Management Practices

How to beat the other team

May 3, 2011
How do great leaders get organizations to achieve the extraordinary? For starters, they stay focused directly on their customers, not on the competition.

Figuring out the rules of optics

April 25, 2011

As a leader, how you act—and how people react to how you act—matters. For proof, look no further than the public reaction to AIG executives whining about restrictions on their bonuses. In boss land, how you behave and how things look is more important than almost anything else. It’s called the rule of optics.

How deep is your bench?

March 21, 2011
Here’s hoping you don’t run the one in five organizations that are utterly unprepared to cope with the sudden loss of key leaders. In an American Management Association survey, 1,000 senior managers and executives say their companies sorely lack bench strength.

‘Do I need to be on Twitter?’

March 17, 2011

That’s the question Steve Cunningham hears often, as the head of a digital mar­­keting agency. His reply? The true power of social media is in doing things that are worth talking about. He mentions two companies known for creating buzz in social-media circles: Zappos and Apple.

Taking a cue from Dave Matthews Band

February 25, 2011
Despite a precipitous decline in record sales across the music industry, the Dave Matthews Band continues to rock on with high sales and profitable tours. What’s DMB’s secret to becoming one of the top-grossing music tours of 2010?

Never underestimate the underdog

February 10, 2011
It’s a David and Goliath story in which David is CEO of a tiny neighborhood bank, Burke & Herbert Bank & Trust Co., while Goliath is Capital One. Last year, Capital One ran a snide ­radio ad about “Old Dusty Bank” and its leader, “Mr. Burke.” Burke’s customers rallied in his defense …

Clairol’s golden period of growth

February 2, 2011
A fear-driven corporate culture is what Steve Sadove encountered when he took over as president of Clairol in 1991. “Part of my role as the leader was to create an environment that was going to allow innovation and creativity and make it OK to fail,” recalls Sadove. Thus began a golden period of growth for Clairol.

Leadership rules of behavior

December 15, 2010

As a management professor at Stanford, Robert Sutton heard many tales of woe that led to his business best-seller, The No Asshole Rule, whose thesis was simple: Don’t hire jerks. Beyond jerkdom, however, Sutton has a few suggestions about how to behave and how not to behave as a leader:

Learn to let go of punishment

December 6, 2010
Revenge is sweet, but not as sweet as avoiding pain in the first place. That’s worth considering as you confront a team about a screw-up. Here’s a prime example of punishment vs. learning:

The myth of the ‘perfect leader’

November 17, 2010

The concept of the “complete leader” who has it all figured out is finally bowing before the sheer complexity of modern problems. After working with hundreds of people who struggled under the old myth, researchers at the MIT Sloan School of Management and MIT Leadership Center have come up with a new theory: distributed leadership.