5 must-read Harvard Business Review articles in October

5 must-read Harvard Business Review articles in October

Check out these five thought-provoking HBR articles, curated especially for CIOs and IT leaders

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Harvard Business Review Top 5 articles for October 2015

Each month, through our partnership with Harvard Business Review, we refresh our business library for CIOs with five new HBR articles we believe CIOs and IT leaders will value highly. These curated pieces are available now through the end of October.

Why talented people fail under pressure

Most people can relate to the disappointment of choking under pressure. No matter how skilled we are, stress sends our prefrontal cortex into overdrive, cognitive scientist Sian Beilock explains in this Harvard Business Review article. “When the pressure is on, we tend to panic – about the situation, its consequences, and what others will think of us – and as a result we apply too much cognitive horsepower to what we are doing. We start overthinking something that usually comes naturally to us,” she writes. IT and business leaders can’t avoid stress, but they can learn simple tricks to refocus the mind and take the pressure off. From preparing a mantra to focusing on your pinky toe, Beilock offers several small tricks that can help leaders in their next stressful situation.

Download “Why talented people fail under pressure

Don’t be the boss who talks too much

The best leaders invest time in communicating their vision and ensuring everyone in their organization feels connected to and aligned behind it. Doing this effectively requires a lot of, well, communicating. But how much talking is too much, wonders Hjalmar Gislason, CEO of GRID. In this HBR article, Gislason notes that some research advocates for persistent, redundant communication from leaders, while other reports call over-communication a “time suck.” To find his own balance, Gislason developed four rules, “aimed at mitigating the downsides (like wasted time and lost productivity) while still using frequent communication to clear any hurdles,” he writes. Hint: If you are spending more time speaking than listening, you may need to work on your balance.

Download “Don’t be the boss who talks too much

7 ways to set up a new hire for success

“Being systematic in onboarding brings new employees up to speed 50 percent faster, which means they’re more quickly and efficiently able to contribute to achieving desired goals,” Michael D. Watkins points out in this HBR article. But effectively onboarding goes well beyond the basics, like documentation, compliance training, and getting a new computer assigned. Once those relatively easy tasks are out of the way, the most critical work begins, and it’s up to bosses to lead the way. Watkins, cofounder of Genesis and professor at IMD Business School, offers up his seven-step strategy for getting new employees up to speed and on their way to delivering value. Download this article for advice on making new hires part of the team, the right way to give direction, and how to coach them to success.

Download “7 ways to set up a new hire for success

How to keep digital distractions from killing your creativity

“There are two ways to readily influence behavior: manipulate it or inspire it. Technology companies have chosen, for the most part, to manipulate it. Many have found the attention economy wildly lucrative,” writes Brian Solis in this HBR article. How susceptible are you to the near constant pings of pop-up notifications from digital devices? How are these digital distractions impacting your creativity, productivity, and happiness? In this article, Solis explains how he found the balance by scheduling distractions into his day. And while it was easier said than done, he acknowledged that hard work in this area can pay off – for both individuals and the companies they work for. Download this article for his approach.

Download “Doing creative work when you can’t stop looking at your phone

Will AI reduce gender bias in hiring?

The answer to the question posed by this HBR article is complicated, notes author Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, chief talent scientist at ManpowerGroup. “We are much more easily shocked and scandalized by hiring mistakes done by AI, than by human errors or biases. It’s a bit like with self-driving cars: it takes one autonomous car crash to convince us that the technology is flawed, but we are OK with having 1.2 million fatal accidents and 50 million driving injuries per year, courtesy of humans,” he writes. Despite early innovations in using AI for hiring being a work in progress, Chamorro-Premuzic argues there are a lot of reasons to be optimistic. In this article, he points to three areas where AI-talent tools can make a big difference (Note: they are also the areas where humans are deeply flawed.)

Download “Will AI reduce gender bias in hiring?

Also read: 

Executive's guide to real-world AI

Is your company ready and willing to pursue artificial intelligence? New research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services explains how to move past the hype and lay a true foundation for AI. Featuring interviews and case studies from top technology executives at companies including Adobe, 7-Eleven, Bayer Crop Science, Caesar's Entertainment, Capital One, Discover, Equifax, and Raytheon, this report will arm you with practical examples of how you can get started with AI and begin building an advantage over your competitors.  

Download: "An Executive's guide to real-world AI"

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Carla Rudder is a writer and content manager on The Enterprisers Project.

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