MIT Sloan Executive Education innovation@work Blog

Category: Principled Leadership

Is pride holding you back in your negotiations?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 14 days ago

Is pride getting in the way at the negotiating table?

If you’re someone who conducts repeated negotiations with the same counterparts, then you may have experienced that your “subjective assessment”—the feeling you have after one negotiation—affects the success of the next. But what about “sequential negotiations”—multiple back-to-back negotiations with different parties. Does the same hold true?

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Are merit-based decisions in the workplace making us more biased?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 4 months and 25 days ago

Are merit-based decisions in the workplace making us more biased?

Earlier this month, a memo written by (former) Google employee James Damore went viral. The controversial, ten-page letter suggested the company has fewer female engineers because men are better suited for the job. Damore argued that Google’s initiatives to increase diversity is actually a discriminatory policy, and that a liberal bias throughout management makes it difficult to discuss the issue internally. The debates kicked up by this event continue to rage on.

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Coaching millennials has its hurdles—and it's time to get over them

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 5 months and 11 days ago

Leadership programs for millennials, management, and senior executives at MIT Sloan Executive Education

Today's workforce is a mix of four generations—Veterans, Baby Boomers, Generation X, and Generation Y—sometimes collaborating, other times colliding. Stereotypes for how these different age groups act, interact, and conduct themselves in the workplace are plentiful, but most would agree that Gen Y—the millennials—are currently, for better or worse, the center of attention. Why all the commotion?

For starters, millennials have officially surpassed Baby Boomers as the nation’s largest living generation, according to population estimates released by the U.S. Census Bureau. Millennials, typically defined as those ages 19-35 in 2016 (born 1981-1997), are now 75 million strong.

But most importantly, Millennials will soon lead the world of business, and after them their successors, Gen Z. They will be leading in a world that has grown increasingly global, complex, and even tumultuous. Today’s business world requires more of leaders than ever before. MIT Sloan Professor John Van Maanen, an organizational theorist, uses an acronym to describe this world of which millennials will be at the helm: VUCCA. It stands for volatile, uncertain, complex, chaotic and ambiguous (with one more C than the more common VUCA), and it's a big part of why today's leaders need to teach tomorrow's.

"We don't know where big data is taking us. We don't know what's happening with climate change, political instability. It is an unknown world," Van Maanen said during a panel discussion on leadership at the MIT Sloan CFO Summit last fall. It’s evident that teaching leadership skills is critical in a changing world, but coaching Millennials comes with a set of unique challenges.

  1. Millennials are moving targets for training. “Millennials expect to work for 12 to 15 organizations over their careers, versus three or four 20 years ago,” Van Maanen said (see Gallup for more).
  2. Leadership is becoming more and more distributed. Many organizations’ hierarchical structures are flattening. Companies are becoming more flexible and diverse, with employees working from around the world. When there are technically no titles and no bosses, everyone needs to step up and be the leader. Also, leadership lessons that work in the U.S. or Europe might not apply as easily in countries that have been through political or cultural upheaval, have different cultural norms, or use technology to a different or lesser extent.

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Industry leaders share wisdom on leading, innovating, and disrupting

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 7 months and 13 days ago

Ray Wang speaking at MIT

What defines the path to success in today's business world? From lessons about embracing failure and passion to the importance of mentorship, top executives share their views on success and more as part of the Innovative Leadership (iLead) Series, presented by the MIT Leadership Center and MIT Sloan. The iLead Series was developed to give a platform to a diverse set of thought leaders in problem-focused leadership. The series celebrates innovators who make a difference by finding solutions to tough, edgy problems in a complex, fast-moving world.

The following talks from the 2016 and 2017 iLead Series can be viewed on the iLead website and on the MIT Leadership Center's YouTube channel.

Embracing digitization and mentors: When John Chambers, former CEO of Cisco Systems Inc., was recovering from tumultuous times at his company in 2011, he looked for a mentor and found former General Electric Company chief Jack Welch, who told him that those tough times could be the best years of leadership. Today, he is an enthusiastic supporter of digitization, cautioning that the U.S. is the only major country without a strong digitization plan and is at risk of losing its economic power. "Either you disrupt or you get left behind. There’s no entitlement just because we led before." Watch the video.

Learning from failure: Andy Plump, Chief Medical and Scientific Officer at Takeda Pharmaceuticals U.S.A. Inc., says whether you lead or follow it helps to embrace failure, and that partnerships with outside companies will make it easier to fail fruitfully. He calls it "honorable failure" and adds, "When we have a failure now, we bring it to a public setting and we learn from it." Watch the video.

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Developing principled, innovative leaders: What does MIT Sloan's mission mean today?

Posted by MIT Sloan Executive Education - 1 year and 2 months and 16 days ago

Contributed by Peter Hirst, Associate Dean, MIT Sloan Executive Education

Peter Hirst MIT Sloan Executive Education

Perhaps as an antidote to the level of discourse on leadership during this year's U.S. presidential elections, Brexit, and the seemingly endless supply of corporate scandals (Wells Fargo being the latest example), I've been thinking a lot about the MIT Sloan mission recently: " ... to develop principled, innovative leaders who improve the world and to generate ideas that advance management practice."

The phrase "principled, innovative leaders" especially has been on my mind—what does it mean, really? What qualities make a principled, innovative leader? Who are the principled, innovative leaders of our generation? Steve Jobs? Oprah Winfrey? Mark Zuckerberg? Are they empire builders or trail blazers? Maybe both? Are they always in the spotlight or working quietly behind the scenes? What difference does it make to employees, customers, shareholders, and society as a whole that business leaders are principled and innovative? The list of questions goes on and on, and it seems like a perfect opportunity to engage the wisdom of crowds to find answers.

Why is this important? Knowing what the MIT Sloan mission means to you can potentially guide the direction of our future executive education programs. That's why in the coming weeks I plan to ask anyone who is willing to share an opinion to do so. Please feel free to share examples or opinions of what principled, innovative leadership means to you, using the comment tool on this blog. What would you be encouraging me to keep in mind while I am thinking about articulating and implementing our vision of principled, innovative leadership at MIT Sloan Executive Education?

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