Becoming the boss can be like being swept overboard | The strategy that's cost JC Penney $4.3 billion | Gay marriage "is a business imperative," firms tell Supreme Court
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February 28, 2013
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SmartBrief on Leadership

Leading Edge
Becoming the boss can be like being swept overboard
Abruptly being promoted into a leadership position is like being swept into "turbulent seas ... without a visible lifeboat," writes Art Petty. To stay afloat, it's important to be realistic about your new role, to work hard and humbly, and to support subordinates and superiors. "[I]t's up to you to sink or swim," Petty writes. (2/24)
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Why you should wait on that next hire
Startups tend to struggle to find enough well-qualified workers, but it's vital to swiftly sack underperformers and to take your time in choosing their replacements, writes Likeable Media CEO Carrie Kerpen. "[W]hile I understand the resistance for startups to 'hire slow, fire fast,' I urge you to think twice before bringing in the mailman to code your next IPhone app," she writes. Fast Company online (2/25)
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Strategic Management
The strategy that's cost JC Penney $4.3 billion
Sales at J.C. Penney have plummeted by $4.3 billion during CEO Ron Johnson's first year in the corner office, after the former Apple retail chief banned cut-price sales and sought to pack stores with branded boutiques. The disastrous strategy shows that running Apple's stores isn't necessarily a good preparation for running box-store retail operations, James Kwak writes. "There's a big difference between selling the most lusted-after products on the planet and selling commodities in second-rate malls," he adds. The Baseline Scenario blog (2/25), The Wall Street Journal (2/27)
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Gay marriage "is a business imperative," firms tell Supreme Court
At least 60 American companies will submit a joint amicus brief today asking the U.S. Supreme Court to rule that laws banning same-sex marriages are unconstitutional. Signatories, including Apple, Facebook, eBay, Intel and Morgan Stanley, argue that gay marriage "is a business imperative" because it makes it easier for companies to hire and retain the best domestic and foreign workers. CNNMoney/Fortune (2/26)
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Innovation and Creativity
Innovation lessons from America's most miserable city
Detroit has been named America's most miserable city by Forbes, in large part due to the Big Three automakers' failure to keep up the industrial innovation that once made Motor City great, Adam Hartung writes. "With innovation you create renewal. Without it you create Detroit," he warns. (2/27), Forbes (2/21)
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Awards are a crude measure of creativity
Two German advertising agencies have withdrawn from the awards ceremonies traditionally used to recognize the most successful creative work. That's because more precise metrics are available, making such ceremonies redundant, Werner Reinartz and Peter Saffert write. "Once the business world starts to realize this ... we'll find out a lot more about what types of creativity work best in what context. And then we can consign all those plaques and statuettes to the boxroom," they argue. Harvard Business Review online/HBR Blog Network (2/27)
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The Global Perspective
IBM: Africa is the next China
Africa is on its way to becoming the next China, and IBM is determined to get in on the ground floor, officials say. The tech giant is hiring thousands of workers in Africa and is seeking contracts for high-tech analytics and infrastructure projects. "It's nascent, it's unstable, but it has a huge potential," says Bruno Di Leo, IBM's global sales chief. Bloomberg Businessweek (2/21)
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Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
How to run a company full of productive geniuses
Good leadership is not only about unlocking your workers' talents, but managing them for the best cohesive performance, says John Peoples, vice president of global franchise marketing and innovation at Merck Consumer Care. The key, Peoples says, is "trying to find a unique perspective in each one of the people who make up the organization and figure out how all of those unique perspectives work together." SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/27)
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Daily Diversion
Ever wanted to be a gummy bear? Now's your chance
A Japanese company is offering to make gummy-bear replicas of its customers. For $65, the firm will process customers with 3D scanning technology and use the data to produce delicious and meticulously accurate candy replicas. "I don't know a single sane person that wouldn't be excited about doing this," writes Casey Chan. (2/26), Gizmodo (2/25)
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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
Vice President, Network Development and Provider RelationsLouisiana Health Cooperative, Inc.New Orleans, LA
Regional Human Resources Manager Total Wine & More Potomac , MD
Click here to view more job listings.
Editor's Note
SmartBrief blogs from FedGIS and ARPA-E
SmartBrief is blogging from the Esri Federal GIS Conference and the Department of Energy's ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit this week. Here are a few topics we're writing about on SmartBrief's SmartBlogs network.
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Growth is a wonderful thing. But growth does not happen without investment in innovation."
-- Adam Hartung, author, writing at
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