5 must-read Harvard Business Review articles

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 resource library with five new HBR articles we believe CIOs and IT leaders will value highly. Check out the curated pieces below, available to readers through the end of the month.

When to take on tasks that are outside of your job description


What do you do if you see that an important task needs to be done but it’s outside of your job description? Before you decide whether to switch lanes, consider this research based on observations and recordings of first responders completing mass-casualty incident simulations. Margaret M. Luciano, Virgil Fenters, Semin Park, Amy Bartels, and Scott Tannenbaum, authors of this HBR article, note to be mindful of the environment, beware of crossing team boundaries, and remember to update your team and leaders. What’s most important is doing any job appropriately, whether it’s in your lane or not. Download this report to learn the essential lessons to consider.

Download: "When to take on tasks that are outside of your job description"

How to eliminate strategic overload


Many organizations are trying to respond to intensifying competitive pressures and challenges by asking too much of their employees. But focusing on a few important initiatives can lead to greater impact. By expanding the total amount of value created for their customers, employees, and suppliers, IT leaders can position their companies for enduring financial success. “An easy-to-use framework called value-based strategy gives executives a common language for evaluating strategic initiatives and developing a holistic view of the many activities taking place within their organizations.” What makes a strategic initiative truly worthwhile? Strategy expert Felix Oberholzer-Gee shares his thoughts in this HBR article. 

Download: "Eliminate strategic overload"

Getting AI to scale: 4 steps


Artificial intelligence has the potential to completely transform the way you do business. The issue arises when AI is deployed discretely over time, an approach that doesn’t produce consequential change. Yet trying to overhaul an entire organization at one time is simply too complicated to be practical. What’s the solution? “Using AI to reimagine one entire core business process, journey, or function end to end,” say three McKinsey consultants in this HBR article. IT leaders need to scale up AI quickly and efficiently, so read on to discover four steps that can help.

Download: "Getting AI to scale"

Resist old routines when returning to the office


As pandemic restrictions are easing, companies are embracing this unique opportunity to retain the beneficial practices they adopted during the crisis. But what changes have been the most effective and how do IT leaders identify what will continue to be successful? “Sustained organizational changes depend not only on the discovery of new practices and their initial adoption but also on ensuring that managers and employees don’t fall back into old routines when the impetus for change is gone,” write HBR authors Vijay Govindarajan, Anup Srivastava, Thomas Grisold, and Adrian Klammer. This article includes a four-step framework that can help CIOs identify, retain, and sustain the changes that have been successful in the past year. Find out if these types of changes are sustainable for your organization.

Download: "Resist old routines when returning to the office"

The hazards of a “nice” company culture


What’s that saying? “Things aren’t always as they seem…” Sometimes things look great at a surface level despite some serious disharmony underneath. Most companies genuinely want to create a “nice” work culture, believing this will be a major motivation for employees. But it can have the opposite effect, leading to the loss of open and honest communication and a lack of motivation and accountability. Leadership expert Timothy R Clark writes for HBR about work culture marked by “toxic niceness” and offers IT leaders four tactics to consider: Clarify expectations and performance standards. Publicly challenge the status quo, even if you helped create it. Provide air cover for people who speak up. Confront performance problems immediately. To learn how, download this article.

Download: "The hazards of a “nice” company culture"

Also read:
IT leadership in the next normal

The next normal has arrived, and CIOs play a central and critical role in whether organizations thrive in this reality. This research from Harvard Business Review Analytic Services identifies four focus areas for CIOs and  IT organizations, based on interviews with CIOs and CTOs from Abbott, Adobe, Equifax, Johnson & Johnson, Qualcomm, Raytheon, Toyota Financial Services, and University of Alabama at Birmingham, and other tech executives. Download this report to learn the 10 new leadership rules these executives are embracing.

Download: "IT leadership in the next normal"

Katie Sanders
Katie Sanders is Content Manager for The Enterprisers Project, seeking contributors with expertise that can be shared with CIOs and IT leaders. She is eager to find the best voices to provide quality thought leadership and insights and leave readers with actionable takeaways.

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