Darren Worthington

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The Best Negotiators Plan to Think on Their Feet

You can’t script negotiation. Instead, you need a supple strategy you can adapt to the situation at hand. Opportunities pop up. So do obstacles. Power ebbs and flows. Talks that seem to crawl along can suddenly race forward or veer off in another direction.<p>After all, negotiation is a two-way …

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, …

'Vampire' burial in Poland keeps alive the myth that will not die - CNN.com

No top teeth and with a stake through the leg, the skeleton exhumed in Kamien Pomorski<p><i>25 years since Poland's first partly free elections, CNN's On the Road series visits the country looking at how it has been transformed since the fall of communism while taking a deeper look at its customs and</i> …

Adaptive Strategy Is a Cop-Out

Managers today are all obsessed with VUCA, an ugly acronym encapsulating the notion that business faces more volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity than ever before, requiring an entirely new kind of approach to strategy.<p>That new way comes under many terms: discovery-driven strategy, …

Can You Crowdsource a Big Idea?

Bill Joy, co-founder of Sun Microsystems, famously said, “No matter who you are, most of the smartest people work for someone else.” This insight is almost a tagline for the rise of online distributed innovation, commonly referred to as “crowd sourcing.” A number of scholars at Harvard Business …

An Introduction to Data-Driven Decisions for Managers Who Don’t Like Math

Not a week goes by without us publishing something here at HBR about the value of data in business. Big data, small data, internal, external, experimental, observational — everywhere we look, information is being captured, quantified, and used to make business decisions.<p>Not everyone needs to become …

Collective Genius

Google’s astonishing success in its first decade now seems to have been almost inevitable. But step inside its systems infrastructure group, and you quickly learn otherwise. The company’s meteoric growth depended in large part on its ability to innovate and scale up its infrastructure at an …

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 …

Is It Better to Be Strategic or Opportunistic?

<i>I spoke with contributor Don Sull, who teaches strategy at MIT and the London Business School, about the tension between scholars who put sustainable competitive advantage at the center of strategy and those who argue that some industries are changing too quickly to allow for sustained performance.</i> …

When “Scratch Your Own Itch” Is Dangerous Advice for Entrepreneurs

“Scratch your own itch,” is one of the most influential aphorisms in entrepreneurship. It lies behind successful product companies like Apple, Dropbox, and Kickstarter, but it can also lead entrepreneurs predictably to failure.<p>This approach to entrepreneurship increases your market knowledge: as a …

Mixing Business and Social Good Is Not A New Idea

More and more business schools are building programs to support students who want to do business while doing good. In addition, companies are rebuilding their recruiting processes to attract top talent that cares less about financial rewards and more about social impact. It seems like every day I …

Strategy’s No Good Unless You End Up Somewhere New

Innovation isn’t always strategic, but strategy making sure as heck better be innovative. By definition, strategy is about allocating resources <i>today</i> to secure a better <i>tomorrow</i>. It is important, however, to understand the nuances and complexities of innovation as they relate to strategy. Here is my …

Win More Sales with an Indirect Strategy

For the past two decades, business-to-business selling has been conducted in basically the same way. Salespeople directly approach customers armed with facts, features, and the benefits of their products to convince customers to buy. However, customer decision making has changed and today’s buyers …

Create a Work Environment That Fosters Flow

Everywhere we look in business, timetables once measured by calendars can now be clocked by egg timers. So how can we keep up? In a word — and according to an ever-increasing pile of evidence — “flow.”<p>Technically defined as an “optimal state of consciousness where we feel our best and perform our …

A Social Brain Is a Smarter Brain

It is well established that brain games and puzzles act as calisthenics for our brains, expanding their capacity and improving their overall health. More surprising are the findings of a study led by researchers at the University of Michigan. It shows that just as effective in building cognitive …

The Best Lecture I’ve Ever Heard

Mr. Frost, my superb economics teacher in England, once shared the story of two people talking about a lecture given by the late Milton Friedman, the father of Monetarism. The first said, “Twenty years ago, I went to the worst lecture I’ve ever heard! Friedman gave it and I still remember how he …

3 Myths That Kill Strategic Planning

In its simplest form, strategic thinking is about deciding on which opportunities to focus your time, people, and money, and which opportunities to starve. One of history’s greatest strategic thinkers, Napoleon Bonaparte summed it up this way: “In order to concentrate superior strength in one …

How to Execute a 15-Word Strategy Statement

There is no shortage of stories and anecdotes to illustrate how the best strategies can nearly always be reduced down to a brief but powerful statement and even more ink has been spilled describing the dangers of strategy statements that read like detailed action plans.<p>But how do you go about …

The Power of Mantra

The sages tell us that our essential nature is truth, consciousness, and bliss, and that the source of our misery is estrangement from our essential …

Spirituality

Delivering an Effective Performance Review

It’s performance review season, and you know the drill. Drag each of your direct reports into a conference room for a one-on-one, hand them an official-looking document, and then start in with the same, tired conversation. Say some positive things about what the employee is good at, then some …

The Behaviors that Define A-Players

Individual contributors sometimes ask themselves, “What will it take for others to recognize my potential?” They may simply want acknowledgement of the importance of the work they do. Or they may aspire to move into management. In some cases, they’ve been told that they’re doing fine and have been …

Improve Decision-Making With Help From the Crowd

Most decisions in organizations are made by escalating them up the management hierarchy — and it’s usually the highest paid person in the room’s opinion (“HIPPO”) that prevails. The HIPPO model of decision-making will likely always be with us. But with the rise of digital technology, and with it …

Mindfulness in the Age of Complexity

Photography: Webb Chappell<p>Over nearly four decades, Ellen Langer’s research on mindfulness has greatly influenced thinking across a range of fields, from behavioral economics to positive psychology. It reveals that by paying attention to what’s going on around us, instead of operating on …

The Strategic Mistake Almost Everybody Makes

“It is simple math,” the strategist said in a tone that sounded suspiciously similar to how I explain things to my six-year-old daughter. “Decreasing churn by a percent — a single percent! — creates tens of millions of dollars of value. A point of market share creates five times that amount. Our …

The “40-Year-Old Intern” Goes to Wall Street

In mid-September 2013, 10 professionals returning from multi-year career breaks walked into 270 Park Avenue in New York City to begin the J.P. Morgan ReEntry Program. Elsewhere on Wall Street, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse have recently initiated internship programs for return-to-work …

Why Is an App Worth as Much as a Small Oil Field?

Since Facebook’s acquisition of WhatsApp, commentators have debated whether the app was worth it or not. What if I suggested that the best place to look for answers could be the shale oil fields of North Dakota?<p>While on the surface, the dirty business of fossil fuels is nothing like Silicon Valley, …