5 must-read Harvard Business Review articles in September

5 must-read Harvard Business Review articles in September

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. The curated pieces below are available now through the end of September.

How to lead your team past the peak of a crisis

We are all stuck in the messy middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, and there is no telling how much longer we will be here. But rather than wait it out, proactive leaders can look to past disasters and classic turnaround stories for wisdom on climbing back to success. In this article, Rosabeth Moss Kanter, Arbuckle Professor at Harvard Business School, reviews three clusters of actions that can help leaders renew the accountability, collaboration, and initiative they will need for life after the crisis. The actions – which including setting the right tone from the top, mobilizing people and partners around common goals, and painting a picture of the longer-term future – are underscored by real-life stories of companies leaders who successful left the middle and came out on top.

Download “Leading your team past the peak of a crisis

Why criticism is good for creativity

Many teams are encouraged to take a lesson from the world of improv and practice “yes, and” in meetings. While the intention of this practice is to get teams to work together and add to each other’s ideas, it’s really more about avoiding criticism at all costs. “We challenge this approach,” write Roberto Verganti and Don Norman in this article. “It encourages design by committee and infuses a superficial sense of collaboration that leads to compromises and weakens ideas.” Rather than kill ideas, criticism stimulates them, the authors argue, leading to better solutions fueled by a variety of perspectives. The key elements that makes it work are care and discipline. In this article, Verganti and Norman offer a detailed guideline for how to use criticism effectively.

Download “Why criticism is good for creativity

Create a productivity workflow that works for you

If you are struggling to find the perfect productivity app or platform, it may be time to take matters into your own hands and create your own. Fortunately, there is a new category of software that is making it easy to create your own custom productivity dashboard – no coding skill required. Alexandra Samuel, author of this HBR article, has been using one such tool to take her productivity to new heights – and she has some specific advice for those who want to do the same. In this article, she shares a few principles for creating the DIY productivity dashboard that best suits your needs. And while she acknowledges that some people may still find it easier and more convenient to use an app “off the shelf,” her tips are aimed at those who are dissatisfied, frustrated, and ready for a custom tool to help them stay on track.

Download “Create a productivity workflow that works for you

Don’t let teamwork get in the way of agility

Not all teamwork is created equal. Teamwork that is actually productive – and a good use of everyone’s time – is actually hard to achieve. Now, with most teams working remotely, leaders are rethinking the role of collaboration and how it helps or hinders agile teams. The authors of this article, Elaine Pulakos and Robert B. (Rob) Kaiser, explain the concept of “rightsizing” teamwork to make it more effective: “Rightsizing teamwork is an exercise in simplicity. To solve problems and overcome business challenges, leaders need to strike a balance between engaging those whose contribution is vital and boldly cutting out the people and processes that bog work down,” they write. In this article, they provide structured steps for defining the best teamwork strategy for any given project or initiative.

Download “Don’t let teamwork get in the way of agility

Build a culture that aligns with people’s values

There is a major disconnect holding companies back from recruiting top candidates and retaining employees. While most business leaders agree that improving company culture would increase their business value and performance, many employees (about half according to one study) don’t think their company’s leaders are doing enough to improve culture. In this article, Natalie Baumgartner outlines three actions leaders can take to show their commitment to building a better culture. Beyond these steps, “Leaders should honestly reflect on the extent to which they’re listening to employees, driving cultural values themselves, and recognizing employee performance — all of which are critical to empowering a diverse workforce,” writes Baumgartner.

Download “Build a culture that aligns with people’s values

Also read: 

IT talent strategy: New tactics for a new era

The year 2020 brings completely new IT talent challenges to organizations. In the decade ahead, technology talent will play a pivotal role in whether companies succeed or fail. This new research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services identifies five talent practices CIOs should adopt now to ensure their organizations thrive in the future, offering insights from more than a dozen CIOs and talent experts. Download this report for real-world examples of how you can attract and cultivate the IT talent that will help you succeed. 

Download: "IT talent strategy: New tactics for a new era"

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Carla Rudder is a writer and editor for The Enterprisers Project. As content manager, she enjoys bringing new authors into the community and helping them craft articles that showcase their voice and deliver novel, actionable insights for readers.  

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