6 Strategies for Maximizing the Matrix

Matrix structures have fallen in and out of favor since they first emerged in the 1960s yet have increasingly gained traction over the last 20 years amid the mounting pressures of globalization and competition. Sharing functions across the organization, matrix structures have separate chains of command, one for permanent function-based roles and another for short-term strategic projects. For employees, this means that they have at least one boss, a system which has its pros and cons. On the plus side, matrices allow… Read More

Build Your Team by Building Trust

As AI, automation and other technologies continue to gain traction, global firms will increasingly rely on the caliber of their talent pool as a source of competitive advantage. In this new landscape, team dynamics – defined as the unconscious system of behaviors and psychological processes within social groups – will be key to maximizing creativity, productivity and effectiveness. Like most relationships, optimal team dynamics don’t emerge on their own. Rather, they must be continuously nurtured in order to foster a climate of… Read More

The 4 Vital Skills of Successful Sales Directors

Sales directors are responsible for designing, managing and motivating their sales teams. Emotional leadership is a crucial component of salesforce motivation. “The measure of intelligence is the ability to change,” observed Albert Einstein. Without a doubt, today’s fast-paced, volatile markets are putting global sales managers to the test. Under endless pressure to hit their sales targets, they must also be adept at adapting to disruptive innovations and ever-changing customer demands. Successful sales directors understand the importance of staying open and optimistic in… Read More

To Step Up Your Leadership, First Take a Step Back

In our digitally driven world, technology is revolutionizing and reshaping the way we work, live and conduct business. It won’t be long before many of these technological advances become commoditized, prompting firms to increasingly rely on the caliber of their people to gain competitive advantage. According to Edward S. Hess, a professor at the University of Virginia and the author of Humility Is the New Smart: Rethinking Human Excellence in the Smart Machine Age, “Technology will require businesses to become much more… Read More

Bridging Cultural Divides at the Negotiating Table

Despite painstaking preparations and the best intentions to reach win-win results, negotiations sometimes derail. Build rapport, practice active listening and explore options instead of immediately making offers, advise the experts. This is hard enough as it is, so what happens when cultural differences are added into the mix? “When we negotiate with people from other cultures, we sometimes make assumptions on their intentions and aspirations that may or may not be true,” says Prof. Kandarp Mehta of IESE’s Entrepreneurship Department and Negotiation… Read More

The Power of Non-Verbal Communication

Your words aren’t as important as the conviction, passion and energy behind them, as Mark Twain used to say. When delivering a speech, your non-verbal communication is at least as important – if not more – than what you actually say. When used well, body language is a powerful tool that can help you gain credibility and persuade your audience. A good command of public speaking and staging will enable you to persuade and convince by honestly and effectively communicating with your… Read More

Discovering Business Opportunities in a Digital Age

Digital transformation has turned the global economy on its head over the past two decades, paving the way for new business models while toppling long-established players unable to keep pace with evolving technologies and changing customer needs. In order to adequately assess the threats and opportunities in this new environment, IESE Prof. Josep Valor urges senior decision-makers to keep five core concepts on their radars: The Power of Platforms In today’s digital age, successful business models are often platforms, which facilitate communications and… Read More

7 Keys for Successful Strategy Execution

When faced with steering their firms in a new direction, CEOs can take months to craft a corporate strategy yet still fail to reach their destination. What’s missing to successfully translate strategy into action? Beyond blockbuster ideas and the best-laid plans, successful strategic leadership is built from the ground up, from thousands of concrete actions interweaved into the firm’s day-to-day. “Formulation and implementation shouldn’t be considered as separate processes,” says IESE Prof. Fabrizio Ferraro. “More importantly, they are not the outcome of… Read More

Building Your Business With Artificial Intelligence

As the business impact of artificial intelligence continues to expand, definitions abound to explain exactly what it entails. For IESE Prof. Sampsa Samila, AI can be boiled down to six words – “data-driven predictions based on past patterns” – but with a caveat. “We commonly use the word ‘prediction’ for a lot of different scenarios. We predict the weather, we predict where we’ll get the best price, we predict which products customers will like, we predict diagnoses based on X-ray images… We… Read More

How To Network – and How Not To

“Relationships are crucial to our success, no matter what we want to achieve in our lives.” The quote is from Keith Ferrazzi, an expert on networking, but most executives have already discovered this truth for themselves. A wide and well-oiled network of contacts can be an asset just as valuable as experience or training, with relationships translating into new business opportunities, job offers, business partners or simply fruitful connections with like-minded people. But we often focus on other areas of our careers… Read More