15. March 2015

Date: 15-03-2015
Source: FastCompany


Do you think leadership and management mean the same thing? If you do, keep reading—knowing the difference will make your job more fun, boost your staff’s morale, and could even make you more money.

The mistake many entrepreneurs make as their companies grow is focusing on how to manage their workers. They devise elaborate ways for teams to collaborate and communicate, dream up long- and short-term goals to set checkpoints and monitor when and how they are met, and focus intensely on office infrastructure.

In this all-too-common rush to expand bosses often forget to develop their leadership strategy. A more nebulous concept, leadership refers to the higher-level thinking: What are our overall goals? How would my ideal representative present himself? And how can I make it second nature for my employees to embody that model? Read the rest of this entry »


For successful bosses the end is almost as important as the beginning

7. February 2015

Date: 07-02-2015
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Subject: The last 90 days

BUSINESS leaders are obsessed with how to begin new assignments. One of the bestselling business books of all time is “The First 90 Days”, by Michael Watkins, which provides a template for newly appointed managers to start with a bang. When Mitt Romney, a private-equity tycoon, ran for the American presidency in 2012 he had a 200-day action plan for turning round the free world, replete with floor plans and flow diagrams. Far less thought has gone into how bosses should leave successfully.

Lord Browne, who ran BP for 12 years, wrote in his memoirs that, as he pondered retirement from the oil giant: “My emotional self prevailed over reason. I did not know how to leave.” Niccolo Machiavelli bungled his exit from the government of 16th-century Florence. “I am rotting away,” he said after being fired. He went on to write a masterpiece on manipulation. But “The Prince” mainly dwells on how to acquire and retain power, not how to relinquish it. To fill the void, Schumpeter has drafted six rules to govern bosses’ departures.

First, the wise executive is neither tardy nor rushed. Sometimes he has no choice in the matter. Hopeless bosses may be forced out fast. Great leaders may be ambushed by fate. Lord Browne left after a newspaper delved into his private life. Akio Morita, the co-founder of Sony, suffered a stroke and Emilio Botín, the patriarch of Santander, a bank, a heart attack. But for those with the luxury of choosing when to go, timing is everything. Read the rest of this entry »

Gesund muss der Chef aussehen, klug nicht!

6. November 2014

06.11.2014 | 10:14 | Jürgen Langenbach (Die Presse)

Von des Gedankens Blässe sollten Führungskräfte sich nicht angekränkelt zeigen, im Gegenteil, Kraft muss die Gesichtsfarbe ausstrahlen. Meist: Nur für Kooperation ist Intelligenz gefragt.

Hart und kantig, lang gezogen, doch in der Mitte breit, mit einem Wort: So richtig männlich muss ein Gesicht sein, wenn es Erfolg haben will – bei den Frauen, aber auch in der Politik: Männer mit Babyface haben bei Wahlen kaum Chancen. Das stand hier schon oft zu lesen, aber in Gesichtern steht ja noch anderes geschrieben, die Gesundheit etwa oder die Intelligenz, sie spielen bei der Wahl des Führungspersonals durch die Geführten mit, man darf es wenigstens vermuten.

Brian Spisak (Management und Organisation, Uni Amsterdam) hat es nun getestet, an Kandidaten für Führungspositionen in der Wirtschaft. Die waren fiktiv, man hat zunächst aus drei Fotos von Studenten am PC ein Mustergesicht konstruiert und das dann von 148 Probanden beurteilen lassen. Ausgangspunkt war die Vermutung, dass für unterschiedliche Führungsaufgaben unterschiedliche Charaktere geeignet sind und dass die Untergebenen bzw. Mitarbeiter diese auch sehen wollen. Wenn es etwa in einen Kampf geht („Raiding“), werden kräftige und Gesundheit ausstrahlende Gesichter ihren Truppen Vertrauen einflößen, natürlich auch, wenn es um Kämpfe zwischen Unternehmen geht. Read the rest of this entry »

The world’s best business programmes

11. October 2014

Date: 10-10-2014
Source: The Economist

Which MBA?, 2014

The Chicago boys, and girls, come top again in our business-school ranking

Economist Best Business Schools 2014
For the fourth time in five years, the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business tops The Economist’s ranking of full-time MBA programmes. Even as banking jobs have become scarcer, Chicago, famed for its prowess in finance, has maintained a strong record of placing students in work. Last year 94% of graduates were employed within three months of leaving.

Fifteen of the top 20 schools are American. However, HEC Paris, the top European school, has climbed four places to fourth, mostly because of the impressive salaries its graduates get. The University of Queensland is the top-ranked school outside America and Europe.

This is the 12th time we have published the ranking. Each year we ask students why they decided to take an MBA. Our ranking weights data according to what they say is important. The four categories covered are: opening new career opportunities (35%); personal development/educational experience (35%); increasing salary (20%); and the potential to network (10%). The figures we collate are a mixture of hard data and subjective marks given by the students.

Business leaders would benefit from studying great writers

2. October 2014

Date: 02-10-2014
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter
Subject: Philosopher kings

IT IS hard to rise to the top in business without doing an outward-bound course. You spend a precious weekend in sweaty activity—kayaking, climbing, abseiling and the like. You endure lectures on testing character and building trust. And then you scarper home as fast as you can. These strange rituals may produce a few war stories to be told over a drink. But in general they do nothing more than enrich the companies that arrange them.

It is time to replace this rite of managerial passage with something much more powerful: inward-bound courses. Rather than grappling with nature, business leaders would grapple with big ideas. Rather than proving their leadership abilities by leading people across a ravine, they would do so by leading them across an intellectual chasm. The format would be simple. A handful of future leaders would gather in an isolated hotel and devote themselves to studying great books. They would be deprived of electronic distractions. During the day a tutor would ensure their noses stay in their tomes; in the evening the inward-bounders would be encouraged to relate what they had read to their lives.

It is easy to poke fun at the idea of forcing high-flying executives to read the classics. One could play amusing games thinking up titles that might pique their interest: “Thus Spake McKinsey”, or “Accenture Shrugged”, perhaps. Or pairing books with personality types: “Apologia Pro Vita Sua” for a budding Donald Trump and “Crime and Punishment” for a budding Conrad Black. Or imagining what Nietzschean corporate social responsibility would look like. Or Kierkegaardian supply-chain management. Read the rest of this entry »

The look of a leader

26. September 2014

Date: 25-09-2014
Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

Getting to the top is as much to do with how you look as what you achieve

Gorilla societyIN GORILLA society, power belongs to silverback males. These splendid creatures have numerous status markers besides their back hair: they are bigger than the rest of their band, strike space-filling postures, produce deeper sounds, thump their chests lustily and, in general, exude an air of physical fitness. Things are not that different in the corporate world. The typical chief executive is more than six feet tall, has a deep voice, a good posture, a touch of grey in his thick, lustrous hair and, for his age, a fit body. Bosses spread themselves out behind their large desks. They stand tall when talking to subordinates. Their conversation is laden with prestige pauses and declarative statements.

The big difference between gorillas and humans is, of course, that human society changes rapidly. The past few decades have seen a striking change in the distribution of power—between men and women, the West and the emerging world and geeks and non-geeks. Women run some of America’s largest firms, such as General Motors (Mary Barra) and IBM (Virginia Rometty). More than half of the world’s biggest 2,500 public companies have their headquarters outside the West. Geeks barely out of short trousers run some of the world’s most dynamic businesses. Peter Thiel, one of Silicon Valley’s leading investors, has introduced a blanket rule: never invest in a CEO who wears a suit.

Yet it is remarkable, in this supposed age of diversity, how many bosses still conform to the stereotype. First, they are tall: in research for his 2005 book, “Blink”, Malcolm Gladwell found that 30% of CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are 6 feet 2 inches or taller, compared with 3.9% of the American population. Read the rest of this entry »

Replacing the board

15. August 2014

   Date: 15-08-2014
 Source: The Economist: Schumpeter

The case for outsourcing company boards

CORPORATE boards are among the most important institutions in capitalism. Their job is to police the relationship between shareholders who own companies and managers who run them. This means keeping an eye out for managerial incompetence and fraud. It also means standing back and offering strategic advice on hiring new managers or buying competitors.

Yet their record might politely be described as mixed. The first decade of the 21st century produced an embarrassment of dismal oversight, from the Enron and WorldCom scandals of 2001-02 to the financial crisis of 2007-08. “I actually don’t think risk management failed,” said Larry Fink, the boss of BlackRock, an investment firm. “I think corporate governance failed, because…the boards didn’t ask the right questions.”

Problems have been widespread and deep-rooted. Chief executives have packed boards with cronies: Michael Eisner’s board at Disney once included the former headmistress of his children’s school and the man who designed his house. They have sidelined critics: when a member of the Bank of America’s board criticised the CEO’s compensation in 2000 she was dropped. Read the rest of this entry »