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10 great stories of leadership, strategy and hope in the face of disruption in 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic has disrupted organizations around the world in 2020. Here is our list of 10 must-read articles offering insights into how leaders and managers have faced the challenges of this extraordinary year.
December 2020

 - IMD Business School

Every leader needs to navigate these seven tensions

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Change Jennifer Jordan, Professor of Innovation and Strategy Michael Wade and Elizabeth Teracino.

Leaders must balance traditional “old style” methods of leadership like positional authority with emerging methods that include adjusting for new information and sudden changes. Here the experts unpack the tensions that arise, the dangers if they are ignored and ways to achieve the perfect balance.

What’s your leadership origin story?

Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior Alyson Meister, Wei Zheng and Brianna Barker Caza

This is a fascinating look into how we tell our stories and how that influences both leadership style and support for peers in our organizations. The authors highlight four distinct types of leadership narratives – being, engaging, performing and accepting – and delve into timely issues like gender disparities.

Three proactive response strategies to COVID-19 business challenges

Professor of Innovation and Strategy Michael Wade and Heidi Bjerkan

Response strategies that match organizational infrastructure and emerging market trends will offer significant opportunities for companies – from expanding and scaling the scope of their organizations to overhauling infrastructure for increased production and capacity.

COVID has decelerated globalization, but not ended it

Professor of Finance Arturo Bris and senior UBS executives Massimiliano Castelli and Philipp Salman

Will your company be a winner or a loser as the world becomes less globalized? Based on a whitepaper by the authors, this article provides highlights of which trends will influence portfolios for the post-COVID-19 world.

The new elements of digital transformation

Affiliate Professor of Strategy and Digital Transformation Didier Bonnet and George Westerman

Digital mastery is now more important than ever – truly transforming the way companies do business. By revisiting their landmark research, Bonnet and Westerman address how the competitive advantages offered by digital technology have evolved.

Industry 4.0 and COVID-19: why the pandemic might have provided a clearing in the woods

Professor of Operations Management Ralf W. Seifert and Richard Markoff

Building business cases for the Fourth Industrial Revolution – known as Industry 4.0 – is notoriously hard work due to the myriad of technologies available. But there is room for compelling opportunities due to spikes in e-commerce demand, the use of AI in demand planning and initiatives that emphasize efficiency.

Profit or ethics? The false data dilemma

Professor of AI, Analytics and Marketing Strategy Amit Joshi

The effective management of “tech ethics” will prove a crucial differentiator for companies in the post-pandemic world. As consumers succumb to the silent creep of data analytics, companies must address these issues or suffer the consequences.

The nine steps businesses can take today to fight climate change, racism and poverty

IMD Head of Sustainability Natalia Olynec

In this article curated by Olynec, IMD faculty identify nine key innovations that will contribute to business and societal transformation. From carbon capture to mitigate climate change, to dismantling barriers to gender equality, professors make their cases for charting a clear path to achieving the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals by 2030.

How to keep up employee morale during a difficult holiday season

Distinguished Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behavior George Kohlrieser

2020’s end-of-year holidays are the first of their kind, altered dramatically by the pandemic and an attempt to keep the public health crisis to manageable levels. As people face the bleak perspective of spending the holidays alone, Kohlrieser spells out how managers can do their part to buoy spirits.

Lessons from LEGO Group: assembling the bricks to grow in a crisis

IMD President and Nestlé Chaired Professor Jean-François Manzoni

This exclusive video interview with Manzoni and LEGO Brand Group Executive Chairman explores the company’s strong performance during this year’s global lockdown. Its deep-rooted culture of resilience and agility focuses on putting people first, and only then, securing business continuity.