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Author: Harvard Business Review

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A weekly podcast featuring the leading thinkers in business and management.
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Smarter Side Gigs

Smarter Side Gigs

2020-05-1928:4513

Ken Banta, founder of the Vanguard Network, and Orlan Boston, partner at Ernst & Young, argue that every aspiring leader needs to have a side gig -- not to pursue a crazy dream or earn some extra cash but to enhance their skills, knowledge, and network in a way that benefits their existing careers. The key is to find meaningful and strategic roles that help you bring new insights and experience to your day job, and you can even let your boss in on your plans. Banta and Boston are the authors of the HBR article "The Strategic Side Gig."
Mark Johnson, cofounder of the consulting firm Innosight, says that too many managers develop strategy while focusing on problems in the present, and that’s especially true during a crisis. Instead, he argues, leaders should imagine the future and work backward, so they can build their organization for that new reality. He shares practical steps managers can take to look beyond the typical short-term planning horizon and help their teams grasp future opportunities. Johnson is the coauthor of the HBR article "Leaders, Do You Have a Clear Vision for the Post-Crisis Future?" and the book "Lead from the Future: How to Turn Visionary Thinking into Breakthrough Growth."
Myriam Sidibe, senior fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School, says that brands are uniquely positioned to encourage shifts in consumer behavior that benefit individuals, communities, and the environment. A public health expert, she has studied these types of mission-led marketing campaigns and helped Unilever design one for Lifebuoy soap that not only promoted hand-washing in the developing world but also boosted the business's bottom line. She explains how companies of any size can find the right causes, craft authentic messages, and measure the return on their investments, adding that the current pandemic and economic crisis have made this work even more important. Sidibe is the author of the HBR article "Marketing Meets Mission."
Rita McGrath, professor at Columbia Business School, says the need for organizations to adopt digital business models is more important than ever. Change is accelerating as startups tackle incumbents. And suddenly the coronavirus crisis is forcing the hand of many companies that have put off digital transformations. She explains how established firms can avoid bet-the-farm moves and instead take small steps and quickly target their experiments. McGrath is the coauthor of the HBR article "Discovery-Driven Digital Transformation."
Vivek Murthy, former U.S. Surgeon General, says that, even before the Covid-19 pandemic, we were facing another health crisis: loneliness. Studies show that, around the world, more people have been feeling a greater sense of social isolation, which has many negative affects, including increased blood pressure, reduced immune response, and decreased engagement and productivity at work. But organizations can be a place where people find a greater sense of belonging. Murthy wants us to take loneliness more seriously and focus on fostering the types of authentic connections -- face-to-face and virtual -- that we need to combat it. He's the author of the book "Together: The Healing Power of Human Connection in a Sometimes Lonely World."
Eric McNulty, associate director of Harvard’s National Preparedness Leadership Initiative, studies how managers successfully lead their companies through crises such as the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster and the Boston Marathon terror attack. He identifies the common traps that leaders fall into and shares how the best ones excel by thinking longer-term and trusting their teams with operational details. He also finds that companies that put people ahead of the bottom line tend to weather these storms better. McNulty is a coauthor of the book “You’re It: Crisis, Change, and How to Lead When It Matters Most” and the HBR article “Are You Leading Through Crisis… Or Managing the Response?”
Alex Lazarow, venture capitalist at Cathay Innovation, says that start-ups in cities around the U.S. and the world are creating their own rules for success. While Silicon Valley companies have sparked key innovations and generated huge wealth over the past few decades, not everyone should use them as a model going forward. In fact, we can learn more from frontier entrepreneurs, who are thinking more creatively about raising capital, sourcing talent, and pursuing social impact. Lazarow is the author of the book "Out-Innovate: How Global Entrepreneurs--from Delhi to Detroit--Are Rewriting the Rules of Silicon Valley."
Stewart Friedman, organizational psychologist at The Wharton School, and Alyssa Westring, associate professor at DePaul University’s Driehaus College of Business, say it’s a mistake for a working parent to think of career and home life as competing interests that have to be balanced. Their research shows how many leadership skills apply to parenting, and vice versa. The professors explain how individuals can stop making tradeoffs and instead find sustainable ways to advance their careers and also parent more effectively. Friedman and Westring are the authors of the book "Parents Who Lead: The Leadership Approach You Need to Parent with Purpose, Fuel Your Career, and Create a Richer Life."
In 1976, broadcast journalist Oprah Winfrey moved to Baltimore to coanchor the evening newscast at a local TV station. But she struggled in that spot and was moved to the morning talk show. That demotion led Winfrey to discover a professional calling that aligned with her personal sensibilities and emerging strengths. In the final episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn trace Winfrey’s career as an entrepreneur and leader of a media empire. They discover lessons on how to cultivate self-awareness, cross traditional boundaries, and responsibly wield influence.
Tsedal Neeley, a professor at Harvard Business School, says that there are simple ways leaders can help their employees stay productive, focused, and psychologically healthy as they work from home during the current global pandemic. The right technology tools and clear and constant communication are more important than ever. She recommends that managers do an official remote-work launch, carefully plan and facilitate virtual meetings, and pay extra attention to workers' behavior. For individual contributors, it's critical to maintain a routine but also embrace flexibility, especially if you're in the house with family.
In 1863, U.S. President Abraham Lincoln wrote a scathing letter to his top Union general, who had squandered a chance to end the Civil War. Then Lincoln folded it up and tucked it away in his desk. He never sent it. Lincoln understood that the first action that comes to mind is often counter-productive. In the third episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn explore Lincoln’s career both before and during America’s greatest crisis. They discover lessons on how to learn continuously, communicate values, and exercise emotional self-control.
Jim McKelvey, entrepreneur and cofounder of Square, says that most companies that think of themselves as innovative are really just copycats. True innovation, he argues, is about fearlessly exploring novel solutions and dramatically expanding markets. Doing so also helps startups defend their innovations against industry giants, as Square did against Amazon. McKelvey is the author of the book “The Innovation Stack: Building an Unbeatable Business One Crazy Idea at a Time.”
In 1958, writer Rachel Carson began her exhaustive research on the effects of widespread pesticide use for her next book, Silent Spring. Over the next four years, she built up an airtight case showing how the world’s most powerful chemical companies were harming animals, plants, and people. Her effort was also a race against time, as she struggled against an aggressive form of breast cancer. In the second episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn trace the modern environmental movement back to Carson’s pioneering reporting and powerful prose. They discover lessons in how to strengthen your resilience, gather your energy and skills for a coming challenge, and why caretaking is an act of leadership.
Rebecca Henderson, professor at Harvard Business School, says that both capitalism and democracy are failing us. She argues that it will take public and private leaders working together to simultaneously fix these two systems because free markets don't function well without free politics and healthy government needs corporate support to survive. She is calling on the business community to take the first step. Henderson is the author of the upcoming book "Reimagining Capitalism in a World on Fire." And the March Big Idea article, "The Business Case for Saving Democracy."
In 1915, polar explorer Ernest Shackleton’s ship became trapped in ice, north of Antarctica. For the next two years, he kept his crew of 27 men alive on a drifting ice cap, then led them in their escape. How Shackleton did that has become one of the most famous leadership case studies. In the first episode of a four-part special series on leadership, HBR Editor in Chief Adi Ignatius and Harvard Business School professor and historian Nancy Koehn analyze Shackleton’s leadership during the struggle to survive. They discover lessons in building a team, learning from bad bosses, and cultivating empathy.
Michelle King, director of inclusion at Netflix, says it’s time to stop telling women to adapt to the male-dominated workplace and time for the workplace itself to change. Her prior academic research shows that diversity training and anti-harassment efforts address important issues but fall short of creating gender equality in organizations. She identifies the real obstacles and shares how leaders can create a culture of equality at work, for women and men alike. King is the author of the book "The Fix: Overcome the Invisible Barriers That Are Holding Women Back at Work.”
Joel Peterson, chairman of JetBlue Airways, has spent a career leading teams, building businesses, and managing people at every level. Along the way, he's learned valuable lessons about the best ways to bring on new talent – as well as when and how to let people go. He also teaches at the Stanford Graduate School of Business and is the author of the book “Entrepreneurial Leadership: The Art of Launching New Ventures, Inspiring Others, and Running Stuff.”
Kim Scott, a cofounder of the executive coaching firm Radical Candor, says that too many managers give meaningless positive feedback, while many others are highly critical without showing any understanding. Scott, who previously worked at Google and has consulted for Twitter and Dropbox, says leaders should learn to give honest feedback in the moment, while also developing a relationship that shows how the hard feedback is coming from a place of caring. She explains the steps managers can take to challenge more directly while also communicating empathy. Scott is the author of the book "Radical Candor: Be a Kick-Ass Boss Without Losing Your Humanity."
Laura Huang, associate professor at Harvard Business School, has studied groups that face bias in the workplace, from entrepreneurs with accents to women and people of color. She says that the best way for individuals to overcome this type of adversity is to acknowledge and harness it, so it plays to their advantage instead of holding them back. Start by recognizing your outsider status and the preconceived notions others might have about you, then surprise them by showing how you defy their expectations and can offer unique value. Huang is the author of the book "Edge: Turning Adversity Into Advantage."
Stefan Thomke, professor at Harvard Business School, says running experiments can give companies tremendous value, but too often business leaders make decisions based on intuition. While A/B testing on large transaction volumes is common practice at Google, Booking.com, and Netflix, Thomke says even small firms can get a competitive advantage from experiments. He explains how to introduce, run, and learn from them, as well as how to cultivate an experimental mindset at your organization. Thomke is the author of the book "Experimentation Works: The Surprising Power of Business Experiments" and the HBR article "Building a Culture of Experimentation."
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Comments (54)

حسین یزدی

very good

May 23rd
Reply

Nikhil Parmar

very nice

Apr 16th
Reply

Business Dz

What's the name of the book

Apr 15th
Reply

fatemeh shahmohammad

oh my Goooooodd why is there the ending tune for the ENTIRE last five minutes !!!!!

Mar 28th
Reply

Emine Kucukbenli

another one of those podcasts that could have been delivered in five minutes stretched to 25.. I expect better from HBR

Mar 12th
Reply

Amin reza Lakzian

When we say workplaces need to change, then we think about what we can alter to make this change realize. We have physical setting, structure etc. and if we alter these then the workplace would change. But the most important thing that is essential for changing a workplace is the underlying assumptions and for that to change actually members of the workplace need to change because the assumptions are set in the minds of all members. Members of any institute as any other human being change. We all change with the passage of time somehow and changing is inevitable. The important thing is how we change and in which direction. I think if workplaces are to change in the direction of equality then not only women but also men member to that workplace need to change. I think such change is best achieved via interaction of members in other words I think members make the change happen.

Mar 11th
Reply

Amin reza Lakzian

Another great man from the land of noble women and men. Men and women being equal yet are different and that is one of the aesthetics of our lives. Women seem to know intuitively some of the very important things that men must learn in their lives and that’s why the presence of a father figure for a man in his life is a lot more important than role models in women’s lives. Mr. Shakelton has had a meeting with Mr. Churchill before his journey. Such men are so infrequent in the history that British people as a nation not best known for their humility must find examples from great contemporary leaders of other nations to illustrate his scale for their new generation. Relying on the notion of transformational leadership one could say that such figures are alchemists in real world. They have the power to transform a man to a competent leader by their words and actions. Mr. Shakelton has had the privilege of meeting such a great figure and no doubt this meeting has transformed him to some extent. Men learn how to act and I think that if a man is supportive of his subordinates he has received support, if he’s generous, he has received generosity. If he’s resilient he has seen resilience in the epics of his life. Nevertheless Mr. Shakelton has definitely been a competent man as learning itself is a great exploit. Many thanks for the informative and interesting case study, always looking forward to new ones

Mar 6th
Reply

Kasey Schick Harris

I'd like to add another possible reasons for someone not asking for help. As a mid level manager, I occasionally get feedback to ask for help more often. But as a kinesthetic learner, I often don't know what to ask for help for. I jump in and start something without knowing what I will need help with until I'm there. So being able to ask for help in advance, is sometimes a challenge. If I anticipate it bring a large project, I'll spend the time to identify areas I may need help with though.

Feb 26th
Reply

Ravi Thatté

Excellent, easy to use, game changing idea.

Feb 25th
Reply

Emine Kucukbenli

One of the worst episodes I'm afraid.. the main message is a five minutes summary at best. sadly the guest goes around some questions that could actually expand the subject and make the episode worth listening.

Jan 29th
Reply

saikrishna katta

best podcast♥️

Jan 9th
Reply

Rick Johnson

Nice refresher on not being afraid to ask for assistance.

Dec 26th
Reply (1)

Rick Johnson

Enjoy her approach to marketing and operations. It forces the employer to slow down and become mindful than throw money at the problem or look for the low hanging fruit.

Dec 20th
Reply

Surya Prakash

An excellent succinct quantitatively supporting research to follow the slogan of "Failing Fast". The Tipping point of success region and stagnation region. Demystifying that not all failures lead to successes and that what we need to do after we encounter each failure. And that the difference between failure and success is not "black and white" but a very thin line.

Dec 20th
Reply

Rick Johnson

Good info.

Dec 20th
Reply (1)

Michel Depière

This person speaks from an ivory tower. She combines thoughts of user experience, branding, emotional marketing and the basics of connecting with a potential customer. In a world where choice of similar products is abundant a good marketer find the connection on emotion and not solely on merit of the product. Please spend a week in a good marketing crew and not only talk to c level people and you'll get a totally different view.

Dec 10th
Reply

Alexey Shifman

Thanks for interesting ideas. Wonderful to see the ways for improvements

Nov 22nd
Reply

M D (Dashka)

awesome

Nov 8th
Reply

Rohit Vichare

not quite intuitive

Aug 29th
Reply

Rajnish Kumar

I am stilll not convinced how business intent is different from mission and vision. It would be really great if prof. can explain it with some examples.

Aug 26th
Reply
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