There’s that project you’ve left on the backburner – the one with the deadline that’s growing uncomfortably near. And there’s the client whose phone call you really should return – the one that does nothing but complain and eat up your valuable time.
Why is it that between 25% and 50% of people report feeling overwhelmed or burned out at work? It’s not just the number of hours we’re working, but also the fact that we spend too many continuous hours juggling too many things at the same time.
Why don’t successful people and organizations automatically become very successful? One important explanation is due to what I call “the clarity paradox,” which can be summed up in four predictable phases: Phase 1: When we really have clarity of purpose, it leads to success.
We all know the story. A team creates a groundbreaking new innovation only to see it mired in internal debates. When it is eventually launched in the market, there is an initial flurry of sales to early adopters, but then sales cycles become sluggish.
Every person is at least 75% responsible for how others treat them. Our verbal and nonverbal actions limit or expand the options of others.
My father-in-law grew up eating blood soup. He hated it, whether because of the taste or the humiliation, I never knew. His alcoholic father regularly drank up the family wage, and the family was often short on food money. They were evicted from apartment after apartment.
We all know that job satisfaction often hinges on the quality of the relationships we have with our bosses. Yet in today’s rapidly evolving, 24/7 workplaces, it’s not always clear what managers should do to create the most satisfying work experiences and the happiest employees.
Managers want employees to put in long days, respond to their emails at all hours, and willingly donate their off-hours — nights, weekends, vacation — without complaining.
Over the course of a typical workday, negative and positive things inevitably happen to you. If you’re like most people, you tend to focus mainly, or even exclusively, on negative experiences.
In a recent strategy meeting we attended with the leaders of a Fortune-500 company, the word “culture” came up 27 times in 90 minutes. Business leaders believe a strong organizational culture is critical to success, yet culture tends to feel like some magic force that few know how to control.
The world is full of people with opinions. Television, radio, and other media are brimming over with commentators making suggestions and offering seemingly authoritative advice to government officials and corporate executives about what they ought to do.
After sending out hundreds of copies of my résumé to dozens of companies over the last year, I realized that I was getting nowhere because my approach was wrong. What I had failed to do was ask myself some of the tough and honest questions early on.
Everyone aspires to have purpose or meaning in their career but how do you actually do that? What practical steps can you take today or this month to make sure you’re not just toiling away at your desk but you’re doing something you genuinely care about?
A few years ago, a CEO assured me that his company was the market leader. “Clients will not leave for competitors,” he added. “It costs too much for them to switch.” Within weeks, the manufacturing giant Procter & Gamble elected not to renew its contract with the firm.
Nobody loves meetings. But they can be especially taxing for people who crave a quieter setting for brainstorming or thinking through issues, or who struggle to have their voices heard in a room full of loud-talkers.
A growing body of research suggests certain types of development activities can effectively build the capacity for resilience.
People are drawn to those who look and act the romanticized role of the leader. But charismatic leadership can have a dark side.
I’m convinced that the ingredient for the effective use of data and analytics that is in shortest supply is managers’ understanding of what is possible. Data, hardware, and software are available in droves, but human comprehension of the possibilities they enable is much less common.
Each year, HBR asks 10 stars in fields outside business — whether it’s politics, sports, the arts, or competitive chess —to offer wisdom on topics of interest to our readers. Here are the highlights from the class of 2015:
It is quiet and dark. The theater is hushed. James Bond skirts along the edge of a building as his enemy takes aim. Here in the audience, heart rates increase and palms sweat. I know this to be true because instead of enjoying the movie myself, I am measuring the brain activity of a dozen viewers.
I first started working for Apple on the PR agency side at Porter Novelli in Sydney, Australia in 1997. Steve Jobs had just returned to the company and the product line was a shamble of computers with confusing names, printers, scanners, and a curious, yet ill-conceived PDA called the Newton.
At some point in their careers, most leaders have either consciously — or, more likely, unwittingly — based (or justified) their approach to motivation on Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs.
When web designer Ben Blumenfeld was working for a major TV network, he was responsible for creating websites for mainstream shows. One day, he made a breakthrough that led to a significant uptake on a show, but the success struck Ben in a way he had not expected.
Each year, companies are spending nearly three-quarters of a billion dollars in an effort to improve employee engagement — yet you’ll get wildly inconsistent answers if you ask managers what that means. Academics, consultants, and leaders have been grappling with that question for decades.
Urban planners the world over yearn to replicate the success of Silicon Valley: witness Thames Valley (England) and Silicon Oasis (Dubai), to name just two of these attempts. Invariably, these well-intentioned efforts fail for the simple reason that they’re trying to replicate the wrong model.
There are three popular explanations for the clear under-representation of women in management, namely: (1) they are not capable; (2) they are not interested; (3) they are both interested and capable but unable to break the glass-ceiling: an invisible career barrier, based on prejudiced stereotypes,
Ping! Something needs your attention. Is it an email? A tweet? A text? A reminder on your phone? A calendar invite? Ping! Another one. Ping! There’s that sound again. Or maybe it’s a visual cue, an ever-ascending ticker count on your app icons or inbox.
A rising young executive found herself strategically ousted in an internal power play. Jill had all the chops to rise to the corner office: consistent top 10% performer, hardworking, intelligent, personable, driven, multilingual, an MBA from a top-tier school.
This was not your best week. Something didn’t go right. Let’s say it was a negotiation that didn’t play out your way. What do you do afterward? You might go to a bar with friends, talk to your spouse, or call your mom. But those are just delay tactics. Soon the ruminating will begin.
When individual contributors are tapped to manage large-scale projects, oversee direct reports, or participate in strategic planning, they need to develop new skill sets on the fly — skills such as interpersonal dexterity, emotional agility, and communication savvy.
A little stress goes a long way. Here's how to identify the “Productive Range of Distress.”
According to a recent Harvard Business Review cover story, it’s rarely useful to give feedback to colleagues. The authors argue that constructive criticism won’t help people excel and that, when you highlight someone’s shortcomings, you actually hinder their learning.
We have a problem—and the odd thing is we not only know about it, we’re celebrating it. Just today, someone boasted to me that she was so busy she’s averaged four hours of sleep a night for the last two weeks. She wasn’t complaining; she was proud of the fact. She is not alone.
It takes the average CEO a quarter of a century to reach that position. But some get there quicker—here's how.
Since we now expect learning to be as simple and compelling as watching YouTube, hundreds of video-based content providers and MOOCs offer free bite-sized content for us to consume on our phones while sitting in the coffee shop or standing in the subway.
Recent cases highlighted in the media suggest that executives, in a desperate quest to quench the market’s unquenchable thirst for growth, are ignoring reason and dictating growth targets so insurmountable that their employees are turning to unethical and perhaps illegal means to achieve their goa
When you join an organization, you have a short window of time to adapt to its culture. It’s the old 90-day rule. And we know too many talented individuals who have stumbled in their new company because they failed to read the cultural tea leaves.
Scale isn’t what it used to be. It’s never been easier to start a company, and as a result new entrants are unbundling incumbents’ businesses and chipping away at their advantage.
Conflicting with your superiors may not be a daily occurrence, but there are times when it’s necessary. Here’s some tips on how to go about it.
In a world where the average employee sends and receives 122 emails per day and attends an average of 62 meetings per month, your boss or HR leadership simply doesn’t have the time or bandwidth to properly think through how best to deploy your talents moving forward.
What’s the secret to a fulfilling career? Most advice focuses on finding purpose and satisfaction in your work. If you can just land the perfect job doing meaningful work, you’ll finally be happy.
I recently worked my way through Edmund Morris’s first two Teddy Roosevelt biographies, The Rise of Theodore Roosevelt and Theodore Rex. Roosevelt wasn’t without flaws, but he was by nearly all accounts fascinating and intellectually voracious.
The year 1995 was heralded as the beginning of the “New Economy.” Digital communication was set to upend markets and change everything. But economists by and large didn’t buy into the hype. It wasn’t that we didn’t recognize that something changed.
In today’s busy world, convenience seems to outweigh consequence, especially with how people use their mobile devices. Using free public Wi-Fi networks, for example, comes with any number of serious security risks, yet surveys show that the overwhelming majority of Americans do it anyway.
Working backwards and breaking free from the norm exposes new and unique opportunities you probably haven’t considered.
Reid Hoffman is one of Silicon Valley’s grown-ups. After helping to found PayPal, he moved on to found LinkedIn, in 2002, which has turned him into a billionaire. He was an early investor in Facebook and now serves as a partner at the venture capital firm Greylock.
Several years ago, colleagues and I were invited to predict the results of a start-up pitch contest in Vienna, where 2,500 tech entrepreneurs were competing to win thousands of euros in funds.
If you’re working in the kitchen of Anthony Bourdain, legendary chef of Brasserie Les Halles, best-selling author, and famed television personality, you don’t dare so much as boil hot water without attending to a ritual that’s essential for any self-respecting chef: mise-en-place.
It’s widely believed that the most successful entrepreneurs are young. Bill Gates, Steve Jobs, and Mark Zuckerberg were in their early twenties when they launched what would become world-changing companies.