The deal's off, Groupon tells CEO | Many of the most respected firms are one-man shows | Want healthier workers? Start a lottery
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March 1, 2013
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SmartBrief on Leadership

Leading Edge
The deal's off, Groupon tells CEO
Groupon fired CEO Andrew Mason one day after the daily deals company reported a worse-than-expected quarterly loss. The move brings to an end Mason's reign as one of America's quirkiest corporate bosses, though a more conventional CEO might not be enough to keep Groupon afloat, writes Diane Brady. "Groupon's problems probably stem as much from its business model as from its leadership," she notes. Bloomberg Businessweek (2/28), The Wall Street Journal (2/28), The Wall Street Journal/Digits blog (2/28)
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Strategic Management
Many of the most respected firms are one-man shows
Forbes' annual ranking of the world's most respected companies reports that seven of the top 10 are essentially one-man shows -- companies such as Amazon, Starbucks and Berkshire Hathaway that depend on the vision and charisma of a single strong leader. That's largely due to the changing nature of the business world, writes Geoff Colvin. "In an information-based economy, a company can rocket to industry dominance and a towering valuation in the space of a founder's career, much faster than in an industrial economy," he explains. CNNMoney/Fortune (2/28), CNNMoney/Fortune (2/28)
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Want healthier workers? Start a lottery
Four out of five major U.S. companies offer their employees cash incentives in a bid to spur them to exercise and eat more healthily. However, experts say that most could be deploying those incentives more effectively. Workers respond better to the chance of winning a large amount than they do to the guaranteed payment of a smaller amount, so companies can get more bang for their buck by running lotteries open only to workers who complete health-risk assessments. Knowledge@Wharton (2/27)
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Innovation and Creativity
You can't innovate through meetings
Brainstorming sessions are a lousy way to try to solve complicated problems, writes Debra Kaye. "Fresh ideas come when your brain is relaxed and engaged in something other than the particular problem you're embroiled in. ... This is the polar opposite of what happens in brainstorming sessions," she explains. Fast Company online (2/28)
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Has America's innovation engine stalled?
Some economists think that America's ability to innovate and grow its economy has stalled -- but a recent study goes against that view, Irving Wladawsky-Berger writes. Patent applications are as robust as ever, suggesting that there's "no evidence that the ideas machine is breaking down," Wladawsky-Berger writes. Irving Wladawsky-Berger blog (3/4)
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The Global Perspective
Africa is stable, democratic and open for business
Africa is growing more stable and business-friendly, even if the media continues to focus disproportionately on the continent's occasional bad or failed government, Jonathan Berman writes. "Don't be fooled by that magnifying glass. Keep your eye on the long-term trend," Berman advises. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (2/28)
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Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
10 steps that CEOs can take to create leaders
Top leaders should constantly try to improve themselves and should set similar standards for their organization's other senior managers, Dan McCarthy writes. "A CEO's behaviors are powerful -- they set the expectations for the rest of the management team, creating a trickle-down effect of leadership development," McCarthy writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/28)
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Daily Diversion
Man invents Oreo-scraping robot
Inventor David Neevel loves Oreo cookies, but not the creme, so he built a Rube Goldberg machine capable of splitting the cookies in two and carefully scraping away the offensive filling. MAKE Magazine blog (2/27)
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Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
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
Regional Human Resources Manager Total Wine & More Potomac , MD
Vice President, Network Development and Provider RelationsLouisiana Health Cooperative, Inc.New Orleans, LA
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The conventional wisdom that innovation can be institutionalized or done in a formal group is simply wrong."
-- Debra Kaye, author of "Red Thread Thinking," as quoted in
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