By: Harvard Business Review
A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management from Harvard Business Review.
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Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s third CEO, opens up about his effort to refresh the culture of the company and renew its focus on the future. He reflects on important life lessons he learned growing up in India, immigrating to the U.S., and working for Microsoft for 25 years. Nadella thinks of the past, he says, for the sake of the future—of technology, public policy, and work. His new autobiography is "Hit Refresh."
Long-term thinking, short-term savvy, and relentless focus on employees.
John Kerry, former U.S. Secretary of State, shares management and leadership lessons from his long career in public service. He discusses how to win people over to your side, bounce back from defeats, and never give up on your long-term goals. He also calls on private sector CEOs to do more to solve social and political problems. Kerry’s new memoir is "Every Day Is Extra."
Francesca Gino, a professor at Harvard Business School, shares a compelling business case for curiosity. Her research shows allowing employees to exercise their curiosity can lead to fewer conflicts and better outcomes. However, even managers who value inquisitive thinking often discourage curiosity in the workplace because they fear it's inefficient and unproductive. Gino offers several ways that leaders can instead model, cultivate, and even recruit for curiosity. Gino is the author of the HBR article "The Business Case for Curiosity."
Bill Kerr, a professor at Harvard Business School, studies the increasing importance of talent clusters in our age of rapid technological advances. He argues that while talent and industries have always had a tendency to cluster, today's trend towards San Francisco, Boston, London and a handful of other cities is different. Companies need to react and tap into those talent pools, but moving the company to one isn't always an option. Kerr talks about the three main ways companies can access talent. He's the author of the HBR article "Navigating Talent Hot Spots," as well as the book "The Gift of Global Talent: How Migration Shapes Business, Economy & Society."
Mike Ovitz, a cofounder of Creative Artists Agency and former president of The Walt Disney Company, says there are many parallels between the movie and music industry of the 1970s and 1980s and Silicon Valley today. When it comes to managing creatives, he says you have to have patience and believe in the work. But to get that work made, you have to have shrewd negotiating skills. Ovitz says he now regrets some of the ways he approached business in his earlier years, and advises young entrepreneurs about what he's learned along the way. He's the author of the new memoir "Who Is Michael Ovitz?" Editor's note: This post was updated September 26, 2018 to correct the title of Ovitz's book.
Beth Comstock, the first female vice chair at General Electric, thinks companies large and small often approach innovation the wrong way. They either try to throw money at the problem before it has a clear market, misallocate resources, or don't get buy in from senior leaders to enact real change. Comstock spent many years at GE - under both Jack Welsh's and Jeffrey Immelt's leadership - before leaving the company late last year. She's the author of the book "Imagine It Forward: Courage, Creativity, and the Power of Change.”
Ming Zeng, the chief strategy officer at Alibaba, talks about how the China-based e-commerce company was able to create the biggest online shopping site in the world. He credits Alibaba’s retail and distribution juggernaut to leveraging automation, algorithms, and networks to better serve customers. And he says in the future, successful digital companies will use technologies such as artificial intelligence, the mobile internet, and cloud computing to redefine how value is created. Zeng is the author of "Smart Business: What Alibaba's Success Reveals about the Future of Strategy.”
Marc Effron, president of the Talent Strategy Group, looked at the scientific literature behind high performance at work and identified eight steps we can all take to get an edge. Among those steps is taking care of your body -- sleep, exercise, and nutrition. But the most important is sleep. He offers some practical advice on getting more and better rest, and making time to exercise. Effron is the author of the new book, "8 Steps to High Performance: Focus On What You Can Change (Ignore the Rest)."
Sunil Gupta, a professor at Harvard Business School, argues that many companies are still doing digital strategy wrong. Their leaders think of "going digital" as either a way to cut costs or to attract customers with a flashy new app. Gupta says successful digital strategy is more complicated than that. He recommends emulating the multi-faceted strategies of leading digital companies. Gupta's the author of “Driving Digital Strategy: A Guide to Reimagining Your Business."
Rebecca Shambaugh, a leadership coach, says being too collaborative can actually hold you back at work. Instead of showing how well you build consensus and work with others, it can look like indecision or failure to prioritize. She explains what to do if you over-collaborate, how to manage someone who does, and offers some advice for women — whose bosses are more likely to see them as overly consensus-driven. Shambaugh is the author of the books "It's Not a Glass Ceiling, It's a Sticky Floor" and "Make Room For Her."
David Burkus, a professor at Oral Roberts University and author of the book “Friend of a Friend,” explains common misconceptions about networking. First, trading business cards at a networking event doesn’t mean you’re a phony. Second, your most valuable contacts are actually the people you already know. Burkus says some of the most useful networking you can do involves strengthening your ties with old friends and current coworkers.