691: Business Lessons from How Marvel Makes Movies
Spencer Harrison, an associate professor at INSEAD, says that managers in any industry can learn from the success of the Marvel movie franchise. While some sequels lack creativity, Marvel manages to make each of its new releases just different enough, so consumers are not just satisfied but also surprised. Research shows that several strategies drive this success; they include bringing in different types of talent while also maintaining a stable core creative team then working together to challenge the superhero action-film formula. And, Harrison argues, leaders in other industries and functions can easily apply them to their own businesses. He is the co-author of the HBR article "Marvel's Blockbuster Machine."
690: The 3 Types of Leaders of Innovative Companies
Deborah Ancona and Kate Isaacs, researchers at MIT Sloan School of Management, say many companies struggle to be nimble with a command-and-control leadership culture. They studied Xerox’s R&D outfit PARC and the materials science company W.L. Gore & Associates and found these highly innovative organizations have three kinds of leaders: entrepreneurial, enabling, and architecting ones. These roles work together to give direction and avoid creative chaos. Ancona and Isaacs are coauthors of the HBR article "Nimble Leadership."
689: Stopping White-Collar Crime at Your Company
Eugene Soltes, associate professor at Harvard Business School, studies white-collar crime and has even interviewed convicts behind bars. While most people think of high-profile scandals like Enron, he says every sizable organization has lapses in integrity. He shares practical tools for managers to identify pockets of ethical violations to prevent them from ballooning into serious reputational and financial damage. Soltes is the author of the HBR article “Where Is Your Company Most Prone to Lapses in Integrity?”
688: How to Fix Your Hiring Process
Peter Cappelli, professor at the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business and director of its Center for Human Resources, says managers at companies large and small are doing hiring all wrong. A confluence of changes, from the onslaught of online tools to a rise in recruitment outsourcing, have promised more efficiency but actually made us less effective at finding the best candidates. Cappelli says there are better, simpler ways to measure whether someone will be a good employee and advises companies to focus more on internal talent. He's the author of the HBR article "Your Approach to Hiring is All Wrong."
687: The Surprising Benefits of Sponsoring Others at Work
Sylvia Ann Hewlett, an economist and the founder of the Center for Talent Innovation, has studied the difference between mentoring and sponsorship and what leaders have to gain from the latter. She says it's important to seek out protégés who outperform, are exceptionally trustworthy, and, most importantly, offer skills, knowledge, and perspectives that differ from your own, so you can maximize the benefits for both parties. Hewlett brings real-world lessons from several successful pairings and tips on how to effectively launch and manage these long-term relationships. She's the author of the book "The Sponsor Effect: How to Be a Better Leader by Investing in Others."