TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

When You Know Layoffs Are Coming...

William recalls the excruciatingly uncertain months before he finally lost his job. He had worked in the real estate sector, where his work dried up. Piece by piece his responsibilities were taken away. His company­­ was not doing well, that much was evident. It was letting people go in small batches. If you didn't get tapped on a Friday, you were safe for the next week.

"We were just kind of sitting there staring at each other, waiting for the axe to fall," William says. And this waiting period was agonizing. "You ever watch like a documentary with a herd of zebra and there's a lion? The lion catches one zebra and all the other zebras are a little way off, just kind of watching." William says that's what it was like for all the other employees. "And then they're just kind of wondering when it's their turn."

Continued here


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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

How Will You Measure Your Life?

Don't reserve your best business thinking for your career

When people ask what I think they should do, I rarely answer their question directly. Instead, I run the question aloud through one of my models. I'll describe how the process in the model worked its way through an industry quite different from their own. And then, more often than not, they'll say, "OK, I get it." And they'll answer their own question more insightfully than I could have.

My class at HBS is structured to help my students understand what good management theory is and how it is built. To that backbone I attach different models or theories that help students think about the various dimensions of a general manager's job in stimulating innovation and growth. In each session we look at one company through the lenses of those theories - using them to explain how the company got into its situation and to examine what managerial actions will yield the needed results.

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TradeBriefs Editorial

From the Editor's Desk

Fighting Against Dictatorship

Dictatorial types gain and maintain power through a number of social processes and psychological dynamics.

From our Palaeolithic roots onwards, dictators - whether they led tribes, fiefdoms, countries, religions or organisations - have always been with us. We have always been attracted to individuals who appear strong. Some people are easily persuaded to give up their freedoms for an imaginary sense of stability and protection, not to mention an illusion of restored greatness.

Generally speaking, times of social unrest have always been the feeding ground for dictators. Periods of economic depression, political or social chaos give dictators the opportunity to appear as saviour and, when conditions allow it, seize power by coup d'etat or other means. Their populist demagoguery can seduce broad swathes of the population. However, most of their inflated promises turn out to be no more than hot air. So how is it that they're able to gain and maintain power? They succeed by taking full advantage of known social processes and dynamics.

Continued here


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