Michael van Alderwegen

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What Is Strategy, Again?

If you read what Peter Drucker had to say about competition back in the late ’50s and early ‘60s, he really only talked about one thing: competition on price. He was hardly alone — that was evidently how most economists thought about competition, too.<p>It was this received opinion Michael Porter was …

How Deal With Difficult People

Difficult people can be bad for your health if you let them stress you out. Mary Bolster, editor of “Natural Health Magazine”, has some excellent …

Help Your Team Agree on How They’ll Collaborate

It’s easy to assume that everyone knows how to work on a team — and on some level this is true. But each member of your team probably has her own understanding of how to collaborate, not to mention individual styles and preferences. If you ask six team members what they think “completing work on …

Leaders as Decision Architects

All employees, from CEOs to frontline workers, commit preventable mistakes: We underestimate how long it will take to finish a task, overlook or ignore information that reveals a flaw in our planning, or fail to take advantage of company benefits that are in our best interests. It’s extraordinarily …

Manage Stress by Knowing What You Value

Much has been written about “stress management” techniques that are primarily behavioral in nature — such as getting adequate sleep, regular exercise, and mental downtime; taking vacation; doing controlled breathing; practicing yoga or mindfulness meditation; or getting acupuncture treatments. But …

Games Can Make You a Better Strategist

Play has long infused the language of business: we talk of players, moves, end games, play books and so on. And now we hear often about the “gamification” of work—using elements of competition, feedback and point scoring to better engage employees and even track performance. Even so, actual games …

Should Leaders Focus on Results, or on People?

A lot of ink has been spilled on people’s opinions of what makes for a great leader. As a scientist, I like to turn to the data. In 2009, James Zenger published a fascinating survey of 60,000 employees to identify how different characteristics of a leader combine to affect employee perceptions of …

3 Ways to Encourage Smarter Teamwork

Business problems today are too big for any one person to solve. Agile teams are much more effective at solving problems than are lone geniuses. So why do we still reward the smartest people in the room more so than those who excel at working with others? You know who I’m talking about: the people …

The Condensed Guide to Running Meetings

We love to hate meetings. And with good reason — they clog up our days, making it hard to get work done in the gaps, and so many feel like a waste of time. There’s plenty of advice out there on how to stop spending so much time in meetings or make better use of the time, but does it hold up in …

Of 100 Published Psychology Studies, Less Than Half Could Be Reproduced Successfully

Prepare your grains of salt<p>One of the pillars of scientific research--perhaps the one that makes science as definitive as it is--is that any study should be capable of being repeated under the same methods and conditions and if the research holds true, the same result will be found every time the …

Leading People When They Know More than You Do

If you’re a manager in a knowledge-driven industry, chances are you’re an expert in the area you manage. Try to imagine a leader without this expertise doing your job. You’ll probably conclude it couldn’t be done. But as your career advances, at some point you will be promoted into a job which …

How to Stop Micromanaging Your Team

Micromanaging is a hard habit to break. You may downplay your propensities by labeling yourself a “control freak” or by claiming that you just like to keep close tabs on your team, but those are poor excuses for excessive meddling. What can you do to give your people the space they need to succeed …

What Separates Great HR Leaders from the Rest

HR seems to have become every manager and employee’s favorite corporate punching bag, vying with IT for the dubious title of most-irritating function. We have seen a parade of articles recently calling for HR to be blown up, split in two, or at the very least, redesigned.<p>Perhaps this is a good …

What Great Managers Do

“The best boss I ever had.” That’s a phrase most of us have said or heard at some point, but what does it mean? What sets the great boss apart from the average boss? The literature is rife with provocative writing about the qualities of managers and leaders and whether the two differ, but little …

How Certainty Transforms Persuasion

Certainty profoundly shapes our behavior. The more certain we are of a belief—regardless of its objective correctness—the more durable it will be and the greater its influence on what we do. Across dozens of studies spanning more than two decades, consumer and social psychologists have shown that …

Giving Feedback When You’re Conflict Averse

“Conflict avoiders are generally people who value harmony in the workplace,” writes Amy Gallo in the <i>HBR Guide to Managing Conflict at Work.</i> ”When they sense a disagreement brewing, they will often try to placate the other person or change the topic. These aren’t passive behaviors, but active things …

The Emotions That Make Us More Creative

Artists and scientists throughout history have remarked on the bliss that accompanies a sudden creative insight. Einstein described his realization of the general theory of relativity as the happiest moment of his life. More poetically, Virginia Woolf once observed, “Odd how the creative power …

How to Give Feedback to Someone Who Gets Crazy Defensive

How do you handle giving unfavorable feedback to someone who will surely take it badly – and I mean <i>really</i> badly? Think: shouting, tears, defensiveness, accusations, personal attacks, revising history, twisting words — pick your nightmare.<p>Consider the case of Melissa, who was the team leader on a …

Design for Action

Throughout most of history, design was a process applied to physical objects. Raymond Loewy designed trains. Frank Lloyd Wright designed houses. Charles Eames designed furniture. Coco Chanel designed haute couture. Paul Rand designed logos. David Kelley designed products, including (most famously) …

How to Embrace Complex Change

Lee Wright<p>Denise Wang felt settled in her life in London. She had a great job as the divisional marketing chief at a UK-based consumer goods company; a supportive husband, Phil, who was a partner in an international consultancy; and two daughters, eight and 10, who had for the previous three years …

6 Ways to Turn Managers into Coaches Again

The role of the manager is currently undergoing a transformation. Historically, managers embraced the role of coach and mentor. Through informal conversations during the commute to work, over a coffee break, or while enjoying a burger after hours, managers passed along crucial information and …

Stop Trying to Please Everyone

Many of us are familiar with the concept of <i>Getting to Yes</i>, an iconic negotiation strategy developed by Harvard professor Roger Fisher and others. For many managers, however, the more difficult day-to-day challenge is “getting to no” which is what we call the process for agreeing on what <i>not</i> to …

This infographic shows how likely different races are to go to prison

The criminal justice system in America is racially skewed, and as incarceration rates continue to climb, studies have found that African-Americans are disproportionately affected to a significant extent.<p>This illustration from the Sentencing Project shows exactly how stark the racial disparity is in …

People Offer Better Ideas When They Can’t See What Others Suggest

Companies from BMW to Kraft have invested a good deal in soliciting “open innovation” ideas from consumers, but the results have been underwhelming: Of the more than 23,000 ideas gathered by Dell’s Idea Storm site, only 2% have been put to use, and Starbucks has implemented an even smaller fraction …

The Research We’ve Ignored About Happiness at Work

Recently, we found ourselves in motivational seminars at our respective places of employment. Both events preached the gospel of happiness. In one, a speaker explained that happiness could make you healthier, kinder, more productive, and even more likely to get promoted.<p>The other seminar involved …

7 Things Leaders Do to Help People Change

Ever tried to change anyone’s behavior at work? It can be extremely frustrating. So often the effort produces an opposite result: rupturing the relationship, diminishing job performance, or causing the person to dig in their heels. Still, some approaches clearly work better than others.<p>We reviewed …

10 tips for creating a successful social media strategy for any event

A mural at TEDxSanDiego (Photo: TEDxSanDiego)<p><b>During their 2013 event, the team at TEDxSanDiego received 1.53 million impressions on Twitter</b>, not to …

How to manage for collective creativity

What's the secret to unlocking the creativity hidden inside your daily work, and giving every great idea a chance? Harvard professor Linda Hill, …

9 Optical Illusions That Prove You Can't Always Trust Your Brain

Optical illusions have always been deliberately designed to confuse and baffle your mind. There's the ones that can make you go cross-eyed to those …

Cool Stuff

Gruesome weekend for Chicago leaves city, police chief reeling

<b>(CNN) —</b> When a city has eight killings in two days, including the death of a 7-year-old boy, something is seriously wrong with the system.<p>That's what Chicago's police chief said after a spate of bloodshed that tormented the city over the weekend.<p>"We need to repair a broken system," Police …

Crime