Is your very existence a threat to your employees? | A junk rating is no biggie, CFOs say | Strategic planners shouldn't act like they know the future
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March 26, 2013
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Is your very existence a threat to your employees?
By simply existing, bosses psychologically threaten their workers in fundamental ways, says David Rock, director of the NeuroLeadership Institute. Leaders have higher social status and greater autonomy than their employees, and that imbalance, left unchecked, can demoralize and demotivate workers. "A smart boss will notice this and do all sorts of things to try to fix it," Rock says. The New York Times (tiered subscription model) (3/23)
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Why Douglas Conant left his comfort zone to save Campbell Soup
Former Campbell Soup CEO Douglas Conant had to shed his natural introvert after he took over the corner office. Turning around a struggling company required clear, personal communication designed to challenge the status quo and reinvigorate Campbell's corporate culture. "People aren't mind readers," Conant says. "I had to go out on a limb and talk about my vision for going forward in an uncomfortable way." HBS Working Knowledge (3/22)
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Executives and Chefs Plan a Sustainable Future
CEOs, entrepreneurs, and food-policy makers join restaurateurs and chefs to navigate through the science-based research at the intersection of public health, environmental stewardship, and business success. Join them at Menus of Change™, presented by The Culinary Institute of America and Harvard School of Public Health, this June in Cambridge.
Strategic Management
A junk rating is no biggie, CFOs say
Companies are increasingly happy to watch their credit ratings decline to junk status, with chief financial officers saying they're still able to raise capital easily and that they have more important uses for cash than paying down debt. "In some industries being investment grade is still important," says Jim Casey, JPMorgan Chase's co-head of debt capital markets. "But in others, more companies are questioning the value of having a top rating." CNNMoney/Fortune/Term Sheet blog (3/25)
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Strategic planners shouldn't act like they know the future
Strategic planning shouldn't be an attempt to decide in advance every action your company will take, writes Art Petty. Instead, it should be an attempt to make reasonable forecasts while incorporating flexibility and adaptability into your company's plans. "[B]uild the systems and processes to incorporate learning, constantly refresh forecasts and push the planning forward," Petty writes. (3/24)
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Innovation and Creativity
Dell is more innovative than it looks
The battle for control of Dell may rest on the value of its intellectual property. The company holds 3,449 patents and 1,660 more were in the pipeline in 2012, according to federal filings. "While there is a perception that Dell is not very innovative, careful analysis of its IP portfolio reveals unaccounted-for value," according to a report published by M•CAM, a firm that analyzes corporate IP. Bloomberg Businessweek (3/25)
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Innovation czars are finding it tough
Many chief innovation officers are poorly trained, inexperienced and have little notion of how to spur companywide innovation, writes Robert B. Tucker. Still, there's no denying that some ideas chiefs do deliver real results. "The best ones bring new thinking to the table. They gain the ear of the CEO. ... They gain respect because they bring home the bacon," Tucker writes. (3/22)
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How well do you defend your team members from the bureaucracy above you?
Somewhat -- they experience some bureaucracy but I shield them from most  73.17%
Very well -- the team is insulated from it  20.57%
Not well -- I don't shelter them very well from it  3.13%
Poorly -- the team bears the full brunt of organizational bureaucracy  3.13%
Creating a productive environment: As a leader, a big part of your role is creating a distraction-free environment and removing roadblocks so your team can be productive. Clearly, many of you see that as your role. To be effective at it, it's always helpful to improve your skills at managing up. Every once in a while, take a step back and ask your team members what impediments they face and see how you can continue to clear the way for them to be successful. -- Mike Figliuolo is managing director of ThoughtLeaders and author of "One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership."

Discuss the results.
How effective is your organization's decision-making process? 
VoteWe're great -- we make fast and accurate decisions
VoteWe're OK -- we could be faster and better though
VoteWe're weak -- we're slow and make some bad decisions
VoteWe're horrible -- we take forever and make many bad calls.
The Global Perspective
It's OK to get sloshed at a Chinese business dinner
Chinese business dinners are social events at which attendees are expected to knock back shots of rich wine, David Livermore writes. This means attendees get so inebriated that any serious discussion of business matters is essentially impossible. It's best, excepting health reasons, to go with the flow in the name of solidifying business relationships, he argues. "The more you drink, the more pleased your cohorts will be, because it shows you're willing to get drunk with them, just like you would with your friends," Livermore writes. Management-Issues (U.K.) (3/22)
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Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
Branding lessons from Yahoo and Best Buy
Marissa Mayer's decision to rescind Yahoo's work-from-home policy drew plenty of criticism, while a similar decision by Best Buy's male CEO attracted far less flak. Gender issues likely played a role, but it's also important to remember that telecommuting makes less sense for Best Buy given its customer-focused external brand, writes Dana Theus. That made the retailer's policy switch an easier sell both to employees and to outsiders, Theus argues. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (3/25)
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Daily Diversion
How dwarfism saved a family from the Nazis
It was rare for even a single member of any given family to survive the Nazis' Auschwitz-Birkenau death camp -- but all 12 members of the Ovitz family who entered Auschwitz lived to tell the tale. That's because seven members of the Transylvanian Jewish family had congenital dwarfism, earning the entire group the protection of the camp's infamous doctor, Josef Mengele. The Guardian (London) (3/22)
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Associate Medical DirectorUCareMinneapolis, MN
Director of Industry Initiatives (Audio/Video)Interactive Advertising BureauNew York, NY
Vice President/Chief Counsel - Market Oversight - NYSE RegulationNYSE EuronextNew York, NY
Chief Partnership Officer Global Business School NetworkWashington, DC
OS Chief of StaffMicrosoftRedmond, WA
Chief Financial OfficerNutrisystemGreater Philadelphia Area, PA
Vice President, Network Development and Provider RelationsLouisiana Health Cooperative, Inc.New Orleans, LA
Click here to view more job listings.
Trust is the one thing that changes everything. In a high-trust culture, it's so much easier to get things done."
-- Douglas Conant, former CEO of Campbell Soup, as quoted at HBS Working Knowledge
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