Is Management a Noble Profession?

Last week I spoke of marketers as liars. This week’s blog post is to atone for that. One consequence of the 2008 financial crisis, the deleterious impact of which on employment and incomes still persist, is that it tarnished the image of bankers and managers. I would be hard pressed to defend bankers, even if…

Two Biggest Lies in Marketing

There is a common perception that all marketers are liars! I am not going to comment on this. Instead, I will focus on the two biggest lies that I have observed in marketing using an example that was elaborated in my book Value Merchants (co-authored with James Anderson and Jim Narus) targeted to business marketing…

Does IQ Matter?

This weekend blog started as a weekend email to the top leadership of the Tata Group. Once, I included an abbreviated intelligence (IQ) test available on the internet.  Some of my Tata colleagues sent their individual scores to me and the distribution was:

How to learn? Must you fail?

Many years ago, I shared a taxi from Singapore airport to the hotel with Chris Argyris. Chris was a business school professor, who ended his career at Harvard and unfortunately passed away in 2013. His research focussed on why organizations and people find it so hard to learn. His most approachable article is “Teaching Smart People How to Learn“ published…

How Do We Perceive Ourselves?

While professor at IMD in Switzerland, I was the co-director of the Program for Executive Development which targeted senior managers in their 40s and 50s who had been successful in their careers in a functional role. Overwhelmingly, they did not have an MBA. You must remember that the MBA was not a common degree in…

Does Increasing Power Portend War?

For some reason, inexplicable to me, my two favourite research papers, are also my two least successful in terms of citations. Perhaps they were published in the wrong journals. This week I would like to report on one of them. While the empirical analysis was done in a distribution channels context, it has fascinating implications…

Au Revoir 2016

Welcome to the last blog of 2016. Since this weekend blog was set up, I have written 38 posts, which are aimed to be consumed in about 10 minutes. It is now emailed to more than 750 subscribers. But via postings on http://www.scroll.in and http://www.linkedin.com, another 10,000 to 100,000 views a week are garnered. Signing…

Should You Disagree with the Boss?

When teaching, I often used to observe that your boss works much harder than you do and, more often than not, is smarter than you. Nothing riled up the class more than this, but such provocations are extremely important. The role of a professor is not to tell students “what to think”, but instead “to…

Are Golden Parachutes for CEOs Justified?

There is a lot of angst, and sometimes justifiable anger, against the large severance packages made to departing CEOs. Previously, these severance deals of CEOs only came to light after their exit. However, since 2006, the Securities and Exchange Commission requires data on CEO compensation in the USA to be transparent. Data is still hard…

The Interview That Never Ran

A primary function of PR agencies that are hired by companies is to feed journalists with stories / questions that will reflect poorly on the other side. Last week, I received one such set of gotcha questions from a senior journalist of one of India’s leading newspapers. For some reason, despite the tight deadline given…

Does Anybody Hate You?

Some years ago, I was with the CEO of a major multinational telecom company and his top team. The firm had over the past decade spent hundreds of millions on advertising. Yet, to the dismay of the CEO, while brand awareness was very high among the consumers; these same consumers were unable to spontaneously recall…

Can Conflict Ever be Productive?

My early academic research focused on power, trust, and conflict in organizations. Last week’s blog was inspired by the research on power, and this week, the focus in on conflict in organizations. Conflict emerges when one party perceives its goals, values or opinions are being thwarted by an interdependent (team member or colleague in organizations,…