Babu Rao Mandava

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7 Ways to Improve Employee Development Programs

Making the right investments in learning and development programs has never been more important – or more of a challenge – for business leaders.<p>Unfortunately, despite spending approximately $164.2 billion dollars on learning and development programs, many executives still grapple with how to …

Employee Engagement

A Key Ingredient for Creating Start-Ups: Young People

The presence of young workers appears to be necessary for the creation and growth of new firms, particularly in industries where young people have key technical skills, say Paige Ouimet of the University of North Carolina and Rebecca Zarutskie of the Federal Reserve Board. For example, in the …

Choose the Right Words in an Argument

When addressing a conflict with a colleague, the words matter. Sometimes, regardless of how good your intentions are, what you say can further upset your coworker and just make the issue worse. Other times you might say the exact thing that helps the person go from boiling mad to cool as a cucumber.<p>…

How Social Media Can Kill Your Brand And Three Ways To Avoid It

<i>Originally published on the We First Blog</i><p>It’s common knowledge today that brands now operate in a consumer activist marketplace where their ability to dialogue with brands and each other is shaping brand behavior. Brands are responding because it is far better to avoid or mitigate negative …

Do LinkedIn Endorsements Really Matter?

LinkedIn has done an exceptional job of establishing itself as the place to go to maintain your professional online presence. To get here, it’s played with lots of different features and formats—some with more success than others.<p>The introduction of Skills and Endorsements, for example, was (and …

Are These The 13 Worst Customer Service Mistakes Ever?

Here’s my list of 13 cringeworthy customer service mistakes I see companies make again and again and again. All fixable (which keeps me in business as a customer service consultant and speaker), but all tragic in their little, or more than little, way.<p>Refusing to say you’re sorry.<br>• Saying you’re …

Inclusiveness Means Giving Every Employee Personal Attention

Several years ago, a large, global company asked me to help improve their employee engagement. I suggested a strengths-based approach to the problem: a search for “hot spots” in the organization where people were highly engaged <i>and</i> performing well. By understanding what was working, we could harness …

Negotiate from the Inside Out

Being a successful strategic negotiator requires calculated self-interest, along with a heavy dose of dissembling. Or so go the usual assumptions about negotiating. People sense that to win, they must play a certain role— like good cop/bad cop — or simply <i>be</i> the title after their name (manager, …

Yes, You Can Make Meetings More Productive

High human capital productivity — one key to great financial results — requires hiring the right people, teaming them effectively, and eliminating organizational barriers to high performance. It also requires paying close attention to how people in the organization interact. At many companies, …

Entrepreneurs Need a Better Way to Cash Out

The most successful, visionary entrepreneurs dream not of millions of dollars, but of a world where their products change culture. But in technology startups, particularly venture-backed technology startups, the current investment climate does not always support that vision. Conventional wisdom …

Finding Your Superconsumers When It Isn’t Obvious Who They Are

In the March issue of HBR, some colleagues and I described a growth strategy of selling more to people we call “superconsumers.” In the article, most of the examples involve consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies; the central example involves Kraft’s Velveeta brand. The gist of the strategy is …

Reinvent Your Company by Reassessing Its Strengths

Strategic consistency is the hallmark of many great companies. Southwest Airlines’ decades-long strategy of ”short-haul, high-frequency, point-to-point, low-fare service” produced what was not only one of the best-performing airlines in the U.S. over the last half-century, but also one of the …

Even Small Negotiations Require Preparation and Creativity

Whether you’re aware of it or not, you’re negotiating all the time. When you ask your boss for more resources, agree with a vendor on a price, deliver a performance evaluation, convince a business partner to join forces with your company, or even when you decide with your spouse where to go on your …

When We Learn From Failure (and When We Don’t)

When do you pass the buck and when do you take the blame? New research shows most of us only cop to failures if they can’t be attributed to something – or someone - else. But when we dodge accountability, we prevent ourselves from learning.<p>In their recent HBS working paper, Christopher G. Myers, …

Better Management Could Spur a New Era of Economic Growth

Among economists, business leaders, and others, the debate continues over what George Mason University’s Tyler Cowen calls “The Great Stagnation” of the U.S. economy — and what interventions might return it to growth. Cowen points to the fact that wage levels in America have plateaued. He argues …

When to Pass on a Great Business Opportunity

Imagine you are the CEO of one of Britain’s oldest and possibly least innovative insurance companies, The Prudential. One of your better managers comes to you with the idea of setting up an internet bank. Or you are a supervisory board member of Mannesmann, a solid German engineering company, and …

How Samsung Gets Innovations to Market

Let’s say you’re working in a new market, far away from headquarters, and you need to get approval for an initiative that is somewhat outside the company’s current strategy. What do you do?<p>A case study we just published on Samsung’s European innovation team offers some helpful insights. It details …

Make Your Emotions Work for You in Negotiations

Your emotions matter in negotiations. They fuel your behaviors, energize you, and allow you to strengthen—or distance and damage—relationships with the people you’re negotiating with. But too often, people refuse to acknowledge their full range of feelings because they’re afraid of losing the …

Philips 60 Watt LED Equivalent Now Between $2 And $4 In Many U.S. Markets

If you’ve been following the evolution of the LED markets (and who hasn’t?) you will note that there are a lot of different players in the mass market lighting space. One of the leading players has been Philips. The company has been focused on the LED market for years, and was the winner of the …

Five Common And Costly Mistakes Young Entrepreneurs Make

Starting a business at a young age is simultaneously exciting and challenging. Even though I had taken an entrepreneurship class in college when I started my company Flashnotes.com, my lack of experience undoubtedly led to a few mistakes. But all of them were invaluable learning experiences on the …

Five Things Great Managers Do Every Day

When you hear the term inspirational leader, you may get images of someone who’s achieved considerable success, or is a brilliant strategist able to amass a personal fortune. Or perhaps you consider someone who gives rousing motivational speeches worthy of a TED talk – an iconoclast who changes the …

Possibly The Single Best Way To Improve Your Productivity

High productivity at work doesn’t have to be complicated.<p>You don’t need to attend all day courses teaching elaborate systems or spend months reading time management books.<p>In my many years of experience mentoring executives and entrepreneurs, I’ve found doing just one simple thing can dramatically …

Generation to Generation: How to Save the Family Business

Most family-owned businesses—approximately 70%—last just one generation. Because an estimated 80% of businesses across the globe are family-owned, the low survival rate has alarming consequences. Consider this: In the United States alone, family-owned businesses (FOBs) are responsible for 60% of …

Things You Never Hear Successful People Say

Why are some people more successful than others? Why some feel accomplished while others feel like they are stuck in career rut? The answer is – their vocabulary. Though, granted, your vocabulary is heavily dependent on your mentality and the way you see your life, both personal and …

Empowered Employees: Five Tips For Giving Your Staff A Sense Of Purpose

When you’re in control, you feel invigorated, energized, enthusiastic. You take pride in your achievements and put in the extra effort to get the job done right.<p>Every leader lives this, but exceptional leaders inspire it in their employees. So empower yours to reap higher productivity, fresh ideas, …

Leadership 101: How Doing Nothing Makes You A Better Leader

Here’s the truth: No one ever reached unimaginable heights or made millions by hitting “reply” all day. It’s easy to do—and we all do it. Email is nothing more than our effort to get others to help us with our own to-do lists. And that’s fine—but if it consumes the lion’s share of your waking …

Fewer Companies Listen For Customer Complaints On Twitter

It used to be that when a customer complained on Twitter about a company’s service or product, he got action. She got respect. Certainly said customer got a profuse apology for the poor experience whether it was the company’s fault or not. Then, per all PR experts’ advice, the company would quietly …

Three Imperatives for Good Project Managers

We all have good ideas. The hard part is making them happen.<p>HR departments love handing out worksheets on how to plan your time. Management gurus have written hundreds of pages of advice on how to better manage your week, your day, and your hour.<p>But what happens when you try and apply that advice …

Brave Leaders Inspire Greatness In Others

In our first segment of Lighthouse Learning, we featured Chad Hymas’ message regarding focusing on strengths instead of weaknesses. We believe it actually requires more courage to choose kindness over rudeness. Like anything else in life, to get really good at it, you have to practice. Over time …