Issue January/February 2024 - Harvard Business Review (2024)

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Issue January/February 2024 - Harvard Business Review (1)

January/February 2024

For over 80 years, Harvard Business Review magazine has been an indispensable and unrivaled source of ideas, insight, and inspiration for business leaders worldwide. Each issue contains breakthrough ideas on strategy, leadership, innovation and management. Now, newly redesigned, HBR presents these ideas in a smart new design with improved navigation and rich infographics. Become a more effective leader by subscribing to Harvard Business Review.



6 Issues

in this issue
DepartmentsWhy It’s So Hard to Get Things DoneTHERE’S A GREAT LINE in John Prine’s song “Angel from Montgomery” that goes: “How the hell can a person go to work in the morning and come home in the evening and have nothing to say?”It’s a comment on relationships and dashed dreams, but it also hints at one of the core challenges of work. We want our jobs to matter, to give us something to talk about, but we can’t always attain that level of engagement.Writing in HBR more than a decade ago, authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer touched on one aspect of meaningful work, identifying what they called the progress principle: “Of all the things that can boost emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday, the single most important is making progress in meaningful work.”Their article identified…2 min
DepartmentsContributorsh*tendra Wadhwa, a professor at Columbia Business School and the founder of the Mentora Institute, approaches executive performance with a mathematician’s rigor and a truth seeker’s spirit. “The problems we confront as leaders today seem contemporary, but many of the keys to bringing the best out of ourselves and others are buried in spiritual texts and practices,” he says. “My job is to fuse ancient wisdom with modern science.” In this article, Wadhwa explains how executives can draw on mystical traditions and cutting-edge research to activate a high performance state of mind for leading effectively in the moment.During her first week at Cambridge University, Sylvia Ann Hewlett’s tutor told her she must fix her “horrid” working-class accent if she wanted to be taken seriously. Hewlett couldn’t afford elocution lessons, so…2 min
IN THIS ISSUEInspiring confidence.In an age of distrust, leaders need to know how to overcome the skepticism of their employees, colleagues, and customers. So we’ve collected the most-relevant HBR advice on building trust.This issue addresses the topic at both the personal level and the organizational level, including everything from how to show your authentic self, build others’ confidence in your skills, and develop their faith in your character, to navigating today’s digital privacy needs, AI challenges, and brand reputation.WINTER ISSUE NOW AVAILABLE ON NEWSSTANDS AND ON HBR.ORG.Harvard Business ReviewEach quarterly Harvard Business Review Special Issue focuses on a single, timely theme and includes expert-authored articles from HBR’s rich archives, along with concise article summaries.…1 min
Idea WatchLessons from Large Family Firms About Choosing a CEOFAMILY BUSINESSES ARE infamous for nepotism and infighting à la Succession, especially when it’s time to appoint a new CEO. To be sure, that’s the reality for many. But when a research team set out to help family firms improve their leadership transitions, it found that large family businesses had much better succession practices than their nonfamily counterparts did—and they outperformed on several measures after new appointees took the reins. “This completely upended our expectations,” says global talent adviser Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a member of the research team.The researchers analyzed all CEO transitions and subsequent organizational results at 58 large U.S. and Canadian publicly owned family firms—those with $1 billion or more in revenue at some point from 2010 to 2018; family voting rights of at least 12.5%; and family members…16 min
Idea Watch“We Don’t Want a Long List of Candidates”What’s been most important in your CEO transitions?Having a strong board, involving it deeply in the planning—and listening to it. The CEO choice has never been a whim of mine. We always give ourselves enough time to plan. Our Apex council—an internal advisory group—tracks talent in all our companies and asks the CEO of each for two or three potential successors under various scenarios: If a new CEO were needed tomorrow, who’s ready? Who will be ready in three years? In five? There’s always a plan for the CEO and executives two or three levels down.What are your must-haves in a new leader?We have a few cultural non-negotiables: integrity, respect for individuals’ dignity, good citizenship. If there’s even an inkling of dissonance with those values, the candidate is out of…3 min
Idea WatchConservative CEOs Pursue Riskier International Deals Than Liberals DoHILL: Evidence suggests that conservatives are generally more risk-averse than liberals are. But that’s not a universal pattern. Research in political psychology has shown that the propensity for risk-taking is domain-specific. In some situations conservative-leaning people are less risk-averse than their liberal counterparts; sometimes they’re actually risk-seeking. That usually happens in contexts where risk-taking leads to greater control over future decisions—something conservatives prize. For example, a number of studies have found that when it comes to investing in business ownership, conservatives take bigger risks than liberals do. Ownership offers them greater control over their livelihood, and that outweighs their characteristic fear of loss.Entering a foreign market is risky to begin with, and acquisitions tend to be more perilous than alliances. They involve a larger, often irreversible financial commitment, and there’s…5 min
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As an expert in business and management, with a deep understanding of organizational dynamics and leadership principles, I can provide insights into the concepts discussed in the Harvard Business Review (HBR) January/February 2024 issue.

  1. Why It’s So Hard to Get Things Done: The article delves into the challenges individuals face in finding meaning and engagement in their work. It refers to the progress principle identified by authors Teresa Amabile and Steven Kramer more than a decade ago. This principle emphasizes the importance of making progress in meaningful work for boosting emotions, motivation, and perceptions during a workday.

  2. Contributors' Insights: Hitendra Wadhwa, a professor at Columbia Business School and the founder of the Mentora Institute, shares his perspective on executive performance. He combines ancient wisdom with modern science to help leaders bring out the best in themselves and others. Sylvia Ann Hewlett's experience at Cambridge University is mentioned, highlighting challenges related to social class and accent in the context of professional credibility.

  3. Inspiring Confidence: The issue emphasizes the need for leaders to build trust in an age of distrust. It provides advice on showing authenticity, building confidence in skills, developing faith in character, and addressing contemporary challenges such as digital privacy, AI, and brand reputation.

  4. Idea Watch - Lessons from Large Family Firms About Choosing a CEO: This article challenges the stereotype of family businesses being plagued by nepotism and infighting during CEO transitions. Research on large family businesses in the U.S. and Canada reveals that they often have better succession practices than nonfamily firms. The article discusses the surprising findings and insights into effective leadership transitions.

  5. Idea Watch - “We Don’t Want a Long List of Candidates”: The piece shares insights from leaders on CEO transitions. It highlights the importance of having a strong board involved in planning, listening to it, and giving sufficient time for planning. The article discusses the role of internal advisory groups and the criteria for selecting new leaders based on cultural non-negotiables.

  6. Idea Watch - Conservative CEOs Pursue Riskier International Deals Than Liberals Do: This article explores the nuanced relationship between political ideology and risk-taking behavior in business. It challenges the notion that conservatives are universally more risk-averse and discusses domain-specific patterns. In the context of international business deals, conservative CEOs might take bigger risks due to the perceived control over future decisions.

These concepts collectively address crucial aspects of leadership, organizational dynamics, and the evolving challenges in the business landscape, offering valuable insights for business leaders and enthusiasts alike.

Issue January/February 2024 - Harvard Business Review (2024)
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