs to try out...
EXAMPLE: An example of a Partnership-led model is the online product development platform, Quirky. Quirky crowd sources participants from around the world to collectively develop and commercialize new product inventions, a way to co-create value.
A price led model is when your business aims to become the price leader in its marketplace. The approach looks at reducing costs down across the entire business model in order to provide the same offering at a much cheaper price. This may encourage more cost effective channels, targeting a different customer segment, or propose taking on strategic partners who will aid in achieving this new value proposition. This model helps explore these effects and possible opportunities that exist for a business that positions itself as a price leader.
full research paper here
Partnerships can be a powerful driver for your business as they allow a business to co-create value and often lead to exposure in a wider marketplace, reduction of costs, and can also improve future research and development outcomes. Identifying possible partnerships can be a fruitful exploration in order to expand the current possibilities within a business, or to overcome any constraints that may exist.
Click on the arrows above to view the slide show.
This SlideShare is based on the research paper ‘Networks and entrepreneurial learning : coping with difficulties’ published in International Journal of Entrepreneurial Behavior & Research
full research paper on Emerald Insight
Identify the activities that rely on the EU passport to provide services or products from the UK into other European Economic Area (EEA) jurisdictions, and vice versa.
If the passport is phased out, you may need to restructure operations, including obtaining licences in new jurisdictions.
With almost 5,000 UK companies relying on the corporate European Union (EU) passport to do business around Europe, Brexit is creating an air of uncertainty as to how this might work once the UK breaks from the EU. Unlikely to be clarified in the short term, UK companies must now start to consider the potential impact of Brexit on their business models in order to sustain their business in a post-EU environment.
The UK’s financial services conduct regulator, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), has specifically reminded financial firms of their risk-based obligations to have contingency plans to deal with such a significant change in the financial marketplace.
Given the very real risk that a full EU passport will not be available post-Brexit, what steps should financial institutions be taking now to prepare?
Consider whether you can continue to provide services from the UK even if the passport ceases to exist?
Some EU legislative initiatives e.g. the Markets in Financial Instruments Directive II (“MiFID II”) could permit third-country financial companies to provide some
cross-border services to some customers without local licences, if the
third-country jurisdiction has laws that are ‘equivalent’ to those of the EU.
If you already have licensed subsidiaries in other EEA jurisdictions, explore if these could become vehicles for exercising the passport.
E.g. For a US bank with subsidiaries in the UK and Germany, passport activities throughout the EEA could be conducted from the German subsidiary rather than the UK.
This article is based on the research paper ‘Brexit: what are the options for the financial services industry?’ published in Journal of Investment Compliance.
Strategize how to handle data within the EEA, particularly where customer data is located.
Firms are currently free to transfer data within a firm in the EEA with little constraint, but potential future restrictions could require firms to obtain appropriate consents from customers or relocate the hosting of data.
full research paper on Emerald Insight
Investigate if having a separate legal entity outside of the UK can act as a booking centre in an EEA Member State.
This then enters into back-to-back transactions on a riskless principal basis while the UK entity that has the staff, capitalization, and systems to hold the risk.
Address the practical implications of the above options:
- The costs involved in shifting significant numbers of employees from the UK to other jurisdictions will be large and many staff may have developed ties to the UK that make them resistant to relocation.
- Hiring new adequately trained staff in alternative locations may be an issue for a variety of reasons.
- Tax implications will be a consideration, especially given the UK Chancellor’s announcement that he will lower UK corporation tax. The UK’s legal system is considered by many to be the most favourable for financial services business in the EEA.
- Infrastructure - the availability of office buildings, services, and a well-staffed and experienced regulator in other jurisdictions, will be an additional factor.
Be mindful of potential employment issues.
A large percentage of the City’s workers come from other EEA countries, and EEA nationals seeking to live and work in the UK could face new visa/entry clearance rules as well as formal requests for work authorization, and vice versa for UK workers in the EEA.
How to stop your employees leaving for a better paid job
n this article, I highlight the employee engagement and development practices used by the founder of Shaadisaga (India’s largest growing wedding planning platform), Mr Himanshu Kapsime. Shaadisaga started in 2014 with one man and his idea to profitably streamline the huge Indian marriage market. Two years later and Shaadisaga was already India’s largest growing wedding planning platform with a team of 25 individuals, funding from the largest marriage portal in India and have organized around 10,000 weddings. What enabled Shaadisaga’s success? “Our team of committed and motivated people”, says Himanshu.
Make your staff partners of your growth story
If employees feel that they will also benefit from the company growth, they are more likely to work towards its success. At Shaadisaga, all the employees who are able to consistently deliver as per the expectations, and stick to the organization for a certain period of time, are promised a share in the organization. “The employees who have it in them feel extremely motivated to become partners in the organization”, says Himanshu.
Provide informal learning opportunities
When employees are exposed to new roles and opportunities to expand their skillset, they begin to enjoy their work and start finding their work meaningful. If organizations spend more money on informal rather than formal learning mechanisms, employee outcomes such as job satisfaction could be superior. Informal learning opportunities give an opportunity for employees to interact with others within and outside the organization and enhance their skills more readily.
Offer a flexible work environment
New ventures and small businesses are not necessarily disadvantaged when it comes to organizational design and structure. Given the size of the organization, there is no place for hierarchies and bureaucracy. New ventures need to build their organizations around merit and performance. “We do not have any fixed times of work. We do not see the time when employees come and go. We ensure that the targets are difficult and work is meaningful to the employees, so they themselves stretch their limits”, claims Himanshu.
Communicate a clear organizational vision
The employees must know what their organization stands for. Shaadisaga, founder Himanshu, makes sure that his team is clearly informed of the overall purpose and vision of the organization, and at the same time informal brainstorming sessions keep happening so everyone feels a contributor of the organizational success.
Empower your employees
Shaadisaga made it a point from the first day to ensure employee empowerment, enabling employees to make crucial decisions in their roles, on their own. A flat hierarchy makes it easy for the employees to share the ideas and issues with management to proactively respond to the customer needs.
Communicate a clear organizational vision
The employees must know what their organization stands for. Shaadisaga founder, Himanshu, makes sure that his team is clearly informed of the overall purpose and vision of the organization, and at the same time informal brainstorming sessions keep happening so everyone feels a contributor of the organizational success.
Empower your employees
Shaadisaga made it a point from the first day to ensure employee empowerment, enabling employees to make crucial decisions in their roles, on their own. A flat hierarchy makes it easy for the employees to share the ideas and issues with management to proactively respond to the customer needs.
This article is based on the research paper ‘How do ventures attract and retain talented employees?' The case of Shaadisaga’ published in Human Resource Management International Digest.
It’s a common scenario, employee gets a job with a small company, they get excellent experience, become a valued employee, and then they leave for a bigger salary than you can afford. So how exactly do small businesses and new ventures attract and retain talented employees even when they can’t match the wage?
By Safal Batra
Gender Pay: Why haven’t we smashed the glass ceiling yet?
Chloe Campbell, Publisher of International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship shares her thoughts on the gender pay gap.
Did you know that in the UK the average working women still earns 9.4% less than a man?
While the UK government makes moves to close the gap, Chloe Campbell, Publisher of Gender Studies journals at Emerald, takes a step back to explore why the gender pay gap still exists and offers insight into some of the many challenges women are facing in today’s working world.
By March 2018, employers in Great Britain with more than 250 staff will be required, by law, to publish information on their own website about the difference in salaries they pay to their male and female staff.
This new legislation on gender pay reporting is a step in the right direction when it comes to recognizing, and perhaps minimizing, the gender pay gap.
What factors contribute to such a noticeable gender pay gap in 2017?
The main reasons are often identified as outright discrimination, unequal caring responsibilities (including childcare and caring for relatives), the segregated labour market, and the fact that males still dominate the majority of senior roles.
I find the narratives around this new gender pay gap legislation compelling, and they remind me of the demeaning and dangerous stereotypes that still exist about females—most disappointingly, the - misguided, sexist idea that women can’t be trusted with money.
Gender in Management: An International Journal recently published research providing context o one of the main causes of the gender pay gap—that men continue to make up the majority of those in the highest paid and most senior roles and that women remain under-represented in the top executive positions.
This shocking anecdote (to the right) about Dame Brenda Hale highlights a real instance of women remaining underrepresented, despite being more than qualified for the position. Similarly, just last year, International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship published research on the entrepreneurial gender divide, which further illustrated attitudes towards females and finance.
So where are we now?
These findings demonstrate that prejudice and discrimination remains when it comes to women and money. Not just from a gender pay gap perspective, but also when it comes to trusting and providing women with capital and access to financial resources. Although this new legislation regarding gender pay gap reporting is a positive development when it comes to addressing the issue of gender pay, research and public opinion still demonstrates that women's authority, autonomy and equal status is questioned when it comes to money and earning.
This article is based on the research paper ‘The entrepreneurial gender divide: Hegemonic masculinity, emphasized femininity and organizational forms’ published in International Journal of Gender and Entrepreneurship
Rather than beating around the bush (so to speak), let’s get straight to it. You’re just not being effective when it comes to recruiting personnel…
Mistake number one: Inadequate interviewer prep
In an era of social media, candidate feedback has made it painfully obvious that most companies don’t spend enough time prepping interviewers to do their jobs well. When a candidate comes for an interview, they often spend their time in back-to-back sessions with prospective colleagues who have neither had the time to digest their resume, nor put sufficient thought into the questions they should be asking. The result: a dreadful candidate experience which can end up being exposed on social platforms; potentially creating a negative impression with future candidates. For heads of recruiting and employer branding, this makes it more imperative that interviewers understand how to effectively evaluate candidates, and increases the attractiveness of techniques like behavioural interviewing.
Mistake number two: Unconscious bias and discrimination
The rise of diversity and inclusion is a hot topic in talent. With it has come a backlash against ‘culture fit’-type interviews, which can be a dangerous breeding ground for unconscious bias and discrimination. Whether or not an interviewer would enjoy grabbing a beer with a candidate should not be the key screening criterion. By instead giving interviewers the tools to focus on what matters - an individual’s suitability for the role, as demonstrated by their past behaviour and experience - companies can help nip bias in the bud and increase the chances of qualified candidates getting the appropriate level of consideration, regardless of their background.
Behavioural interviewing actually works. Research shows that behavioural interviewing can be 55 percent predictive of future on-the-job behaviour, while traditional interviewing is only 10 percent predictive. When your candidate describes a particular project or experience in detail, you have the opportunity to ask probing questions such as “What were you thinking when you did that?” or “Why do you think you were successful?”. Behavioural interviewing, a far cry from the questions “Tell me about yourself” and “Are you good at X?”, is the time to ask for specific examples and explanations.
Indeed, behavioural interviews can be used to assess a wide variety of competencies, such as coachability, adaptability, and willingness to collaborate. Not to be confused with a skills fit interview in which you may ask candidates to grapple with a new problem, the behavioural interview is a close look at their problem-solving process. More than simply seeing whether or not they can debug a line of code, for example, you want to assess how they debug the code.
This article is based on the research paper 'Behavioral interviewing essentials (and why you should care)' published in Strategic HR Review.
When it comes to recruitment you are probably making these two mistakes
But don’t worry, we have the solution!
by Leela Srinivasan
and Maya Humes of Lever
This video is based on the article 'How virtual team leaders cope with creativity challenges' published in European Journal of Training and Development
Encourage a collaborative
Ensure that employees have enough time to interact with one another, drawing ideas and learning from each other. This will not only help horizontal learning but also vertical progression. Job rotation is a great way of doing this.
Help your employees feel good about themselves
If your employees feel valued, trusted and can clearly see how their work contributes to the organization’s goals and vision they are generally more engaged. Meghan Biro, HR expert, remarked, “Employees engage with employers and brands when they’re treated as humans worthy of respect.”
As well as providing wellness programmes, encourage your employees to get out in the community. Give them time off from work to do this. It will help them to grow holistically as a person, as well as building a positive image of your organization.
Create a positive work environment
Create a healthy organizational culture and climate where employees contribute their best. Ensure that the organizational culture is free from politics and provide constructive
feedback to enable them to assess their strengths and concerns.
Give your employees power, don’t micromanage them
Give employees the freedom to make decisions and come up with creative solutions. Let them learn lessons from their failures to grow as successful leaders. Ensure that every employee feels heard, valued and appreciated for their achievements.
Challenge, nurture your staff and encourage creativity
Remember that everyone is an individual and so treat them so. Allocate roles and responsibilities based on employee strengths and aspirations. Give them challenging tasks to enable them to come out of their comfort zones to execute their tasks effectively and unlock hidden potential.
This article is based on the research paper ‘Innovative tools and techniques to ensure effective employee engagement’ published in Industrial and Commercial Training.
Across the world there is an increasingly ageing population. Statistics suggest that just over 30 years from now, people aged 60 and older will make up almost 22 per cent of the world’s population. This could create a strain on healthcare, food supply and amenities because as the population retires, there is an increasing reliance on the younger generation, but a decreasing number of workers to provide these services. There’s an important lesson in this, it’s time that we took control of our future to become more self-sufficient.
According to a study which explores self-employment as a long term strategy for women “middle-to-older aged women are the biggest cohort of homeless people in Australia.” Whilst it’s a regional assessment, it makes for shocking reading. Unsurprisingly, due to the gender pay gap, women are more likely to suffer and small business owners exacerbate this risk.
One prospect for us all, regardless of gender, to protect ourselves, is to continue working, relieving pressure on the top heavy retirement generation. A paper from the Journal of Management and Development says this approach may just be better for us. By continuing to work we’re more active physically and mentally, overall, meaning we’re much healthier.
Another option is for businesses to take this lead. In 1999 Bosch launched its subsidiary, Bosch Management Support GmbH. Designed to maximise the past skillset, former and retired Bosch associates are provided for projects and consulting on a temporary basis within Bosch. Employees have no obligation to take any work offered to them, likewise it won’t affect their pension. Is this the best of both worlds?
It might just be.
This article is based on the following sources:
 http://www.unfpa.org/ageing 25/09.17
 'Self-employment: is it a long-term financial strategy for women?', Equality, Diversity and Inclusion: An International Journal, Vol. 36.4
 'Retirement – an unaffordable luxury', Journal of Management Development, Vol26.5
 'Bosch builds a talent bank of ex‐employees: Scheme wins award for innovative HR', Human Resource Management International Digest, Vol. 17.5
The clock is ticking, it is time to think about your future
The latest research on how to lead with a vision
So, what does this all mean and how can you as a manager learn from Fuld’s mistakes?
Well, as a leader you begin the culture creation process and must also manage and sometimes
change the culture of your organization. It is therefore important for you to teach your
employees how to perceive, think, feel, and behave, based on your own conscious and
unconscious convictions. Noted below are five key observations your employees are taking
note of, make sure you are aware of these and remember to lead by example.
What you pay attention to, measure and control on a regular basis
How you react to critical incidents and organizational crises
How you allocate resources
How you allocate rewards and status
How you recruit, select promote and excommunicate.
Your personality as a leader is more or less coupled with the culture of the organizations in
which you operate. You have the power to create an organization culture, don’t forget to use it!
This article is based on the research paper‘On the issue of stability of Wall Street CEOs, while hoping for cultural changes in the financial sector?’ published in Society and Business Review.
WHAT YOU CAN LEARN FROM
LEADERS DURING THE FINANCIAL CRISIS
CEO by day, Wall Street villain by night...
Lehman’s CEO, Dick Fuld, is a prime example of how CEO's personalities affected organizational
culture during the financial crisis. Many described Fuld as the ‘Wall Street villain’ and he often took on the pet name, ‘Gorilla’, due to his famous outbursts, he liked to claim as his ‘managing by fear’ approach. It was also common for Fuld to not know the names of his employees. He employed a ‘front line committee’, which would bridge the gap between CEO and employee and separated the ‘big boss’ from the ‘ordinary members’. This depiction of Lehman Brothers culture shows a striking resemblance to the personality of the company’s leader, which in turn created a narcissistic culture amongst the organization.
“The way CEOs and top
executives engage with
their world views,
values, demons and their
beliefs is closely connected with their business decisions and
Money, money, money!
During the 1900s and 2000s, employees of Wall
Street companies were focused on commissions before anything else, even client satisfaction.
Even managers encouraged such behaviours through bonuses and other incentives systems.
Employees were rewarded with helicopter rides
to work and private jets, villas in the Hamptons
and New York penthouses, golden hellos and
parachutes, not to mention ruthless competition and million-dollars bonuses. Some situations were even comic, like when some bankers had to take emergency golf lessons to fit in and the case of an employee’s wife who gave birth alone because her husband could not get out of an important conference call.
Wall Street, 15 September 2008 -
the day the world’s financial system collapsed. The crash of the Lehman Brothers bank triggered what is now labeled as one
of the worst financial crises since the
But how were CEOs at that time managing their companies? And did organization cultures and leadership styles play a part in the financial crisis? This article explores what can be learnt from some of these leaders about the impact of personality on business.
5 key observations your employees are making
(that you need to be aware of!)
a superboss super?
In your latest book, ‘Superbosses: How Exceptional Leaders Master the Flow of Talent’, you explore how ‘superbosses’ make the people who work for them more effective. Tell us more about the concept of a superboss?
'Superboss' is the word I invented to describe leaders who are exceptionally good at creating other leaders. Superbosses are leaders who help find and attract unusual talent and help them get to a level of success and accomplishment that many never even thought about or even thought possible.
You found that the 'great secret' of superbosses wasn’t who they are, but what they did. In terms of their approach to spotting and hiring talent, what are the qualities they typically prioritize and what are the hiring practices they follow?
Superbosses are opportunity spotters, always on the lookout for great and unusual talent. They don’t wait for talent to come to them – but are proactive in searching out people the way that some entrepreneurs search out business opportunities They put a high premium on people who are special, who ‘get it’. In practice, these are people who are willing to jump into an opportunity the superboss creates, work incredibly hard to make it happen and then come back asking for more. That’s not for everyone, but for high-aspiration people who want to have a big impact on their organizations, who want to make a difference, this is exactly what they’ve been looking for. That’s why millennials are so attracted to the superboss idea.
When it comes to motivating talent, superbosses see their paramount job as injecting a strong and unforgettable sense of possibility in their workforce. How do they do this and why is it so crucial?
Most people work today in a 24/7 world, always on, always working hard. Bosses push people and have high expectations. This is important, but it is only the first part of motivation. What about energizing people to truly believe that they are making a difference? Why should people work so hard in the first place? Great motivators – and superbosses are great motivators – understand that work has to mean something for people to truly care.
The super bosses you write about take a distinct approach to coaching and mentoring. How does this differ from most conventional approaches and what are the primary benefits?
In the corporate world, employees who seek to speak with their bosses normally attempt to 'book time'. They might send an email to an assistant, and the resulting 'meeting' occurs outside of the 'actual work' being done. Such practices seem to bring bosses and employees closer together, but in reality they distance and control the degree of contact bosses have with staff. More than just making themselves available for meetings, super bosses are often in the thick of it with employees – not just for a half hour once a week, but regularly and informally. Super bosses often work side by side with employees, coaching them in unmediated ways.
What else makes up the 'essence' of a ‘superboss’?
The essence of the superboss phenomenon is the transfer of knowledge, wisdom and success from old to young – not just know-how, but also a way of thinking, even a way of life. At its core is an abiding respect that employees have for superbosses. Superbosses function as godparents – and employees appreciate this and feel grateful for it.
Finally, you highlighted how superbosses create a winning team through a powerful combination of collaboration and competition. How does this play out in practice?
A unique quality of super boss companies is that employees compete with one another, but simultaneously they work together in a seamless and highly effective manner. Super bosses are skilled at creating these winning teams. They make a special effort to encourage collegiality, but also promote a strong competitive spirit. Many superbosses create a “cult-like” atmosphere in their organizations. They continually tell their employees that they are uniquely talented. They also convey that membership in this group means that they will set the standard for the rest of the industry. Super bosses do not shy away from publicizing their employees’ skills.
To find out more about this Q&A and Sydney Finkelstein’s book click here.
This interview was conducted by Brian Leavy, the editor of our Strategy & Leadership journal.
*Illustration created by David Bull
In this '3 minutes with' we find out what makes a superboss super with strategy and leadership guru, Sydney Finkelstein
Insights and case studies to help you achieve innovation success
INNOVATION & TECHNOLOGY
How much do you enjoy your morning coffee? Enough to pay up to 10 times more per cup over another brand?
This is how much 10 million Nespresso club members are willing to pay for their creamy cup of coffee. How exactly has Nespresso got its customers to pay such high prices?
1. The Nespresso experience
Nespresso’s vision was to convince customers that they can enjoy Italian coffee at home, simply with a machine and coffee capsules. Nespresso managed to upgrade espresso to a lifestyle product and turned the common process of drinking coffee into an experience. Upgrading espresso to a lifestyle has been a key differentiator between Nespresso and other brands.
2. The Nespresso boutiques
Another element that has contributed to the brand’s success are their distribution channels which are not your standard retail stores. Nespresso customers do not buy their equipment or capsules in regular retail shops, but instead order them online, via telephone, or buy them in one of Nespresso’s exclusive boutiques. Yes, that’s right, a boutique. Nespresso boutiques follow expensive chic interior designs and are usually found located alongside well-known luxury and designer brands such Louis Vuitton, D&G, Prada, Hermès, and Emporio Armani. This all contributes to the brand living up to its reputation as a luxury consumable.
3. The Nespresso Academy
Over 70 percent of the 9,500 Nespresso employees worldwide work in direct customer contact. As such, it is important to ensure that a unique customer approach is adopted by everyone involved with selling Nespresso products. This is done via the Nespresso Academy. The Nespresso academy intensively trains employees on the Nespresso approach so they can learn how to represent the brand best.
4. The Nespresso Club
The success of Nespresso can be partly attributed to their members club. With around 10 million members and counting (50 percent of new members are acquired through existing members) it’s by no means exclusive but it does come with a number of privileges. Being part of the Nespresso Club not only means you are added to a standard email list which updates you on the latest offers. It goes beyond this and invites you to special sports, lifestyle events and gives you the opportunities to learn about the brand. One of the privileges of club membership were participating in choosing the next celebrity endorser George Clooney.
Along with this brand success comes challenges. To find out more about the Nespresso story click the full article below.
This article is based on the paper ‘competitive advantage through innovation: the case of Nespresso’ published in European Journal of Innovation Management
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