Free-market capitalism is under fire. Yet, according to the author, it is still the best system for social cooperation and human progress -- if done properly. Drawing on his research, the author casts his vision of Conscious Capitalism, based on four interconnected, mutually reinforcing tenets: a higher purpose; stakeholder integration; conscious leadership; and a conscious culture. He refutes those who say Wall Street will never buy it. Instead, he shows leaders how they can indeed build strong, ethical, cooperative and sustainable businesses -- reclaiming the good part of capitalism in the process.
The Keys to a Killer App
Paying for your coffee, getting on the subway or splitting dinner with friends are everyday actions that can now be done using a mobile phone. But there is a lot more to mobile payments than merely substituting a phone for a card when performing a financial transaction. Managers need to think less about the technology per se and more about how the new functionalities of m-payments can enable superior value propositions for their customers. Doing that successfully, however, is no easy task. It requires aligning many players from a populated and diverse business ecosystem. This article outlines a simple framework with three key success factors that may help when assessing prospective m-payment solutions.
Women Mean Business
Chinchilla, Nuria; Jiménez, Esther
The future of global organizations depends on their ability to incorporate diverse perspectives in their top management teams and to harness the wealth of talent and value that women bring. So why are so few women represented in corporate leadership today? This article describes the barriers to progress and suggests some of the key actions that companies can take, not only to attract, cultivate and retain female talent but to create a balanced ecosystem that benefits both men and women. As markets become increasingly competitive and globalized, and with women driving consumer purchasing, bringing more female talent to the table becomes vital for survival -- not to mention it being a matter of fairness and human values.
Is the Team Right? Is It Time to Shift Gears?
Professional end-users can provide vital knowledge to help companies identify market needs and develop new products successfully. Yet having professional users on a management team does not always guarantee success. In fact, they can sometimes bog down the innovation process. In this article, the author summarizes his findings on end-user involvement in the innovation process, based on his work at Stanford. From needs-finding to prototype development and testing, users are a critical part of the process. His research suggests where users are best utilized in the process and in what roles, and when may be the best time to transition from needs finding to prototype development and testing.
The Future of Governance
The onward march of globalization, internationalization, digitalization and regulation have made corporate governance an increasingly complex affair, demanding that boards live up to the expectations of today and tomorrow. Especially in key areas such as strategic oversight and risk supervision, the board's remit requires raised levels of competence as well as ethical and responsible behavior. Distilling years of experience on the boards of various companies across multiple industries around the world, the author identifies 10 major trends to watch, as boards of directors aspire to become the vital governance instrument for company management that they were intended to be.
This article explores how senior managers might choose to address the challenge of environmental sustainability, not just for the sake of it being a moral imperative, but to perform their fiduciary responsibilities and to prepare their companies for the disruptive changes that the future holds. Given the gulf between how senior managers perceive the world and how activists, journalists and legislators see it, the path toward better environmental performance is likely to be an arduous one for many companies. While there are no easy solutions, the author suggests six strategic options and an equal number of steps to bolster the chances of choosing the right path.
A More Holistic View of the Firm
Respect for business has fallen. This article suggests how to make companies respected institutions in society once again. The author starts by arguing that a firm's heterogeneous goals cannot be limited to short-term economic performance. Instead, top managers need to embrace a much more holistic view of the firm and its goals. Then, he outlines the qualities that make a firm a respected institution and he presents a framework to assess the firm's performance in this regard. Finally, he offers some pointers for CEOs to help restore their credibility as leaders.
Crafting Your Vantage Point
Many discussions of raising national competitiveness take the "global factory" model as their starting point. This model essentially assumes that the primary way for less developed economies to catch up is to carry out low value-added activities within the global supply chain. The inevitable result is a frantic race to the bottom, where being competitive means being the lowest cost provider. This article proposes a markedly different approach based on the orchestration of an economy's "Vantage Point." Rather than cutting costs (and living standards), countries should instead focus on enhancing the value of the goods and services they naturally produce. Examples from Spain's Basque Country, Mexico and Colombia illustrate how intense collaboration and innovation in the production process -- even in the production of what may seem to be basic commodities -- can lead to a virtuous circle of value optimization and economic development.
Integrate to Innovate
As leaders face a global business environment marked by volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) conditions, a new way to sense and respond to the environment is required. Specifically, leaders need to adopt integrative mindsets -- capable of balancing both "core" and "edge" concerns, resolving tensions among opposing ideas and using them to generate innovative outcomes. This article describes the values, attributes, actions and behaviors that have proven to be successful, based on practical examples, business research and the author's personal experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. He presents an ambidextrous framework that combines the ingredients for successful execution today with the innovative capacity required for growth tomorrow. In this sense, a Strategic Integration Unit can give much-needed impetus and focus.
The Keys to Organizational Effectiveness
Galinsky, Adam D.; Schweitzer, Maurice
Having a well-defined hierarchy can contribute to organizational effectiveness: it helps people know who does what, when and how, and promotes efficient interactions by setting clear expectations for the behaviors of people of different ranks. This is especially true when people feel under threat, helping to restore a sense of order and control. However, sometimes hierarchy can hurt as much as it helps. In complex, dynamic situations, leaders need access to the most complete and varied information to make the best decisions. During such times, hierarchy can be catastrophic if it suppresses the voices of lower ranking members. In this article, the authors provide insight into how to harness the benefits of hierarchy while mitigating its downsides. Armed with this knowledge, managers can create hierarchies that lead to victory with the fewest casualties along the way.