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Why Apple Must Move Beyond the ‘Wow’ Moment

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As the smartphone market matures, iPhone sales have lost momentum. To achieve robust growth for the future, Apple needs more hits — but also a strategy that goes beyond relying on them.

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How Incentives for Long-Term Management Backfire

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To hear long-term investors tell it, company executives have embraced short-term thinking like never before. Two obvious pieces of evidence: The use of earnings for share buybacks that cost more than they’re worth, and dividend increases that divert cash from long-term investment. Four hundred seventy-one companies in the S&P 500 bought back stock last year, and 372 companies expanded their dividends — actions undertaken in spite of the need to invest ...

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What Middle Managers Can Learn from Agents, Brokers, and Other Middlemen

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While I was researching my book about middlemen, some people didn’t seem to understand who I was talking about. “You mean like middle managers?” they’d ask. I used to say, “No — it’s about brokers, agents, dealers, and two-sided markets like Airbnb, OpenTable, and TaskRabbit.” In other words, I was investigating the people who connect buyers and sellers in an open marketplace, not in a firm.

But at some point in my reporting, ...

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Why Facebook Messenger Is a Big Deal for Customer Service

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For a long time, Facebook Messenger seemed to be secondary to Facebook’s core business – a product feature rather than something more. So when Facebook bought WhatsApp for an extraordinary $19 billion, it seemed like WhatsApp would end up being Facebook’s messaging platform of choice. But on April 14, Facebook announced that it was explicitly turning Messenger into a platform that allows media outlets, retailers, and anyone else to develop bots ...

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What Leadership Looks Like in Different Cultures

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What makes a great leader? Although the core ingredients of leadership are universal (good judgment, integrity, and people skills), the full recipe for successful leadership requires culture-specific condiments. The main reason for this is that cultures differ in their implicit theories of leadership, the lay beliefs about the qualities that individuals need to display to be considered leaders. Depending on the cultural context, your typical style and behavioral tendencies may be an ...

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Let Employees Be People

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Robert Kegan and Lisa Lahey, both of Harvard, discuss what they’ve learned from studying radically transparent organizations where people at all levels of the hierarchy get candid feedback, show vulnerability, and grow on the job. Their book is An Everyone Culture.

Download this podcast

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The Founder of Dogfish Head on Flouting a 500-Year-Old Beer Law

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I’ll never forget going onstage at a beer tasting event in 1997. I was in my twenties and pretty nervous. The crowd seemed to really like hearing me talk about pouring pure apricot puree into the barley malt as it fermented to make Aprihop, our apricot-infused ale. But then an older, established brewer at a much bigger company followed me onstage.

“We are traditional brewers, not fad brewers,” he said at the ...

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For Delegation to Work, It Has to Come with Coaching

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Senior leaders want to believe that delegating a task is as easy as flipping a switch. Simply provide clear instructions and you are instantly relieved of responsibility, giving you more time in your schedule.

That’s the dream. In reality, we all know it almost never works that way. You’re often forced to step in at the last minute to save a botched deliverable. And because you jumped in to save the day, employees ...

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The More People We Connect with on LinkedIn, the Less Valuable It Becomes

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When it comes to social networking, is bigger always better?

Many internet users have taken Tim O’Reilly’s definition of a Web 2.0 application — “one that gets better the more people use it” — as a personal axiom. A big network, goes the argument, gives you reach and, potentially, that holy grail of “influence.”

Many users are beginning to discover, however, that a larger number of social network connections may be less valuable than a smaller, more intimate circle. ...

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To Save Wisely for Retirement, Sometimes Less Choice Is Best

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When companies streamlined their retirement plans, employees took fewer risks, paid less in expenses and often increased the size of their return, Wharton research finds.

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