Blown Deadlines Can Crush Big Ideas

Blown Deadlines Can Crush Big Ideas

Blown Deadlines Can Crush Big Ideas

The Harvard Business Working Review Article, written by Rachel Lane, shares the insights and tips for the so-called deadline issue, given by Andy Wu (RCC at Harvard Executive Program Speaker, he is Assistant Professor of Business Administration in the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School, where he teaches in the MBA and Executive Education programs) and Aticus Peterson (Ph.D. candidate in the Strategy Unit at Harvard Business School. He conducts research on how entrepreneurs and investors can overcome cognitive constraints to better manage unknowns and achieve competitive advantage). In fact, both researchers came out to work on this study from their own frustrations: Peterson’s as a venture capitalist and Wu’s as an entrepreneur. 

 “After a successful launch, entrepreneurs struggle to anticipate the complexities of product upgrades, says research by Andy Wu andAticus Peterson. They offer three tips to help startups avoid disastrous delays”
Rachel Layne
Becoming a Customer-Centered Company

Becoming a Customer-Centered Company

Becoming a Customer-Centered Company

Via Harvard Business Review, content sponsored by Salesforce

In a recentresearch report by Harvard Business Review Analytic Services, 88% of survey respondents say it is very important to have a complete and consistent view of their customers across their sales, service, and support channels and platforms.Yet only 31% say they have such a unified view.

Brian Solis, HBR

Assessing current state customer experiences

What separates today’s experiences from tomorrow’s improvements starts with assessing current state customer experiences and how they’re supported across your business. A current state assessment is a critical enabler of transformation that tells you where you are so you can chart a course of action.

Define and articulate what a vision for best-in-class CX should look and feel like.

This vision becomes your motivator for a future state: the sheet music for all the cross-functional teams, technology, processes, and policies in your customer-centered symphony“.

Identify the touchpoints, processes, training, and systems gaps

Identify the touchpoints, processes, training, and systems gaps your organization needs to create or improve to deliver the upgraded CX vision. Think of this as an aspirational customer journey map. It’s not about mapping touchpoints and pathways, however; it’s a blueprint for the future, incorporating all the customer-centered enhancements that will deliver the desired experience”.

Connect and align sources to produce a single view of the customer

To keep up with customers and to deliver a personalized, connected, and evergreen customer experience, connect customer data and engagement records to key touchpoints and transactions that define their experience with your organization“.

Define, prioritize, and align the resources, tools, roadmaps, timelines, and metrics

“To begin transforming into a customer-centered company. By creating a cross-functional team that reports directly to senior leadership, you’re committing to this customer-centered vision—putting your transformation plan into action so you can clearly hear the voice of your customer”.

All these elements working in harmony add up to a human-centered culture, focused on optimizing customer centricity with speed and agility.


By Bret Taylor, President, Chief Operating Officer, Salesforce.

The global pandemic accelerated change across nearly every aspect of our personal and professional lives.
The question for all of us is how best to act when there’s still so much uncertainty. The key thing we’ve learned, alongside our customers, is that COVID-19 is an accelerant — an accelerant for change that had already begun. It supercharged a pivot to customer-centricity, to rethinking how you serve your employees and customers, the importance of employee experience, and how to reinvent yourself for the all-digital, work-from-anywhere world. Yet conventional attitudes, silos, and legacy systems often stand between leaders and customer-centricity. And while technology can help, it alone is not the answer. Simply applying new technology to old ways of doing things won’t magically change the way your teams deliver a great customer experience at scale. I’ve noticed transformation happens when leaders stop focusing internally on technology, products, departments, or systems — and recenter around their customers.
It’s easy to say, harder to do. We hope this playbook helps you confidently lead change. Our work with thousands of C-suite leaders from organizations of all sizes and industries has uncovered patterns of what it takes for successful companies to get it right as they evolve to be more customer-centric. Whether you’re a CEO in financial services, a CIO in B2B tech, or another leader ready to make meaningful change, I hope this playbook helps you bring the customer closer to the center of your business.
A Guide for Exceptional Performance – New Video

A Guide for Exceptional Performance – New Video

A Guide for Exceptional Performance | New Harvard Video

via Harvard Business Working Knowledge

In Better, Simpler StrategyFelix Oberholzer-Gee shows how even the most innovative companies adhere to one basic principle. He delves further into his framework in a new video

“Companies that raise customer willingness to pay in a distinctive manner attract the very customers that find the firm’s products and services extra appealing,” says Oberholzer-Gee, the Andreas Andresen Professor of Business Administration. “No wonder these businesses end up receiving rave reviews and loyal customers.”


 In his new book, Félix Oberholzer-Gee shows how even the most innovative companies adhere to one basic principle: the creation of VALUE. In this interview published on the Harvard Business Working Knowledge, Oberholzer-Gee shares some insights on creating value with Danielle Kost (editor in-chief of HBSWK). The article also shares some figures on creating value, sharing it with customers, employees and suppliers, and an example of Apple, who  benefits from raising and having a high WTP (Willingness To Pay) and low WTS (Willingness To Sell), thanks to their engaging work  that creates value.

>>Read more about the book content in our blog

Getting the best out of anxiety

Getting the best out of anxiety

Get the best Out Of Anxiety | New Harvard Article

by Francesca Gino, Professor of Business Administration at Harvard Business School

Anxiety can hobble even the most confident leaders. In this Harvard Business Working Knowledge article “When Your Nerves Get the Best of You, Change the Narrative” Francesca Gino offers three strategies that she uses to turn nerve-wracking situations into meaningful experiences.

Expect to do well

“This phenomenon holds true outside of medicine. How I expect to do at something beforehand—whether a meeting with a potential client, a joint project with new colleagues, or teaching a class full of executives—actively influences how I actually do. When I expect to do well, I feel more comfortable and excited, and as a result, I perform better. Not only that, research shows that I am also judged by others as more competent”

Reframe your anxiety as excitement

“This is how I ultimately made the turn with my stressful teaching gig: As I kept walking across campus to face the room full of executives, I decided to think of class as a great learning opportunity—even if I bombed. My anxiety about all the ways I wasn’t like the other instructors, I told myself, was really excitement about being included among such an accomplished team. This reframing worked: I felt far less stressed, and the program went well. I did learn from the experience, and eventually I became a regular teacher in the executive education programs”.

Focus on your strengths

“In the face of a challenge, then, one of the best strategies for engaging with our anxiety is to recall, and steer into, what we’re good at. Think of how coaches work with professional athletes: They might do some work on “weaknesses,” but mostly they are building on areas of tremendous skill. In the same way, when we turn our attention to our areas of greatest competence—rather than focus on all the ways we fall short—we allow our true selves to shine. This authenticity makes us more likely to secure jobs, higher ratings in our presentations, and money for entrepreneurial ventures or deals“.

What separates a good idea from a truly great one?

What separates a good idea from a truly great one?

Better, Simpler Strategy

New Book by our Program Speaker and Advisory Board Member, Harvard prof. Félix Oberholzer

“Why are mall owners so generous to Apple? As figure 3 illustrates, malls have a particularly low WTS in their relationship with Apple; this is because the company increases foot traffic by about 10 percent for all the other stores in the mall. And, as the figure suggests, a busier mall allows owners to increase the rent for all the other stores to about 15 percent of sales” 


“Every company that I studied for the book has many talented individuals with interesting-sounding ideas. There are dozens and dozens of proposals for projects. Value-based strategy teaches how to select among these ideas and projects. The most successful firms are very strict: Unless an idea creates value for customers, employees, or suppliers, they do not touch it. It might be fun to do. It might be interesting to explore, but it’s not going to create the kind of value that ultimately gets translated into financial success”

Félix Oberholzer-Gee

“In his new book, Félix Oberholzer-Gee shows how even the most innovative companies adhere to one basic principle: the creation of VALUE. In this interview published on the Harvard Business Working Knowledge, Oberholzer-Gee shares some insights on creating value with Danielle Kost (editor in-chief of HBSWK). The article also shares some figures on creating value, sharing it with customers, employees and suppliers, and an example of Apple, who  benefits from raising and having a high WTP (Willingness To Pay) and low WTS (Willingness To Sell), thanks to their engaging work  that creates value. 

About the Book

Get to a better, more effective strategy. In nearly every business segment and corner of the world economy, the most successful companies dramatically outperform their rivals. What is their secret? In “Better, Simpler Strategy,” Harvard Business School professor Felix Oberholzer-Gee shows how these companies achieve more by doing less. “Better, Simpler Strategy” provides readers with a simple tool, the value stick, which every organization can use to make its strategy more effective and easier to execute. Based on proven financial mechanics, the value stick helps executives decide where to focus their attention and how to deepen the competitive advantage of their business. How does the value stick work? It provides a way of measuring the two fundamental forces that lead to value creation and increased financial success–the customer’s willingness-to-pay and the employee’s willingness-to-sell their services to the business. Companies that win, Oberholzer-Gee shows, create value for customers by raising their willingness-to-pay, and they provide value for talent by lowering their willingness-to-sell. The approach, proven in practice, is entirely data-driven and uniquely suited to be cascaded throughout the organization. With many useful visuals and examples across industries and geographies, “Better, Simpler Strategy” explains how these two key measures enable firms to gauge and improve their strategies and operations. Based on the author’s sought-after strategy course, this book is your must-have guide for making better strategic decisions.

How To Lead an Exhausted Team

How To Lead an Exhausted Team

How To Lead When Your Team Is Exhausted

Via Harvard Business Review Article, Written by Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg

It feels like the whole world is tired. Even though the vaccine shines a light at the end of the tunnel, the home stretch will be long and perhaps take a greater toll on our professional and personal lives than we expect it to. To move through the second wave successfully, leaders need to reexamine their personal resilience and that of their team members: the ability and strength to overcome obstacles, bounce back, and recover in the face of challenges. How strong are you under pressure? How quickly do you bounce back from defeat?

 Merete Wedell-Wedellsborg, HBR

Understanding Urgency vs. Importance

Ask yourself and your teams: Are you doing all you can do to emerge from the crisis as a stronger company? The window for change may be closing and the time to turn good intentions into action is now.

Balancing Compassion and Containment

“Compassion, though, must be balanced with containment. Containment is described by IMD professor Anand Narasimhan as “the ability to observe and absorb what is going on around you, but to provide a sense of stability.” Stability comes from setting limits, raising the bar, keeping the pressure at the optimal level, and helping each other snap out of self-pity and moodiness”.

Energize Everyone, Every Day

“The key is to get the energy flowing and never accept that meetings and interactions become stale or boring. Energy is not a given and must be generated and channeled internally. For example the LEGO Group has defined the goal to “Energize Everyone, Every Day” as a central leadership principle“.

The Power of Walk

The Power of Walk

Don’t Underestimate the Power of a Walk

Via Harvard Business Review Article, Written by Deborah Grayson Riegel

Let me also say this: as simple as walking seems, I know it’s not simple for everyone. Some people have mobility challenges that make walking an ordeal, or even impossible. Others may live in neighborhoods that are unsafe for walking, while others may have experienced trauma that make walking alone or outside feel threatening. Some of us have responsibilities at home that limit our independence, and others may have weather conditions that make exposure uncomfortable or risky. If you fall into one or more of those categories — or a category I have missed — I hope you find something that you use to quiet your anxiety, keep your brain sharp, and maintain physical well-being.

Deborah Grayson Riegel, Harvard Business Review

1. Walk for Perspective

These are trying times. The global pandemic has robbed so many of us of so much, and yet, most of us can still find perspective in the struggle. On days when I need some perspective, I’ll stroll while looking at the sun, the trees, or the water. Those views remind me to reflect on the expanse of the universe, to appreciate the beauty of nature, and prompt me to consider how much world there still is for me to explore (when it’s safe to do so)”

2. Walk for Connection.

While you can walk alone, you don’t have to. And these days, walking is one of the safer activities available to us. Before I moved from New York to North Carolina, I had a standing Sunday walk with my neighbor Leslie. And now, despite being almost 600 miles apart, we still have our Sunday morning walks — just over the phone. Invite a friend or family member to join you — in person when it’s doable, safe, and responsible — and over the phone when it isn’t.

3. Walk for Learning

“As much as I like to clear my mind, I also like to fill it with new and useful information. I might walk while listening to a podcast or an audio book, or even the recording of a webinar I signed up for but wasn’t able to attend. Or I might take some photos with my phone of a tree or an animal I can’t identify (which, as a native Manhattanite, are most trees and animals), and look it up when I get home”.

4. Walk for Gratitude

As someone who has experienced both chronic and acute back pain, I often walk with a focus on how lucky I feel to be able to walk — and the relief of being pain-free. I will focus on the gift of feeling safe (most of the time) as a woman walking alone. Or that I have a clean, hot shower waiting for me at the end of my walk. Or I might even focus on the gift of being alive right now, when so many have died.

5. Walk for Productivity

 Sometimes I’ll arrange a coaching call with a client who has also committed to walk and talk. Or I might schedule a networking call with a client who is walking, too. I am also productive when I walk, and sometimes dictate brainstorming ideas, or even a new article, into my phone’s voice recorder. When I come home, I have something I can cross off my to-do list, in addition to that day’s walk.

Culture & Leadership

Culture & Leadership

Culture and Leadership

Culture and leadership are not two separate entities but are intimately connected. One influences the other and vice versa. This powerful information can be an important driving force in creating and maintaining the culture your organization needs to be successful.



The article is written by Meghan Stone (Axialent) is framed into the Culture Transformation and goes directly to the intimate relation between Culture and Leadership, how they go hand in hand shaping one another and bringing some useful tools such as the  OCI® (Organizational Culture Inventory®) and OEI® (Organizational Effectiveness Inventory®) in combination with the LSI® (Life Styles Inventory®). 

Axialent is created in 2002, with a dream to help individuals, teams, and organizations connect with their true selves skillfully at work and beyond. With its presence in Europe, LatAm, the U.S.A., and Australia, they are a leading global provider of culture transformation expertise for companies in the financial services/insurance, technology/IT and pharmaceutical industries.

Management Material

Management Material

Do you have what it takes to be a manager? 

Managing Material, Dear HBR Post

In this episode of HBR’s advice podcast, Dear HBR:, cohosts Alison Beard and Dan McGinn answer your questions with the help of Ellen Van Oosten, a professor at the Weatherhead School of Management at Case Western Reserve University and coauthor of the book Helping People Change: Coaching with Compassion for Lifelong Learning and Growth. They talk through what to do when you’ve been tapped for a managerial role but you don’t want it, you have only informal management experience on your CV, or your supervisor is blocking you from earning the title of manager.

Have some conversations one on one with his peers, where he could talk about the overall goals of the department or the work of the department, and how the role of the chair supports that. But also gives him a chance in those conversations to be transparent and talk about the ways that he already contributes to the broader shared purpose of their work. 


We suggest networking, being intentional about connecting with others in roles that she would like to have, and figuring out what management looks like in this organization. Then build the knowledge and skills that she needs to be seen as successful if she doesn’t have them already. She could also look outside her agency. But if she does, she just needs to be ready to tell her story and line up references that explain why her past and informal management experience is relevant to the job she wants.


Take care of Your Customer

Take care of Your Customer

Today we bring attention to our customers. We all know by now that business will be nothing like before, during and after the COVID-19 crisis when the ‘new normal’ arrives. People are worried about their health and anxious about the economic situation, and many companies are “going dark, fearful of offending or of being accused of taking advantage of an unfortunate situation for corporate gain” (Jill Avery and Richard Edelman, Harvard Business Working Knowledge).

Many brands have turned off their marketing efforts during the pandemic, but Jill Avery and Richard Edelman argue that now is the time when customers need to hear from you most. But what do you say?

“What Customers Need to hear from you during the crisis”

Harvard Business Working Knowledge Article

But of course, customers want to hear from us. It would be a mistake to disappear or be silent now. However, the communication coming from the companies to their customers must be comforting and reassuring, and it is key as well to communicate how companies are responding to the pandemic.

Executives are typically approaching customer experience by creating seamless, convenient and engaging customer journeys; however, the needs of customers at the moment have shifted dramatically towards more essential concerns

Fabricio Dore, McKinsey article

This crisis generates the need to build confidence. Customers want to see how the brands do what is right and best for their employees, customers, suppliers, and society at large: “without regard for how much it costs, with 90 percent of consumers stating that brands should be willing to suffer substantial financial losses to ensure the well-being and financial security of others”(Jill Avery and Richard Edelman, Harvard Business Working Knowledge).

Seven McKinsey’s actions

Recommended by Fabricio Dore, an associate partner in McKinsey’s São Paulo office, Oliver Ehrlich, a partner in the Dusseldorf office, David Malfara, a specialist in the Miami office, and Kelly Ungerman, a senior partner in the Dallas office in the Mckinsey article “Connecting with customers in times of crisis”, with the contributions of authors Tiffany Chan and Alex Levin as well 

1. Minimize risk by reducing physical interaction

2. Actively contribute to safety by innovating the product portfolio

3. Provide pragmatic help to customers in financial distress

4. Bring joy and support the emotional needs of customers ‘trapped at home’

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