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Archive: November 2013

Business success in the U.S. doesn’t guarantee international success

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 8 months and 17 days ago

Today, companies large and small are expanding their operations globally for a variety of reasons: lower labor costs, the possibility of a skilled talent pool, and the anticipation of newer, more lucrative markets. However, just because a company is successful stateside doesn’t mean that success will automatically translate overseas.

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Launching a successful start-up #1: The brainstorming phase

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 8 months and 20 days ago

This is the first post in a series on launching a successful startup. One of the most common mistakes new entrepreneurs make is trying to be everything to everyone in the hopes of increasing their market share. In the beginning, many new entrepreneurs can be overwhelmed by their own brainstorming taking an “act now, plan later” approach to get a jump on the competitionBut the foundation stage of a new venture is critical because it’s the stage when entrepreneurs must define the specific ingredients that make their product or service competitive—the stage where they determine a target market that will use that product or service.

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Does the return of manufacturing to the U.S. mean more jobs?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 8 months and 23 days ago

The return of manufacturing to the U.S., also referred to as the “repatriation” or “re-shoring” by American and non-American companies alike, on the surface sounds like good news for employment. However, this is not necessarily the case. Although manufacturing output over the last 60 years has grown roughly by 3.7% annually, employment has stayed mostly flat during this time. Why does this continue to be true, even as many companies have been moving manufacturing back to the U.S. since 2010?

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Four must-have skills for today’s leaders

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months ago

Most of today's leadership literature focuses on the two most popular forms of leadership: the visionary leader—the charismatic transformational leader who inspires, or the relationship leader—the mentor who has the compassion and empathy needed to form strong relationships to support their organization. But the global business world is changing rapidly, from the top down and the bottom up.  Organizations are flatter. Boundaries are more blurred. Information moves faster across all levels within an organization. This means that leaders who can innovate and move quickly—leaders who have dynamic capabilities—are more likely to succeed. Deborah Ancona, Professor of Organization Studies at MIT Sloan, has spent the last year researching the competitive advantage of dynamic capability leaders. Says Ancona, “The greatest strength of a dynamic capability leader is their ability to filter through all the fast moving information that flows within and outside of the organization, recognize opportunities, and capitalize on them.”

Continue reading a management issue

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 3 days ago

Much of the blame around the website—a web-based insurance marketplace established by the 2010 Affordable Healthcare Act—has focused on the fact that the site couldn’t handle the amount of traffic it received. Essentially, it wasn’t scalable. But look beyond the headlines and it becomes clear that there are bigger issues around the website: not only is it not scalable and therefore not accessible to the thousands of Americans hoping to use it, but it also has some user design flaws. Both of these issues—accessibility and user design—can be attributed to a reported lack of testing. According to The Washington Post in “Full Testing of Began Too Late, say Contractors,” testing on the site began a mere two weeks before its hard and firm go-live date of October 1, 2013. 

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Big data and sports: Are we all just becoming points of data?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 8 days ago

While seemingly new, analytics have been used in sports for decades. After all, what was then-called Rotisserie League baseball (now Fantasy League) was all about picking baseball players based on their statistics. The most famous use of data and analytics in sports is arguably the popular book and movie, Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game, the true story of how Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, used analytics to build a successful baseball team. Today, Big Data is the latest extension of how (and why) sports organizations are using information to make better business decisions. As Dave Feinlab of Forbes writes in “Big Sports: Powered by Big Data,” “Big Sports is Big Business, and Big Business nowadays means Big Data…” Big Data in sports is not really about player performance, but about arena management, fan interests, and ultimately, revenue.

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Yes, a robot may take your job

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 13 days ago

Smart machines are everywhere we go. They’re on the plant floor manufacturing our cars, and they are in our grocery stores scanning our purchases. In the case of the iPhone and Siri, they are even in our pockets. And that means that smart machines and robots will be taking more and more jobs. As Erik Brynjolfsson, Professor of Information Technology at MIT Sloan School of Management said on CBS’ 60 Minutes, “There are lots of examples of routine, middle-skilled jobs that are being eliminated the fastest.

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The "Good Jobs Strategy"

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 3 years and 9 months and 15 days ago

good jobs strategy

Consumers can help the economy not by just choosing to buy goods, but also by being selective in where they buy goods. Zeynep Ton, Adjunct Associate Professor of Operations Management at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, urged the more than 650 attendees of TedxCambridge, to shop, dine, and patronize businesses that employ what Ton calls the "good jobs strategy."

Ton argued that bad jobs—such as many low-paying positions in retail—contribute to a bad economy. "The problem is not that there aren’t enough jobs; the problem is that too many jobs are simply bad jobs," said Ton. Retail jobs, according to Ton, are not just bad because they offer low wages and chaotic schedules, but because they make the workers feel meaningless. One retailer worker told Ton, "We are throwaways who are a dime a dozen…just human robots, really."

Conventional wisdom says that retailers must pay low wages and offer bad jobs in order to keep prices low. Ton's good jobs strategy goes against this by presenting a case for investing in retail employees, and, in turn, receiving a strong return on that investment. It calls for retailers to make decisions that may seem counterintuitive.

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