Tomorrow's Challenges

Thought leadership articles on business issues faced by leaders and executives across industries.

Finance, Sustainability

From triple towards one bottom-line

By Paul Strebel - 21/10/2016

At the 2016 Annual General Meetings of Exxon and Chevron, institutional investors forced a vote on whether the companies should release detailed climate impact reports, adopt greenhouse gas emission ...

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Organization Design, Interpersonal Leadership

Execs: Not getting enough sleep is nothing to brag about

By Jayanth Narayanan - 14/10/2016

I have often heard executives boast to each other how little sleep they get. People wear their ability to function on very little sleep as a badge of honor. Yet, evidence from sleep research shows it ...

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Self Leadership, Interpersonal Leadership

The impact of coaching in executive education

By Mark Skinner - 14/10/2016

As a coach and facilitator working with some premier European business schools at the beginning of this millennium, it was always pleasantly surprising to meet other coaches pioneering their ...

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Governance, Marketing

Bringing the family back into the business

By Joachim Schwass, Anne-Catrin Glemser - 07/10/2016

Surprisingly, most family businesses do not see the value in communicating about their history, their values and their long-term vision as owners of a company. Of course, it is easier not to put the ...

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Self Leadership, Interpersonal Leadership

To get more feedback, act more coachable

By Jean-François Manzoni - 07/10/2016

It’s hard to say who dreads critical feedback more: the manager giving it or the person receiving it. As the receiver, it can be uncomfortable and stressful to hear that you’re not performing well. An ...

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Innovation, Strategy

Which business models are most affected by digital?

By Knut Haanaes - 30/09/2016

In most industries, the competitive landscape is rapidly changing and as a result, companies speed through their life-cycles at an unprecedented pace (actually twice as fast as 20 years ago, according ...

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Operations, Strategy

For supply chains, faster is not always better

By Carlos Cordon - 30/09/2016

March 2013 was the coldest in decades for much of Europe and the eastern United States. But in March the previous year, the United States had experienced heatwaves. The capriciousness of the weather ...

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Strategy, Innovation

Beware of the Value Vampires

By Michael R. Wade - 23/09/2016

Have you ever wondered how companies like Uber, Amazon and Spotify can offer such low prices, make such low profit margins but still continue to operate? You’re not the only one. In our work at the ...

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Interpersonal Leadership, Strategy

Three ways to overcome your power deficit

By Cyril Bouquet, Jean-Louis Barsoux - 23/09/2016

'Power shortage’ is not just a term for the energy industry; executives frequently experience deficits in their power to influence as well. Essentially, there are three power sources that need to be ...

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Interpersonal Leadership, Strategy

How breakthrough leadership can defy company death

By Seán Meehan - 14/09/2016

British Home Stores and Woolworths in the UK, Radio Shack and C&J Energy Services in the US, Japan’s Skymark Airlines and Brazil’s fourth largest telecom operator Oi are just a few of the many sizable ...

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Innovation, Strategy

How companies fail – and what they can do about it

By Knut Haanaes - 14/09/2016

Here are two ways your company can fail. Keep doing more of the same. Or, if you’d prefer, start doing only what’s new. You want it to thrive so you need to take the trickier middle way; you need to f ...

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Strategy, Economics / Industry Analysis

Is Africa the land of business opportunity or pain?

By Leif Sjöblom - 07/09/2016

With growth stagnating around much of the world, businesses often look to new markets to find opportunities. BRIC countries were previously thought of as the global El Dorado by many companies but ...

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Strategy, Interpersonal Leadership

How good preparation can save your organization in a crisis

By Stefan Michel - 07/09/2016

The Swiss Armed Forces recently completed a 48-hour intensive crisis simulation exercise. For a change, it didn’t train military staff, but a group of international Executive MBA graduates from IMD. A ...

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Strategy, Innovation

The best companies aren’t afraid to replace their most profitable products

By Howard H. Yu, Thomas W. Malnight - 31/08/2016

For a long time, the Silicon Valley funding model has been hailed as a powerful alternative to the stifling way corporate America works. Many are betting on the new generation of technology firms to ...

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Innovation, Strategy, IT

Where is Google placing its bets?

By Michael R. Wade - 31/08/2016

Google is well aware of its vulnerability. More than 90% of the company’s revenues and almost all of its profits come from search-related advertising. As long as people click ads on computers, tablets ...

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Communications, Ethics

How to tell if your colleagues or clients are deceiving you – digitally?

By Jennifer Jordan - 26/08/2016

The average person is lied to an astounding 105 times per day. Many of these are innocuous lies — of the “I like your shirt” or “that airplane meal was good” variety. But as a business executive, some ...

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Challenges in going global

By Margaret Cording, Anand Narasimhan, Dominique Turpin - 18/08/2016

Few companies are ready to build and run truly global organizations, despite their ambitions. Globalization may be their goal – it may even form the backbone of their strategy – but only a tiny fracti ...

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Innovation, IT

Making the case for a new Olympic sporting category

By Michael R. Wade - 10/08/2016

You are probably watching the Olympics this week, supporting your home country and cheering on your favorite athletes. It seems to us, however, that the Olympic games are in need of a refresh. Viewers ...

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Political Economy

With TPP Dead, What's Next For World Trade?

By Jean-Pierre Lehmann - 03/08/2016

At a major conference on global trade I attended in London this month, officials from the US were extolling the virtues and benefits of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and, in cahoots with officia ...

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Finance, Innovation

Developing Win-Win Strategies for China’s Small Entrepreneurs

By Winter Nie - 27/07/2016

By identifying and overcoming financial hurdles in local business cycles, China’s regional banks are playing an increasingly critical role in moving China’s domestic economy forward. Yilong Xu, in cha ...

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Rethinking out of the box

By Albrecht Enders, Jean-Louis Barsoux - 12/07/2016

Executives are constantly urged to think out of the box, but given little practical advice on how to do so. A simple tool, already familiar to executives can be leveraged to provide the answer. ...

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Marketing, Strategy

The marketing strategy of industry disruptors

By Dominique Turpin - 07/07/2016

We are all familiar with Uber, Airbnb, Tesla, and Netflix as disruptors. But how many of you know Mediq? It’s a Dutch healthcare company that aims to make traditional pharmacies a thing of the past. M ...

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Interpersonal Leadership, Self Leadership

5 Leadership styles in a nutshell

By George Kohlrieser - 29/06/2016

Daniel Goleman’s work on leadership styles is well-known, and I introduce them in my High Performance Leadership Program for Senior Executives and my online based program Learning Leadership . Here is ...

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Sustainability, Operations

Five capabilities for a greener supply chain

By Ralf W. Seifert - 29/06/2016

As concerns over sustainability rise, corporations are extending their efforts to improve their environmental performance. For more than a decade, standards such as the ISO 14000 series request action ...

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Team Leadership, Self Leadership

Boosting immunity to team conflict

By Ginka Toegel, Jean-Louis Barsoux - 24/06/2016

Team conflict can add value or destroy it. Good conflict fosters respectful debate and yields mutually agreed-upon solutions that are often far superior to those first offered. Bad conflict occurs whe ...

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Interpersonal Leadership, Self Leadership

What do your words say?

By George Kohlrieser - 24/06/2016

Words have saved my life and the lives of others on more than one occasion. As a hostage negotiator, words are the most essential thing you have to face a weapon . Words – whether a question or a ...

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Political Economy, Economics / Industry Analysis

Defining China: A rising, fragile global power

By Jean-Pierre Lehmann - 20/06/2016

China is not part of the emerging markets; nor Brics, nor Chindia. China is itself, and has to be understood on its own terms. Among the many daunting questions the planet is facing, the most importan ...

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Strategy, Finance

Beware of activist investors?

By Nuno Fernandes - 16/06/2016

Activist investors are relatively new – but very influential – players in international capital markets. Activist investors are shareholders at publicly traded companies who attempt to affect change i ...

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Team Leadership, Strategy

Reshaping the team you inherit

By Michael D. Watkins - 16/06/2016

Most newly appointed leaders have limited familiarity with their teams at the outset and can’t swap in new people to help grow or transform the business. In this case it is extremely important to figu ...

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IT, Innovation

The only two things that matter for digital companies in China

By Michael R. Wade - 10/06/2016

I recently spent a week visiting companies in China, trying to learn as much as I could about digital transformation and trends in that country. I suspected that there were major differences between h ...

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HR, Team Leadership

The missing piece in changing employee behavior

By Shlomo Ben-Hur, Nik Kinley - 10/06/2016

“I put a dollar in one of those change machines. Nothing changed.” George Carlin (American comedian) Though it is hardly ever listed in job descriptions, changing employees’ behavior is an important p ...

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Sustainability, Ethics

San Patrignango and the social dimension of sustainability, a systems approach

By Francisco Szekely - 01/06/2016

Sustainability initiatives often fall short of their desired objective. While previous discussions have cited faults within an organization and/or the process it commits to when pursuing sustainabilit ...

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Innovation, IT

The digital business agility imperative

By Michael R. Wade, Andrew Tarling - 01/06/2016

Digital disruption has the potential to overturn incumbents and reshape markets faster than at any time in history. Many companies will benefit enormously from digitization. Others will not. The real ...

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Economics / Industry Analysis, Finance

Are the rich just getting richer?

By Arturo Bris - 25/05/2016

The launch of the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking is right around the corner. Every year it uses a wealth of economic and scientific hard data as well as robust surveys of business executives around ...

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Organization Design, Innovation

The three leadership skills to take your business digital

By Carlos Cordon - 18/05/2016

It would often seem that to succeed in the digital world, you need to be a young manager in a startup born with digital DNA, like Alibaba , Uber or Google . This is not the case. Research I have ...

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Innovation, IT

What is a Smart City anyways?

By Michael R. Wade - 11/05/2016

The term “Smart City” has lately become a buzzword for anyone involved in governing a city, yet it remains opaque and relatively ill-defined. Currently, the term is used as a catch-all for various ...

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Strategy, Innovation

Four scenarios to stress test your strategy

By Michael R. Wade - 11/05/2016

Change has been relentless since the turn of the millennium, and the pace of change is only expected to accelerate as we move into the next decade. Several factors are contributing to this acceleratio ...

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Interpersonal Leadership, Self Leadership

The right leadership mix to transform organizations

By Robert Hooijberg, Nancy Lane - 04/05/2016

What CEO or board member doesn’t dream of transforming their company? Of course the nuts and bolts of changing an organization from top to bottom are more than daunting. But it makes a huge difference ...

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Self Leadership, Interpersonal Leadership

Don’t fall into a leadership rut

By Ginka Toegel - 28/04/2016

As a leader, your career may have been a bumpy ride so far but you have shown you have what it takes to rise to the top. But if you think you’re done learning, think again. Once executives arrive at a ...

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Interpersonal Leadership, Self Leadership

Top leadership qualities in today’s unpredictable world

By Dominique Turpin - 28/04/2016

For the foreseeable future, the world won’t be a stable or predictable place like it used to be. Think about the countries which were touted a few years ago as the future of growth for global business ...

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HR, Organization Design

Attracting the right talent isn’t just about the money

By Howard H. Yu - 20/04/2016

It appears that companies operate in two economic realities. In the battle for talent, organizations sometimes feel they have little choice but to make the highest bid to attract the best candidates. ...

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Innovation, Strategy

How HQs can actually add value

By Cyril Bouquet, Jean-Louis Barsoux - 20/04/2016

Executives often mock the contribution of head offices to their subsidiaries. And rightly so. Head offices remain bastions of conservatism, advocating innovation everywhere but at HQ. To add real valu ...

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Innovation, Strategy

The red envelope war

By Michael R. Wade, Jialu Shan - 13/04/2016

In a tradition spanning more than 500 years, Chinese people have been giving each other money in red envelopes, called hongbao , as part of the annual New Year celebrations. These hongbao have now bec ...

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Innovation, Strategy

We are failing at failing

By William A. Fischer - 13/04/2016

We don’t fail enough; we need to fail faster, fail bigger, fail more often; convince our leaders that failure is acceptable. It’s almost as if we are saying that: “if only we were more accomplished ...

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Strategy, IT

What have digital and social media done to your strategy?

By Mikolaj Jan Piskorski, Carlos Cordon - 06/04/2016

Firms today are beginning to understand the importance of social and digital media to their corporate strategies. They have struggled to survive during a period that has greatly threatened their busin ...

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