Put a Little Air in the Balloon

Great Leadership By Dan

I heard the following simple but powerful little lesson from a Fortune 500 executive last week: As a leader, if you want to create a culture of innovation, you need to create an environment where all employees feel encouraged to bring new ideas forward.

Let's Be Realistic About Measuring Impact

Harvard Business Review

Claims about making a difference are no longer sufficient; evidence of how much difference you're making is now required. I studied three organizations at the vanguard of performance measurement: Acumen Fund , Robin Hood Foundation , and Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC).

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Venture Capitalists Get Paid Well to Lose Money

Harvard Business Review

2013 had all the signs of being a comeback year for venture capital. The industry realized its highest returns since the Internet boom. Yet 2013 annual industry performance data from Cambridge Associates shows that venture capital continues to underperform the S&P 500, NASDAQ and Russell 2000. The ongoing poor performance of venture capital firms should be an obvious problem for institutional investors. What is the optimum level of VC commit?

An Experiment in India Shows How Much Companies Have to Gain by Investing in Their Employees

Harvard Business Review

It may seem that the employers of such low-wage workers — who focus mainly on keeping costs down in order to survive in a relentlessly competitive industry — would have no incentive to provide such training or resources for personal development. In July 2013 we implemented a randomized controlled trial in five factory units in Bangalore operated by Shahi Exports Pvt. We then computed return on investment by combining our impact estimates with data on programmatic costs.

Could a Four-Year-Old Do What Carl Icahn Does?

Harvard Business Review

I have my own version of this. Every time investor Carl Icahn makes headlines with another of his activist campaigns, I wonder, “Could my four-year-old do that?”. I do have a 15-year-old who could not in a million years be bothered to send Apple’s Tim Cook a letter urging him to “meaningfully accelerate and increase the magnitude of share repurchases.” Yet the simplicity and almost child-like nature of Icahn’s approach still begs examination.

Hedge 11

The Comprehensive Business Case for Sustainability

Harvard Business Review

Today’s executives are dealing with a complex and unprecedented brew of social, environmental, market, and technological trends. Hoping to alleviate their concerns, this article also provides concrete examples of how sustainability benefits the bottom line. Traditional business models aim to create value for shareholders, often at the expense of other stakeholders. Climate change, water scarcity, and poor labor conditions in much of the world increase the risk.