EXPERT Insight
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Objectives Are SMART, Missions Are WISE Premium

Employees With Purpose

Rey, Carlos; Chinchilla, Nuria; Pitta, Nuno

Far from staying at the corporate level, missions are increasingly playing a cross-organizational role in companies. Entire divisions, teams and individual workers are setting their own missions across a growing number of firms. Welcome to management by missions (MBM), in which objectives stop being an end in and of themselves and are put to the service of a greater purpose. As the authors argue, while objectives are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant and Time-bound), missions are WISE (Wide, Inspirational, Service-oriented and Evaluable). This article explains each of these attributes and how they are being put into action in all types of companies around the world.

Multiple Paths to Value: Test Two, Choose One Premium

For Entrepreneurs, Choice Matters

Gans, Joshua S.; Stern, Scott

You have an idea for a new business, but there are multiple paths to create and capture value. To choose a path, you have to experiment, but experiments are costly and require at least a partial commitment, which consequently alters the nature of the path, precludes other paths, or worse, takes you down a path of no return. This article describes this entrepreneurial paradox and summarizes the key factors that need to be weighed at every step to hone and optimize make-or-break choices. Although the strategic considerations presented in this article are common to any competitive strategy, the authors discuss the specific ways in which entrepreneurial strategy is different. Rather than using experiments to justify a particular choice, the goal is to whittle down choice sets until you are faced with two equally viable alternatives. That is when to "test two, choose one," which is the recommended approach for decision-making under conditions of uncertainty.

The Keys to Being an Effective Executive Premium

The CEO Agenda

Caldart, Adrian; Carrera, Alejandro; Cornejo, Magdalena

The CEO agenda is worth studying for what it says about, not only how executives spend their time, but also what they aren't spending time on and maybe should. The authors interviewed 180 CEOs operating in Latin America, and discovered telling gaps between what these executives believed they did and what they actually did. The authors then classify 15 key tasks according to their level of priority, highlighting where CEOs may need to devote more time, effort and attention. This article includes a self-check for readers to test themselves on how well they are performing their tasks and living up to their executive roles. It may be time for busy CEOs to revisit their agendas. The future of their companies depends on it.

Tips to Become a Renaissance Manager Premium

Magnifying Human Genius

Goldin, Ian; Kutarna, Chris

Five hundred years ago, the world underwent an upheaval, leading to an eruption of genius known as the Renaissance. Today we are in the midst of another paradigm shift. The danger is we will ignore what we know about the global climate system, the global financial system and intergenerational poverty, and repeat history's mistakes. In this article based on their book, Age of Discovery, the authors draw parallels between the past Renaissance and the present age to suggest what business leaders can do to address the big, enduring shifts of our time. By adopting a broader perspective of the complex human challenges before us, we may one day regard this point in history as our own Renaissance.

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.

Mobile Payments: A Framework for Success Premium

The Keys to a Killer App

Calvo, Eduard

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.

Helping Women Thrive in Your Company Premium

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.

Critical Questions When Launching Innovation Premium

Is the Team Right? Is It Time to Shift Gears?

Zenios, Stefanos

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.

10 Trends for the Board of 2020 Premium

The Future of Governance

Nueno, Pedro

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.

A Strategic Approach to Sustainability Premium

Environmental Sensibility

Rosenberg, Mike

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.

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