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Tech at a turning point
Reckoning with digital transformation
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unicorns are much more than a fantasy
Principles for the digital world Antonio Argandoña Editorial Director of IESE Business School Insight AArgandona@iese.edu
he Terminator. Hackers and cyberattackers. Social manipulation through bots, trolls and fake news. The Big Brother state – or, increasingly, Big Brother multinational corporations. Often, technology is presented as a set of dangers. This dystopian view has lately turned public opinion against tech companies – what The Econo-
mist calls a “techlash” particularly against Facebook, Google and Amazon for questionable practices around transparency, privacy, accuracy and competition. And yet technology remains an indispensable resource to improve our lives. Cer-
tainly, it has its risks, and we try to use regulation to address them. Unfortunately, because the risks are global while the regulators are local, our best regulatory efforts can sometimes fall short, amounting to too little, too late. As such, business leaders must learn to regulate themselves, using ethical frameworks to guide their behavior. Indeed, for managers in the digital age, one of the key leadership traits highlighted in this issue of IESE Business School Insight is to exercise exceptional moral judgment and transparency. Ethics need not limit technological activity. Rather, ethics function like the guardrails of a highway, protecting both yourself and others. Ethics help identify problems and provide criteria to assess alternatives, make better decisions and put them into practice. There are already some agreed ethical principles for the digital world, like transparency, as well as responsible use of data and respect for privacy and security. But as technology evolves faster than regulation can keep up, we must keep raising the bar higher. For example, it’s one thing to tell users they have the ability to adjust their privacy settings, quite another to tell them upfront what you intend to do with their data and then require their informed consent before you can collect or monetize any of it. Do all parties know their rights and responsibilities with regard to the use of your technology? Is there discrimination, intrusion or manipulation involved that could destabilize civic processes? Are your business protocols aligned with the broader values that society considers acceptable? Were any red lines crossed? More to the point, do you actually know what your red lines are? Let’s aspire to higher ethical principles. As our report says, we’re at a turning point in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We must rise to the occasion. Otherwise, the current techlash will only get worse.
Tech at a turning point Reckoning with digital transformation
How will digitalization affect your sector? A matrix to reflect on the scope and timing of the impact
Toolkit for tomorrow’s executives 7 traits needed to navigate change
Focus on the opportunities to make a positive social impact Interview with Hyperloop’s co-founder and chair Bibop G. Gresta
Any transformation needs transformational leaders
Yes, you can bypass IT
Interview with New York Times CEO Mark Thompson
IESE’s Robert Wayne Gregory offers 6 tips for taking a creative approach to IT 30
“A world in transition needs thoughtful, intelligent people. My model is: find really able people and then not get in their way”
“Sometimes, to keep pace with your market, working around your IT department may be necessary”
Robert Wayne Gregory
“We need to evolve from an economy of scarcity to an economy of abundance” Bibop G. Gresta
THE BIG PICTURE Are electric cars the future? It’s more complicated than you think
SMART PICKS 34
The right investment mix for retirement
Beware of hiring star talent
5 whistleblowing tips
Kickoff time for advertising
Super Bowl ads signal broader trends
KNOW Leading with compassion
5 mistakes every family business should avoid
How rankings shape your growth story
By Jonathan Passmore
By Josep Tàpies
Brexit views What are the impacts of the U.K. leaving the EU?
“We need to serve multiple stakeholders” Interview with Paul Polman
By Tony Davila, George Foster, Xiaobin He and Carlos Shimizu
Road warriors A project born in IESE classrooms reimagines bus travel
Think big “Embrace challenge” is the motto of the Puig family’s fashion and fragrance business
Mariano Puig (right) is honored for his lifetime business achievements by Spain’s King Felipe at IESE
FULL STOP 50
Carnegie Hall’s Clive Gillinson discovers a talent for management
Editorial Director Emeritus
Raúl Arias, Jojo Cruz, Javier Tascón
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Fabrizio Ferraro, Strategic Management
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Technology and Operations Management
Susanna Arasa, Nuria Fragoso, Maria Subarroca
Sebastian Reiche, Managing People in Organizations Joan E. Ricart, Strategic Management
Carles Vergara, Financial Management
M&N Consulting - Antonio Moré. Tel.: 93 544 12 34
Marta Comín, Emily McBride, Jordi Navarrete,
IESE Business School — University of Navarra
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Legal Deposit: B 24325-2018 — ISSN 2604-5907
Editorial Contributors Cristina Aced, Nick Corbishley, Javier Moncayo, Larisa Tatge, Michelle Wallin
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Tech at turning Reckoning with digital transformation
a point The World Wide Web just turned 30. How should we manage, learn and innovate better for the webâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s next 30 years, all while ensuring our customersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; trust is never breached?
Tech at a turning point
his year, for the first time, more people in the world will be online than off. Yes, the 50/50 line was finally crossed, connecting nearly four billion of us around the globe.
The year 2019 also marks the launch of 5G, the biggest upgrade to cellular networks in a decade, promising a level of digital services previously unachievable. And the World Wide Web just turned 30 years old: virtual adulthood reached.
Piyush Gupta: data is the new air
Yet, for all the benefits, new problems are arising at an alarming rate. “Techlash” is now a thing. Data breaches, fake news and cyberattacks are every-
I used to say data is the new oil. I’ve
now changed. I think data is even
What can we do better to meet the challenges of the web’s next 30 years?
more democratized than oil, so I call data the new air. Because oil you can still control: “This is my oil.” Air you can’t control. The air I breathe and the air you breathe: how do I control and make a distinction? As you go forward, when data is springing from everything – there’s a chip in my glasses, a chip in my tie, a chip in the table, a chip everywhere – and data is freely being created, it will be very hard to control that data. Now what that means is that we’re going to have to come across a new social rule where use of data is going to be
And consider how the web’s power players have
driven by context and use as opposed
consolidated. Alphabet (Google), Amazon and
to notice and consent. The analogy
Facebook all recently reported record profits. In
I draw is “how do you control a gun
early 2019, they were worth a collective $2 trillion, more than most nations’ GDPs. In the Fourth Industrial Revolution, we have arrived at a pivotal point. In 2019, there’s a new reality that business leaders must reckon with as they
8 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
continue their digital journeys. If data is the new oil (or the new air, as DBS Bank CEO Piyush Gupta described it to IESE Dean Franz Heukamp) what is at risk in its pursuit? Are we in danger of turning people against what was once thought to be a great equalizer, a conduit of real information, a beacon of democracy? At one of the world’s largest tech gatherings, the Web Summit, held in Lisbon in November 2018, 70,000 participants from 170 countries grappled with tough questions regarding our digital future. Various members of IESE’s faculty participated, versus how do you control a knife?”
speaking to tech-optimistic entrepreneurs and
For a gun, you need a license. For a
executives on what we can do better to meet the
knife, you don’t need a license, but it’s
challenges of the web’s next 30 years.
a question of context and use: if you use the knife to cut your food, you’re
While there are no easy answers to the lofty ques-
okay; if I use the knife to stab some-
tions raised, the business leaders of tomorrow
body, I get thrown into jail. We’re going
clearly must acknowledge citizens’ digital rights,
to have to develop similar rules for
along with the true impact of technological change.
data. What are the problems of data, what were the expectations when the data was collected, was the data used in a way that made sense for people or was it used to the detriment of people or society? We haven’t even started thinking about how these rules will play out, but in my own view, this is the only way that we are going to take society forward, in a world where data is so free and ubiquitous that you can’t control it in any other way.
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 9
Tech at a turning point
Bridge the digital divide
Its first 15 years, as Berners-Lee describes it, were
The inventor of the World Wide Web, Tim Bern-
incredibly optimistic, connecting people with tech-
ers-Lee, says the most crucial aspect of the web
nology – blogs, Wikipedia, Skype calls – to make
to preserve is its universality. In bringing it to life
great things happen. But the next 15 years were
back in 1989, he recalls “it had to work with any
more problematic, with privacy abuses, misuse of
language, any hardware, any software, and it had
personal data, and “fake communities of fake peo-
to be open and free” – the original net neutrality.
ple with fake views” dominating the recent past.
Annual % increase in the global number of people coming online (2005-2017) 20%
ITU World Telecommunications Database, 2018
A digital divide is quietly widening. Online growth rates have slowed 10 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
Why does this matter? The short answer: at this 50/50 moment, a digital divide is quietly widening. Earlier projections about connecting the world’s poor, especially poorer women, have proved overly optimistic. Online growth rates, especially in the past three years, have slowed. Now we have two problems, says Berners-Lee: getting the other half of the world online while making sure that “the next billion connect to a web worth having,” a place that’s better than what we have today. As such, Berners-Lee has announced an ambitious “contract for the Web,” a manifesto to make the web more “safe, accessible, diverse and open.” France was the first country to sign on; Germany is another early backer. Government reps, tech companies (including Google) and prominent stakeholders in civil society are busy hammering out the details in working groups. For example,
Prioritize privacy concerns
The most oft-repeated abbreviation at the summit,
one working group is seeking “commitments from
after AI, was GDPR, the General Data Protection
government and the private sector to achieve af-
Regulation of the EU, which marked the most signif-
fordable access, connectivity and accessibility
icant change in data privacy regulation in decades,
standards online” while another is outlining “steps
affecting companies around the globe if they handle
that governments and companies can take to en-
European citizens’ data. More than “just a regula-
sure privacy is respected.”
tion in Europe,” for Berners-Lee it represents a sea change in “the global conversation about privacy.”
Will the United States cooperate? Will China? What role should the private sector play in this?
European Competition Commissioner Margrethe
There are still so many open questions. Yet,
Vestager, arguably one of the most powerful pol-
whether the contract achieves its aim of “trying
iticians in the tech world, echoes this sentiment
to make the web a better place” for everyone, the
about privacy and data rights. Her office is famous
issues it raises and the impetus behind it remain
for fining Apple, Google and Amazon to the tune of
highly relevant to business. Expect to hear more
billions in the name of just and competitive prac-
about this in the year ahead.
tices, online as well as off. Her main message is
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 11
Tech at a turning point
that the right rules can help fix what currently ails
“Where in America do we store the internet?” If
the web. She notes that, in our homes, electricity
these are the people responsible for developing
is risky; it can kill us. But we don’t fear our homes,
the relevant regulations, he says, this doesn’t in-
thanks to good regulations that are being followed.
spire much confidence.
“If we can regulate nuclear power, why can’t
The growing consensus among the experts seems
we regulate some code?” asks Chris Wylie, the
to be that more oversight is imminent. The ques-
whistleblower who revealed that the U.K. polit-
tion is: how to do it well? Early indications suggest
ical consulting firm, Cambridge Analytica, had
that Europe’s GDPR, years in the making and now
developed profiles of Facebook users (using data
several months in practice, could serve as a glob-
obtained without their consent) deemed most
al standard for data privacy protection. Compa-
likely to spread fake news. Fake-news spreaders
nies are learning how to work with GDPR and that
were then manipulated in 2016’s Brexit referen-
knowledge should help shape what’s next.
dum and the U.S. election of Donald Trump. Wylie says he has been deeply worried by the
See the big picture
As the digital and physical worlds continue to
level of discussion coming out of the United
blend (or collide), IESE’s Javier Zamora insists
States, with one congress person asking him,
there are emerging opportunities in such “digital
If we can regulate nuclear power, why can’t we regulate some code? Chris Wylie
Seb Daly/Web Summit
12 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
The Cambridge Analytica whistleblower says he has been deeply worried by the level of discussion coming out of the United States, which he says does not inspire much confidence.
density.” Managers should keep a close eye on the internet of things (IoT), blockchain and even quantum computing. Luckily, managers don’t need to be experts in qubits or distributed ledgers; they just need to know what, generally, the next threats and opportunities are. He recommends making tech media such as Wired and TechCrunch.com part of your daily reading. “And take an aspirin with that,” he jokes, because the endless possibilities you read about will make your head hurt. After the aspirin kicks in, step back to consider the big picture. Consider what is happening, why it is happening, and how to adapt to maximize value in your company while minimizing the challenges. Zamora cites BBVA to explain the business model implications of connected data, as digitalization opens traditional businesses up to new competitors and new opportunities, even partnering with potential competitors. Of course, these partnerships present challenges. Integration works best when there are widely shared standards and application program interfaces (APIs), which allow apps to share data and work together.
Anticipate shifts & impacts
For all the promise of IoT, the lion’s share of “meaningful and valuable” data still comes from people and organizations, not things, Zamora points out. Which brings us back to privacy con-
In our homes, electricity is risky; it can kill us. But we don’t fear our homes, thanks to good regulations that are being followed Margrethe Vestager
The European Competition Commissioner, famous for fining Apple, Google and Amazon in the name of just and competitive practices, believes the right rules can help fix what currently ails the web.
cerns: transparency and trust are paramount. IESE’s Sandra Sieber, predicting the top trends for 2019, uses healthcare as an example: if a drug is prescribed, the patient’s pharmacy could communicate directly with the drug’s manufacturer and get a car service to deliver the prescription
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 13
Tech at a turning point
The consumer should have the right to move their data from one service provider to the next credit :
to the customer’s home. If the relevant organizations’ technology architectures were such that all the necessary data could be shared, then building new service offerings with new partners, like the one just described, would be possible. Connected data would move to B2B2B2C. But, Sieber stresses, “ultimately that C (the consumer) is the owner of their data.” And that consumer should have the right to move their data from one service provider to the next.
Trust + data = winning combo BBVA was one of the first global banks
ultimately “data belongs to custom-
to embrace “open banking.” Although
ers” and “customers have to be able
it sounds futuristic, BBVA already runs
to decide who can access their data,”
a commercial platform for finan-
the management of BBVA also recog-
cial-service APIs serving business
nizes that incumbent banks are very
clients in Spain, the United States
well positioned to be not just money
and Mexico. Working with potential
banks, but also trusted “data banks”
competitors, the company plans to
in the future. Maintaining customer
start embedding third-party products
trust via transparent and benevolent
into its offerings. The goal is to offer
practices is fundamental, he said.
customers a wider range of innovative services than BBVA could on its own.
“We are in a world full of opportunities, thanks to technologies such
14 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
Throughout this process, “data, and
as biometrics, cloud computing and
the application of technology to data,
artificial intelligence. Our purpose is
are key,” BBVA CEO Carlos Torres
to bring the age of opportunity to ev-
Vila (left) told an audience at IESE in
eryone. And this is the path we need
December 2018. Recognizing that
ON A SCALE OF 1-10...
With business models and responsibilities shifting like this, an important exercise for managers is to ask themselves: what will their company look like as digital density inevitably increases, and in what ways will their value propositions grow ever more complex?
More complexity necessitates new and con-
What is the digital maturity of your company?
We’ve got some work to do!
will need a massive investment in education, but a different sort of education.” What matters now is not learning “things” but learning “how to learn things.”
Learn outside the box
The need for “a different sort of education” is also one of the takeaways of a recent IESE study in Spain. According to the Education for Jobs
stant learning. In agreement with Zamora, IESE
Initiative, most (72 percent) of the 53 large firms
Dean Franz Heukamp emphasizes that, “To-
surveyed say the digital revolution has had a high
day’s business leaders must know enough about technology to know what’s possible, what’s being impacted, and how it affects their business model.” With change now “the normal state of affairs,” leaders need to learn how to be sharp
We’re digitally aware
or very high impact on the profile of workers needed. Yet up-to-date know-how in job candidates is lacking: 68 percent of companies surveyed note an important knowledge gap in technology and digitalization among university graduates and 48
decision-makers with “good judgment,” able to
percent see that gap in vocational training gradu-
“handle change in their organizational architec-
ates. Looking ahead five years, survey respondents
ture and in their business models.” “We see that the implementation of digital strategies has a lot to do with the implementation of organizational change. And that, of course, has a lot to do with people,” says Heukamp. “If you have the right people, and you manage them well, you will be able to implement your strategy,” working to provide “new things that are better than what they are replacing.” This emphasis on continuous learning is echoed by U.N. Secretary General Antonio Guterres. With new technologies come disruption and a consequent impact on social cohesion. “It’s clear we aren’t prepared for that, and we’re not preparing fast enough for that,” he warns. “We
believe knowledge gaps will widen further in areas such as big data, digital marketing, artificial intelligence and blockchain. Spanish education needs
to be more responsive to labor market needs, sugWe’re gests the report. On a practical level, that may inincreasingly adopting digital clude more vocational training and boot camps to methods learn skills like coding. and practices
We’re a digitally enabled business
On an enterprise level, can large companies learn in a different way? Yes, according to other IESE research released at MWC Barcelona (formerly Mobile World Congress) in February 2019. Julia Prats and her coauthors studied corporate venturing, a collaborative framework for established companies to work with startups in the pursuit of innovation. By using certain mechanisms such as scouting missions, challenge prizes, hackathons,
We’re a digital pure play
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 15
Tech at a turning point
Buzzword: techlash “The coming techlash” was already presaged when Daniel Franklin, editor
result of an industry that can’t govern itself,” she wrote. “No wonder even
of The Economist, made his annual pre-
insiders, such as Apple’s Tim Cook, are
dictions at IESE in early 2018. At the end
now calling for the sector to be regulat-
of 2018, Financial Times’ Rana Foroohar
ed.” (Apple’s chief executive has been
chose “techlash” for “the year in a word”
speaking out in favor of tougher privacy
column. “Techlash is the predictable
regulations in 2019.)
corporate venture capital and acquisitions, big
• Train your workforce in digital skills (reskilling).
companies are able to spark innovation and bring
• Set up learning hubs and innovation com-
innovative ways of working into the fold.
munities. • Coach management on digital strategy and on
With regard to people management, digital trans-
building a personal brand on social media.
formation favors emotional intelligence and
• Practice reverse mentoring, whereby young-
non-hierarchical leadership. To this end, IESE’s
er professionals help senior executives stay
Carlos Rodriguez-Lluesma, in line with Prats’ re-
abreast of the latest trends.
port, recommends adopting agile principles – flatter structures, delegated authorities, freedom
With the web’s 50/50 moment upon us, and more
to test new ideas, a bias toward action – and cre-
uncertainty the only certainty for the near future,
ative methodologies such as design thinking and
reckoning with digital transformation means open-
scrum. This has implications for hiring decisions
ing up to new ways to manage, learn and innovate.
and ongoing training. Recognizing there is a digi-
All that while making sure your customers’ trust is
tal divide, even within companies, managers must
promote continuous learning, so no one is left behind. How? Specifically, Rodriguez-Lluesma lists:
16 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
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Tech at a turning point
How will digitalization affect your sector? New technologies can enhance or destroy your business proposition, either sooner or later.
OIL/GAS/ MINING HEALTHCARE
RETAILERS (STANDARDIZED GOODS)
Use this matrix to reflect on the scope and timing of the impact of tech on your sector.
Principal impact factors Given the dynamic nature of tech, the position of any one sector is not fixed but will constantly evolve over time. Various factors will influence that evolution, but here are four key ones whose interplay may provoke a shift.
Ease of digitization
How easy is it for your product or service to go from being “atoms” (physical) to “bits” (virtual)?
Proximity to consumer
How much power does the consumer have to dictate your terms of service? The more democratized your value chain, the faster and more disruptive the shift.
18 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
Degree of regulation
How regulated is your sector? The more heavily regulated, the longer it will take to change.
Requirement of CAPEX
How much capital do you need to invest up front? A CAPEX-intensive industry, like mining, means its disruption will be much more difficult.
Airbnb Advent of online booking
Eliminates the need to go to a brick-and-mortar travel agent, putting consumers in control
Airbnb launches its site
By acting as a platform for homeowners to offer their own rooms to travelers, Airbnb eliminates the need for a hospitality business to own any real estate, effectively transforming hotel rooms from atoms to bits
Launch of its mobile app Greatly facilitates the user experience and expands the community, spurring Airbnb’s international growth
Pushback from regulators
Having expanded from home-sharing to trip-planning, Airbnb announces it’s exploring getting into the airline business next
Netflix launches its streaming service
Begins moving away from mailing DVDs to offering video-on-demand via the internet (from atoms to bits)
Blockbuster announces bankruptcy
Shift from distributor to producer
Disney to launch its own streaming service
Netflix’s expansion is given a regulatory boost when the FCC Open Internet Order affirms that U.S. telecoms and cable providers cannot limit content providers like Netflix from riding “over the top” of their infrastructures
In cities around the world, the hotel industry, tourism authorities, city councils and landlords complain about tax avoidance, lack of regulation and licensing, illegal renting and negative socioeconomic impacts on neighborhoods
A one-stop shop for end-to-end travel
Netflix launches website Users rent movies online that are mailed to them, eliminating the need for going to a physical video store
Netflix ramps up production of its own original content, weaning itself off others’ content to begin competing against studios and networks with its own award-winning movies, documentaries and series
Disney acquires 21st Century Fox, vastly expanding its catalog, and winds down licensing deals with Netflix, which it now sees as a competitive threat
Tech at a turning point
President and CEO, The New York Times Co. Former Director-General of the BBC. Author of Enough Said: What’s Gone Wrong With the Language of Politics? (St. Martin’s Press, 2016).
Any transformation needs transformational leaders
o matter what kind of company you work
pass the million digital-only subscription mark, and some of
for, you’re probably grappling with a com-
its new digital experiments, such as its podcast, “The Daily,”
mon challenge: taking the enterprise you’ve
are winning those awards that Thompson talked about.
inherited and deciding what to keep, what to scription-based news business in the way that Spotify, Net-
And how do you do it without the past and present suffocat-
flix and others in the music and entertainment business are
ing the future?
proving scalability there,” he says.
“For managers trying to figure that out, this is where the
Here he discusses the keys for maintaining the quality of your offer while making your digital transformation sustainable.
Jake Chessum/The New York Times
“Now we’re trying to prove that it’s possible to scale a sub-
medals get won,” says Mark Thompson, President and CEO of
add and what to throw away. How do you run
the legacy business and the new business simultaneously?
Seven years later, the Times’ gutsy gamble appears to have
up a paywall. But they made the decision on the basis that
paid off. It was the first news organization in the world to
the opportunity was a relatively small one. Originally they
The New York Times Co., which had over 160 years of history behind it when he joined in 2012. It was a pivotal moment, as
What was the situation like when you joined?
the paper had recently implemented a paywall when it wasn’t
It was like every other company on the planet: they want-
clear whether paywalls would stem or speed the decline of
ed change. The paywall decision had been made before I
print media. All that was known was that something had to
got there. There were a lot of people, maybe even half the
be done to respond to the digital disruption that was upend-
company, including half the leadership, who were worried (1)
ing traditional business models.
that there’d be no demand for subscriptions and (2) that the Times was betraying an idea of the open internet by putting
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 21
Tech at a turning point
thought they might pick up 200,000 digital subscriptions. At the very peak of the print business in the ’90s, the Times had about 1.8 million subscribers. Now we have 4 million. And the majority of those are digital. Being British, to what extent do you think being an outsider helped? I think being an outsider is quite useful. So is being an optimist. That can-do spirit of believing in the future needed to be awakened. Once people had been given permission to think big about what could be done, suddenly the really crazy ideas started coming. What kind of executive do you look for?
“A world in transition needs thoughtful, intelligent people. My model is: find really able people and then not get in their way”
Any transformation needs transformational leaders. Most of the hard work of transformation is not done by chief executives. The chief executive needs to create the space and maybe set a broad direction, but it’s going to be, in military terms,
you’ll begin to experience the negative economics of un-
one-star or two-star brigadiers and three-star generals who
winding economies of scale. You can put in regular price ris-
are actually going to fight the battles and get the job done. My
es so that the revenue from subscribers declines at a slower
model is: find really able people and then not get in their way.
rate. But as your number of copies declines, print advertising goes away and, even with price rises, the unit costs go up. At
Although the paywall model seems to be successful,
what point does the per unit cost of manufacturing and de-
critics say it could have a polarizing effect: those who
livery, and the per unit revenue delivered, essentially cross?
pay get access to quality, while those who don’t pay end
The economics could steady, where it could make sense for
up with fake news. Is that a concern?
indefinite print-platform continuation. But we’re planning
I would say we’ve got not a paywall but a pay model. In a typ-
our future on the basis that there will be a crossover, at which
ical month, we have around 140 million unique users world-
point we will stop printing. In some ways, it will be in the col-
wide, of which 4 million are paid subscribers. That means we
lective choice of our users at what point the prices become
let about 136 million people every month read our content
too much for them.
without paying. We keep it porous. When there are national emergencies or big elections, we often take down our paywall
How do you make sure the legacy platform doesn’t over-
entirely. We want to make sure we are distributing our content
whelm or distract you from building the platforms of
very broadly, so that almost anyone who wants to sample our
content can do so without paying. The hope is they’ll fall in
I think we’ve solved that problem. We’re a digital newsroom
love with it and, when they can pay, they’ll start paying.
where we have multiple different ways of expressing our journalism – websites, smartphones, podcasts, live events, a
How and when do you, as a leader, make that difficult
TV show – and print just becomes another platform for what
decision of pulling the plug on something that still seems
we do. And it’s likely that one day it’s not going to be with us.
to be working but you know has an expiry date?
So, let’s treat it as that. You’re crucially never going to allow a
It’s an economic decision but one very much based on how
print consideration to stop you from doing what you need to
customers value your product. As the demand for print falls,
do in digital – simple as that.
22 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
“The Daily” podcast is a good example of one of these new activities. It used to be assumed there was no market for serious speech radio among young people – that they only wanted to listen to music. Yet “The Daily” is demonstrating otherwise. The audiences of today – not just young people, but all audiences – want to get a sense of “who is telling me this.” The Times has always stood for authoritative, quality journalism, which of course we want to keep, but the editing process was designed to take the personality out and standardize the voice of the Times. We’ve done a 180-degree turn on that. The podcast enables this humanizing, personal experience. To me, it’s an example of a platform which emotionally broadens the tone of the Times. I think that business of heart, as well as head, can be a way of attracting a wider audience. If the fundamental task is to engage and form a deep relationship with an ever bigger global audience, having multiple different ways of doing that, and using each kind of medium for what it’s best at, makes good strategic sense. Our experience shows there is, in fact, a massively underserved market for engaging, The New York Times headquarters credit : Piotr Redlinski/The New York Times
emotionally authentic, true speech radio for people under the age of 30.
I think software-as-a-service and the idea of paying a reg-
To what extent is your industry actually thriving on all
ular fee for access to cloud-based services of every kind is
transforming both B2B and B2C. Netflix is an obvious ex-
Our world is transforming in unknowable, complex ways,
ample. At the New York Times Co., we’re trying to create
and with all sorts of puzzling issues for business, for govern-
an engine of growth where we get better and better at the
ment, for society, for industries. There are enormous chal-
tactics of growing a digital subscription business. The suc-
lenges like globalization, automation, climate change and in-
cess of that business enables us to invest even more in con-
equality. That sense of a world in transition, where we don’t
tent. We’re trying to break the downward spiral which news
quite know what the destination is, is a world which needs
is facing across the Western world and get into a virtuous
thoughtful, intelligent people. You could say it’s a great com-
upward spiral. There’s no reason why we cannot be bigger,
mercial opportunity, but the real point is, the societal need
better and, ultimately, more profitable after the age of print.
for our profession has never been greater.
We’ve now got a path for creating a great news organization that doesn’t depend on print if the economics go as I think they probably will. That’s the key.
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 23
Tech at a turning point
Toolkit for tomorrow’s executives Technological advancements are expected to shake up multiple professions over the next few years. Alongside fears that thousands of current jobs will cease to exist is the allied concern that there won’t be enough skilled talent able to fulfill the essential leadership roles that can’t be performed by machines.
of CEOs say they’re worried about finding and hiring employees with the key skills they need to succeed in the digital world, according to PwC’s 21st CEO Survey.
24 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
INNOVATION Never settle but think flexibly: connect the dots, take calculated risks, try new things
VELOCITY Review and revise actions quickly in response to fast-paced changes
DEEP KNOWLEDGE AND CAPACITY TO PREDICT CHANGE Understand your competitive context, reading the landscape in anticipation of cultural shifts
Here we highlight seven key traits needed to navigate current changes, based on interviews with media and entertainment executives, who are among those most affected by digital transformation. Their insights can be applied to other sectors likewise facing disruption.
We have to broaden the types of leaders we recruit and bring up higher levels of competencies in technology”
source: “The Media Landscape: From Showtime to Screen Time” by Josep Valor, Indra Chair of Digital Strategy at IESE.
Frank Bennack Hearst Corporation
TALENT ATTRACTION Foment a supportive environment in which employees are encouraged to speak their minds, experiment and occasionally fail
“Leaders must have clarity of vision, plans for end goals, an openness to solutions and a willingness to take risks Jeff Boehme comScore
Make the consumer a priority: value is created through links with people, not the product per se
STRATEGIC MINDSET Understand your firm’s long-term goals in order to pursue alliances that further those goals
TRANSPARENCY Take moral responsibility for what you are offering and uphold integrity in all you do
Tech at a turning point
Focus on the opportunities to make a positive social impact
on a track along the Abu Dhabi-Dubai border, with the aim of having a Hyperloop operational there by 2020. Here Gresta discusses what it takes to turn the possibilities of technology into reality. When it comes to technology, there’s no shortage of crazy ideas. But what else is needed? Dreams are the initial seed of a well-planned system. You can make a dream a reality if you can imagine the step-by-step process to arrive there. The difference between a successful entrepreneur and just another crazy guy is this capability of imagining the future step-by-step without skipping one step. Abu Dhabi has one of the most conservative governments on the planet. They’re super serious. They’re not going to throw their money away. They challenged me: “You want this project, you move here.” So, I really had to immerse myself
Bibop G. Gresta
Co-founder and Chair, Hyperloop Transportation Technologies. A venture capitalist and software developer since the age of 15, he previously helped launch more than 70 startups through the incubator Digital Magics. He used to be a TV host and musician in Italy.
in their culture to understand it. You also need to find allies who share your vision. For example, that part of the world has some of the biggest oil reserves, yet they have a bold vision to switch to renewables. They can see the long-term environmental benefits. They have the vision. In trying to coordinate a large multi-stakeholder project like this, how do you manage to bring people along with you?
You have to distinguish between the micro and the macro. At the micro level are all the operational or logistical or regulatory issues that arise for which you need to employ specific aster than a speeding bullet! More powerful
tactics. But those are temporary. The real work is at the mac-
than a locomotive! It’s a bird! It’s a plane! It’s…
ro level, looking at the future of humanity: how do we tackle
Hyperloop? The idea of an ultra-fast train has
the bigger problem of sustainable transport and human mo-
been around for decades, but not until recently
bility, and not just make a dent in it but actually solve it for a
has the technology reached a stage where it’s not
generation? You have to be very strategic in understanding,
science fiction. The visionary entrepreneur Elon Musk threw
out of all this mass of noise, which are the stakeholders that
down the gauntlet in a 2013 white paper: why doesn’t someone
really want to pursue your long-term strategy. We’re not go-
build transport capsules that shoot passengers through vacu-
ing around doing feasibility studies or marketing campaigns.
um tubes at plane-like speeds, solving problems of long-dis-
We’re focused on solving a problem, not following the me-
tance travel and commuter congestion in one fell swoop?
dia cycle. That’s how you keep stakeholders together and the project on track.
Bibop Gresta took up the challenge, joining a team of entrepreneurs and inventors in the race to build the world’s first
How have you harnessed the power of the crowd?
Hyperloop. It’s a crazy idea, but the Italian entrepreneur says
Being able to reach anyone on the planet using the internet
he’s just crazy enough to do it. For the past five years, he’s been
and new technologies has unleashed new and unprecedent-
going around the world, drumming up support, financial as
ed possibilities to put together the best minds on the plan-
well as moral, for what could potentially revolutionize the way
et to tackle the biggest topics. This is incredibly powerful. It
we move people and goods as much as the car or airplane did
means we can solve problems at a planetary level. If we only
more than a century ago. A prototype train was unveiled in
ever look at the local state logic, we don’t go anywhere – it’s
Cadiz, Spain, in October 2018, and building work has begun
all short-term tactics and election cycles. But we’ve been able no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 27
Tech at a turning point
to crowdsource hundreds of scientists from dozens of countries around the world who collectively lend their expertise to collaborate on this project a few hours a week. You’d never be able to do that with a traditional company. Technology is an enabler but some would say it is also a destroyer. If predictions are right that 30-40 percent of the global workforce will be displaced by technology, for me that means we’ll have more time to dedicate to what we do better: creativity. But that does mean business people will need to evolve from an economy of scarcity to an economy of abundance. Hyperloop is one example of this new economy: for every challenge
“We need to evolve from an economy of scarcity to an economy of abundance”
(moving people from A to B), there are 10 opportunities (harnessing the wind and kinetic energy created by the movement
trip, people are willing to pay you for your time. People’s
of the capsule through the tube to generate electricity, for in-
time is precious, so maybe we add that to the value equa-
stance). Stop competing in red oceans for the same thing, and
tion. That’s the beauty of technology: it allows us to exper-
start creating your own blue ocean. Focus on the opportuni-
iment with business models that don’t depend on buying
ties to make a positive social impact.
a ticket anymore.
How has technology changed your business model?
Besides reframing the problem or changing people’s
When the energy that you’re producing is enough to subsi-
mindsets, what other challenges do you face?
dize not only the cost of the building but also the mainte-
Right now our biggest challenge is regulation. We’re not a
nance, and where the cost per passenger becomes almost
plane, a car or a train; we’re Hyperloop. So, we need to de-
zero, what do you charge people to ride? Maybe nothing.
sign new regulation in line with the possibilities that these
Or maybe, if you bring some freight with you on the same
new technologies are bringing to the table.
Hyperloop Transportation Technologies
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Tech at a turning point
Robert Wayne Gregory
Assistant Professor of Information Systems at IESE. Recipient of the 2016 Early Career Award from the Association for Information Systems, for his research on digital transformation.
Yes, you can bypass IT
ou need a tech solution to serve your customers, but your IT department says no. Letting your employees bypass IT sounds like a nightmare. But if a major bank can do it, surely you can, too. Here are six tips for taking a creative approach to IT that will transform anxiety into agility.
1. Bypass, if you must
4. Be guided by a shared purpose
Sometimes, to keep pace with your market, working
Moving away from a hierarchical model to a dis-
around your IT department may be necessary. For
tributed, networked one means not everything
firms established under different market conditions,
needs to be reviewed from above, yet the com-
bypassing IT can help ensure ongoing learning and
pany remains legally and ethically responsible for
adaptation to evolving customer expectations. I’ve
the handling of data. As such, a common mission
witnessed this in a major global bank with IT pol-
is key to guide autonomous teams to do the right
icies and standards dating as far back as the ’70s.
thing. Managers must check in on their digital
By allowing certain units to work directly with cus-
initiatives to ensure they are serving the broader
tomers and fintechs, the bank began creating an
purpose and fitting with the mission to serve the
ecosystem of new services, eventually leading to a
bottom-up transformation in IT governance. 5. Take bypassing as a sign of dysfunction 2. Insulate and empower bypassing teams
If you can’t work with your IT department as it
Shield bypassing teams from organizational pol-
currently stands, there’s a misalignment some-
icies and rules. Invest in them financially. Give
where that must be fixed. Is your current gover-
them leeway and independence. Locate them in
nance too rigid? Do you need a distributed, plat-
a different area, so they don’t interact with oth-
form-based architecture for more agility? In this
er units too much. Let them be speedboats while
sense, bypassing IT may treat the symptoms, but
others move more slowly. Bear in mind this might
not cure the disease.
cause culture clashes. Managers need to watch short- and long-term goals, so any tensions don’t
6. Look for the cure in digital transformation
pull the organization apart.
To find your cure, identify a viable pathway of
3. Link innovations back to the core
studied, it shifted to cloud computing and provid-
Once you have a prototype, it needs to be linked
ed workers with access to digital services through
to core processes and other complementary prod-
a self-service platform. Employees (not just IT
ucts; if not, the customer experience will suffer, and
staff) could easily and directly access a catalog of
so will your operations. An innovative app, for in-
services and recombine them as they developed
stance, may be created autonomously, but it must
personalized yet scalable solutions for their cus-
be plugged into the common digital platform via
tomers. This enabled the bank to serve the con-
APIs to ensure interoperability and integration with
nected customer anytime, anywhere. Think about
other apps for a seamless end-to-end customer ex-
transforming the tech layer of your organization,
perience. Innovations shouldn’t be 100 percent new:
and connect it to transformations of structure
autonomous teams should reuse as much existing
(new product development) and strategy (busi-
transformation. In the case of the global bank we
technology and API-exposed functionalities as pos-
ness model innovation). Profound changes may
sible. If that’s not happening, that’s a red flag.
begin by bypassing IT.
read more: “IT Consumerization and the Transformation of IT Governance,” by Robert Wayne Gregory, Evgeny Kaganer et al. was published in MIS Quarterly.
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 31
THE NEXT THE NEXT
WORLD WORLD CONGRESS CONGRESS WILL BE ON WILL BE ON MAY 27-29 MAY 27-29 IN BARCELONA IN BARCELONA
Welcome to Retail & Brand Experience World Congress, global Experience event to get Welcome to Retailthe & Brand inspiredCongress, and gain insight intoevent the future World the global to get of retail.and Thegain industry’s the inspired insighttop intoexperts, the future world’s leading retailers top andexperts, brands, the of retail. The industry’s and the leading most innovative retailbrands, solutions world’s retailers and providers will innovative explore best practices and and the most retail solutions new ways will to address most providers explore the bestsector’s practices and burning questions and challenges. new ways to address the sector’s most Join thequestions event that redefine retail. burning andwill challenges. Join the event that will redefine retail. TRADE SHOW TS RT A R DTE- U S PH O V IWL L A G E S P TVI A I LLL AR G E TX A PR ET R -I U EN E TEA I L R O U T E S EB XUPSEI R NIEESNST I&A L ERI ES TUARIEL R O U T E S B CU OSNI N G ER SE S S& L E I S U R E C O N G R E SEXPERIENCE S · CUSTOMER ·· ··
NEW RETAIL EXPERIENCE MODEL S & TRENDS CUSTOMER OMNICH ANNEL & DIGITAL NEW RETAIL MODEL S & TRENDS
SUPPLY CH AIN & DIGITAL ·· OMNICH ANNEL ·· SUPPLY REAL ESTATE CH AIN RETAILESTATE TECH ·· REAL · RETAIL TECH
DISCOVER THE COMPLETE SPEAKER LINE -UP: DISCOVER THE COMPLETE SPEAKER LINE -UP:
W W W. R E T A I L A N D B R A N D E X P E R I E N C E . C O M W W W. R E T A I L A N D B R A N D E X P E R I E N C E . C O M
Founder L2 Inc, now Gartner L2 Scott Galloway Founder L2 Inc, now Gartner L2
Chairman & CEO British Airways Alex Cruz Chairman & CEO British Airways
General Manager Carrefour France Pascal Clouzard General Manager Carrefour France
Bernd H. Schmitt
José Luis Durán
Professor of Marketing Columbia H. University Bernd Schmitt Professor of Marketing Columbia University
Deputy CEO Havas Group Rodés Alfonso Deputy CEO Havas Group
CEO Value Retail José Luis CEO Value Retail
Managing Director France Alibaba Group Sebastien Badault Managing Director France Alibaba Group
EVP President Europe Levi Strauss and Co Seth Ellison EVP President Europe Levi Strauss and Co
CEO Europe, Middle East, North Africa Nestlé Purina PetCare Bernard Meunier CEO Europe, Middle East, North Africa Nestlé Purina PetCare
Fuencisla Clemares General Manager
Google Iberia Clemares Fuencisla
General Manager Google Iberia
Vipul Parekh Co-Founder
Bigbasket.com / Angel Investor Vipul Parekh Co-Founder Bigbasket.com / Angel Investor
José Luis Nueno Professor of Marketing
IESE Business José LuisSchool Nueno Professor of Marketing IESE Business School
THE BIG PICTURE
A new perspective
Are electric cars the
Will electric vehicles (EVs) completely replace carbon-emitting vehicles? It depends. Analysts agree on the advantages: EVs are getting cheaper and easier to produce, they’re generally more efficient, and they pollute less – well, sort of. Here the story gets more complicated, as this infographic shows. The batteries on which EVs depend have some problematic issues associated with their sourcing. And if the wider means of electrification in a country are still carbon-based rather than green or renewable, the benefits of EVs are diminished. The most likely scenario is that both types of vehicle will coexist, but under a very different business reality in which EVs operate in niches where they can play to their strengths. In any case, the car industry must shift gear.
COBALT: KEY MATERIAL FOR BATTERIES 27
1000 800 600 400
Critical threshold, implying cost parity between electric vehicles and internal combustion engines
34 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
from Democratic Republic of Congo
The price of cobalt tripled
7 of 10
The cumulative demand for cobalt would require all the resources known today, even with high recycling
largest cobalt producers in Congo owned by China
BATTERIES: KEY COMPONENT Costs are falling ($ per kWh)
World production of cobalt in politically unstable regions:
Wheel-hub engines: moving the motor from the body to the wheels recuperates energy while allowing for torque vectoring (for better handling on icy roads, for example)
EFFECTS ON THE VALUE CHAIN
EVs are cheaper to produce than today’s cars, with lower service requirements
Differentiation via software is bringing new tech players to compete in the car space
RARE EARTH ELEMENTS (REE) Mining for the REE on which EVs (and consumer electronics) depend creates significant environmental damage
of global production for some REE is concentrated in China
A limit on REE exports from China would have devastating effects on dependent industries
â&#x20AC;&#x153;Key Data of the Automotive Sectorâ&#x20AC;? by Marc Sachon, chair of IESE AUTO, and Beatriz Welter.
BEYOND THE TAILPIPE: THE FULL ENERGY MIX CO2 / NOx
A diesel car could drive several thousand kilometers before reaching the same CO2 / NOx emission levels as are generated by mining raw material for batteries and producing them.
Where energy generation is carbon-based (petroleum, coal, gas), more electric vehicles could actually increase CO2 / NOx emissions. For example, in China, a shift to 100% EVs would be much worse for the environment right now.
OPPORTUNITY SPACE: URBAN MOBILITY SOLUTION
Battery and power electronics: in floor allows for good center of gravity and opens up space for passengers
Lends itself to highly standardized assembly
Batteries could be smaller
But when factoring in the whole energy chain (transformation of chemical into electric energy, transmission losses), overall energy efficiency falls*.
Eases anxiety over short-distance refueling
Slower city speeds reduce need for complex safety engineering
*Unless green energy is used, making EVs perform better
Better setting for car-sharing business models
ENERGY EFFICIENCY Transformation of energy into kinetic energy:
Despite the challenges, a small, connected, electric and eventually autonomous vehicle is promising for several reasons:
HACK Retirement investment: what’s the right mix? How much of your retirement portfolio should be in stocks versus bonds in order to best provide for your golden years? If you let history be your guide, take note that the following stock allocations offered optimal results for 30-year retirements in the following countries (and the world average):*
Optimal percentage invested in stocks
Denmark Japan Netherlands Norway
Australia Belgium Canada Finland France Germany Ireland Italy New Zealand South Africa U.K. U.S.A. World
*Based on data from 1900 to 2014 covering 86 rolling retirement periods with 4% annual withdrawals (adjusted for inflation after year 1). Of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results.
Javier Estrada and Mark Kritzman propose a new metric in their paper, “Toward Determining the Optimal Investment Strategy for Retirement.”
36 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
From stars to black holes If you think the brilliance of a star hire will rub off on the rest of your organization, think again.
Five whistleblowing tips To ensure wrongdoing is reported in your company, check you have these components in place: DEFINED SCOPE
Does your company’s whistleblowing policy encompass all types of fraud (not just accounting) as well as sexual harassment, bullying, and dangers to health, safety and the environment? REPORTING CHANNELS
Although telephone tip lines are popular, have you considered setting up internet channels with dedicated email addresses and encrypted software?
Many managers jump at the
reputations are built on objective
chance to hire renowned talent,
manifestations of superior quality.
assuming those incoming stars will mentor incumbents lower on
By contrast, when status is more
the totem pole and trigger posi-
subjectively based, paying top
tive spillover effects throughout
dollar for star talent is likely to
do more harm than good. This is because the hire could cause an
However, empirical evidence sug-
uneven redistribution of valu-
gests that hiring a star can cause
able resources, which may not be
lower-status incumbents to see
counterbalanced by the “superior”
their resources drain away and
knowledge of the newbie.
their performances suffer – to the detriment of the organization as
As the authors put it: “Managers
who continue to hire stars may instead contribute to the further
To minimize the chances of this,
balkanization of their organiza-
executives must realize that their
tions and ultimately degrade per-
organizations are only likely to
formance at both the individual
benefit from hiring stars whose
and organizational levels.”
“Starstruck: How Hiring High-Status Employees Affects Incumbents’ Performance,” by Matteo Prato and Fabrizio Ferraro, appears in Organization Science.
ANONYMITY & CONFIDENTIALITY
Does your reporting mechanism contain these two critical features (the first pertains to the reporter, while the second refers to the process)? MORAL INCENTIVES
Are your employees conscious of the moral reasons behind reporting? Do they need training to understand why? FINANCIAL INCENTIVES
Are whistleblowers rewarded? For example, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission pays whistleblowers 10-30 percent of the sanction’s value for fines over $1 million. The technical note “Whistleblowing Systems and Policies” (BEN-139-E), by Antonino Vaccaro, Gianmichele Potito and Enrique Aznar, is available from https://www.iesepublishing.com
BREXIT VIEWS What are the impacts of the U.K. leaving the EU?
Chief Commercial Officer, Satavia
The most difficult aspect of Brexit has
ted to stay and work in the U.K. and ded-
been not knowing – for example, wheth-
icate more resources to keep abreast of
er U.K. companies can continue to supply
legislative changes. In short, we have to be
EU aerospace companies. Short-term im-
nimbler to react when the final outcome
pacts may be resolved quickly but, longer
is known. For any company, it has been
term, manufacturing will likely shift away
difficult to plan adequately. If there’s any
from the U.K. Big market players are bet-
lesson, it’s that those in authority must put
ter equipped to shift capital, personnel
together clear guidelines for business early
and production to the EU. They’re able to
on. Going to the brink may be a useful ne-
hedge their bets by having operations and
gotiating tactic, but it’s fundamentally un-
legal entities in both the EU and the U.K.
helpful for business. With the end-points
But smaller companies, like ours, cannot
constantly shifting, being able to offer
do this so easily. Instead, we have to rely on
some points of clarity throughout the pro-
promises that EU nationals will be permit-
cess would have been helpful.
38 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
Academic director of the Food & Beverage Industry Meeting, which produces the annual Vademecum on Food and Beverage Markets
Historically, the U.K. has always been a big importer
goods. Just within the EU, the U.K. imports twice what it exports, amounting to roughly $32 billion of goods, especially fresh fruit and vegetables, including 80 percent of its tomatoes and 90 percent of its lettuce. Strong price increases and logistical difficulties for basic staples like these will affect the distribution sector as well as food chains like McDonaldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s. The U.K. will need to produce locally quite a few goods that they were importing. There may be some opportunity for substituting imports with more locally produced fruit, such as apples and pears. A devalued pound could make a local producer more competitive on global markets. The U.S., China and Latin America are interesting markets to explore. However, the purchasing power of customers in emerging markets is rather limited, so they may end up with niche rather than mass markets. Given that approximately 75 to 80 percent of EU food-and-beverage trade currently happens within the EU, the EU will remain a focal market for the U.K. But Brexit sees the collapse of many well-oiled value chains, increasing the cost of doing business for everybody â&#x20AC;&#x201C; albeit worse for the U.K. because, while the U.K. market is important for the EU, the EU is much more important for the U.K.
Joaquim Molins Figueras Chair of Strategic Alliances at IESE
Cofounder & CEO, Mr & Mrs Smith
The automotive sector depends on highly interconnected global supply chains and frictionless trade to ensure components arrive on time, so cars can be assembled and
Brexit hasn’t yet led to a recession in the
shipped elsewhere. Investments and job
U.K. (our largest customer market, followed
security require long-term planning with
by the U.S.) so overall the travel industry
development cycles of up to five years –
remains relatively healthy. However, the
precisely what carmakers affected by Brexit
uncertainty about the impact on travel be-
don’t have. They were already losing money
tween the U.K. and continental Europe has
before Brexit. GM, for instance, had been on
had a short-term impact on our business.
track to turn things around after a decade of
We’re continuing to see strong year-on-
losses for Vauxhall/Opel, but currency shifts
year growth in visitors to our website from
and pound devaluations owing to Brexit ulti-
the U.S. while U.K. visits are somewhat flat-
mately led GM to sell its U.K. holdings to the
ter. Interestingly, Q1 bookings have been
French group PSA (Peugeot-Citroën), which
strong, while European summer bookings
thinks it could be useful to keep a U.K. base
have been weaker. It feels like people are
for U.K. production post-Brexit. The U.K.
waiting to see what will happen.
government has promised to help the sector, not least to prevent further job losses (Jaguar
Being a global operation, we employ peo-
Land Rover and Ford have cut 6,000 jobs).
ple across the EU. We’re doing all we can to support them through this uncertainty. My
The uncertainty is compounded by the high
advice is: be prudent, be brave and keep
cost of fielding new models, the push for
focusing on building your business. Above
cleaner alternatives to diesel, and the need
all, stay optimistic. Whatever form Brexit
to prepare for the autonomous age. To man-
eventually takes, I’m hopeful our modern
age these hardships, a good option is to work
economies will be able to handle it and
in alliances, even with rivals. We see this in
life will move forward quickly. Everything
Ford and Volkswagen’s decision to work to-
from fashion to exchange rates to ash
gether on self-driving cars. Ford needs an EU
clouds can impact our industry, but the
partner to continue building Ford-branded
joy of travel and the value of experience
products in Europe. And VW, still reeling
will always spur people to seek escapism –
from its emissions scandal, needs Ford’s ac-
even, and sometimes especially, in the face
cess to the U.K. market, a key one for VW.
40 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
Brexit is the perfect example of something
of the European Union for 40-plus years
I’ve been saying for years: managers don’t
was a semi-fixed aspect, but people tend-
spend enough time on issues of geopolitical
ed to treat it as fixed. Then there’s what’s
uncertainty. When the Brexit vote happened
going to happen over the next two, three or
in 2016, nobody in the international business
five years, which is where we are now.
community really expected Leave to win. But
Associate professor of Strategic Management at IESE
by not taking it seriously, businesses now
When you look at an event like Brexit, you
find themselves with bigger problems. Com-
need to plan for different possibilities.
panies with integrated global supply chains
What would happen if there’s a delay? Ob-
cannot afford to think that “business as usu-
viously, having plans, products and people
al” is ever the only scenario.
in place for different eventualities takes time and money, and requires a certain
Many companies have a function called
amount of organizational resilience. But
corporate affairs, but often it exists to ex-
constantly evaluating one’s ability to fulfill
plain the company to governments, not to
obligations to customers, employees and
explain the world to executives, which I
shareholders is in the manager’s job de-
think is the right function to have.
When you think about business and geo-
The U.K. has got itself into a bit of an im-
politics, you have to start with the aspects
possible situation where currently the only
that are fixed: the U.K. is an island cut off
way out appears to be delaying Brexit, un-
from Europe; that won’t change. Then
til we end up with what people are calling
there are semi-fixed aspects that might
“Brexeternity.” But being stuck in limbo is
change over 10, 20 or 30 years. Being part
no solution – least of all for business.
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 41
Face to face
CEO of Unilever (2009-2018). Chair of the International Chamber of Commerce and The B Team, and Vice Chair of the U.N. Global Compact. Member of IESEâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s International Advisory Board.
We need to serve multiple stakeholders
Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Paul Polman reflects on corporate governance, the work of the CEO and board of directors, and the need to manage for the long term.
he global economic context has become unstable and uncertain. Governments that used to be predictable have become unpredictable. Megatrends such as digital transformation, the environment and new consumer behaviors
are making the business context tougher. What’s the role of a board of directors in this new world? Sure, boards are responsible for fulfilling companies’ fiduciary duties with shareholders, but they’re also responsible for the long-term health of the company and its impact on other stakeholders. A company may maximize profits in the short term but, as Paul Polman tells IESE’s Jordi Canals in this interview, if it doesn’t care about its customers or invest in its people, its suppliers or its community, then those profits will be suboptimal in the long term. That’s why board members need to keep developing new capabilities and keep learning about the burning issues that could put their companies at risk, so they’re ready for action. no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 43
Face to face
“We try to see the social or environmental impact of a decision beyond the financial result”
deliver in the short to medium term, but investors need to understand that sustainable companies invest for the long term. Do shareholders understand that? Many do, and part of our job is to educate investors that not only financial performance but caring about customers, developing new products and driving sustainability are also part of a solid business model. It takes time because there’s still a generation of analysts and asset managers who are incentivized by short-term performance and don’t care too much about other dimensions. We also need to provide more transparency on materiality
How important is strategy?
and comparability, and get more CEOs to explain
Next to succession and talent, a company’s long-
their value creation model properly. It’s hard work.
term development depends on having a good strategy, so directors need to spend a lot of time
How should a board relate to shareholders?
on it. Boards need to be able to step back, look
First, ensure that the right shareholders are at-
at the big picture and constructively challenge
tracted in accordance with the strategy. Too many
management. Their discussions need to include
CEOs and boards try to cater to all shareholders
how the strategy relates to other stakeholders, be-
and focus on quarterly delivery vs. consensus vs.
sides shareholders. While it’s important to deliver
longer term plans. Second, ensure there is fre-
good financial results, strategy discussions at the
quent two-way communication and that out-
board level need to have this wider perspective:
side-in concerns are well understood.
we serve multiple stakeholders, and if we do that well, shareholders will equally benefit long-term.
Does it help to have a set of guiding values? It does. We need to move from “we have a li-
After the global financial crisis, you stopped
cense to operate” to “we have a license to lead
giving quarterly earnings reports. Why?
for the long term.” Companies and business
It was a way to make investors – and our own peo-
leaders cannot be bystanders but must be
ple – think and act longer term. Boards shouldn’t
part of the solution to today’s social problems,
be making decisions based only on the next three
speaking up where needed. It starts by having
months. That kind of thinking contributed to the
a clear purpose. We talk about this a lot, which
worst crisis in decades. Shareholders are import-
sends a clear signal that the board and senior
ant but, unfortunately, we see more passive in-
management are committed to it. That purpose
vesting, with many asset owners outsourcing their
and associated values need to inform every-
responsibilities to asset managers who are still
thing we do. So, when we discuss strategy, we
mainly rewarded for short-term performance.
try to see the social or environmental impact of
Short-term investors or speculators don’t fit the
a decision, beyond the financial result. We in-
strategy of most companies. If an investor buys a
vite key stakeholders to board meetings or seek
share today and sells it a week later, he or she may
other ways to make sure their voices are heard.
have made a profit, but what value has that trans-
We need to aggregate the many efforts to make
action added to a company? Of course we need to
an impact and expand the narrow definition of
44 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
participate in discussions about the company and its challenges, they can frame it in the wider context of what the company does. Increasingly, we need expertise around climate risk. We started an effort on climate-competent boards for that reason. How important is diversity on a board? Diversity is essential for having different perspectives and voices, whether on technology, consumer behavior or a geography such as China. Diversity of thought, as well as of gender, is a must. It adds to the quality of board discussions, resulting in richer, deeper insights. Most of all, it sends a strong message of respect and dignity for all. There is ample evidence suggesting that companies with more diverse boards perform better over time – hardly surprising. What are some key observations from working with different boards in different countries? How the board works with the CEO has a tremendous impact on the company’s development. A fine balance has to be struck between challenging each other and working in partnership. The CEO has to credit :
execute the strategy, delivering financial and social results in line with the agreed corporate values.
accounting beyond just financial to include so-
The Chair has a very important role, which is to
cial and environmental. One example is our task
ensure that good governance systems are in place
force on climate-related risks.
and that the CEO works well with the board and the rest of the organization. Because the Chair and the
What makes a good board member?
CEO have different roles, I believe they need to be
Someone who understands the complexities of to-
separate jobs, held by different people. Ideally the
day’s world and can ask the right questions, who
Chair should be independent, especially when it
is committed and able to stay relevant. We need
comes to planning for CEO succession – probably
more board members who are concerned less
the most important decision a board has to make.
about themselves and more about the long-term
Board members should also spend time getting
wellbeing of the company and its people. Boards
to know senior managers in the company, so they
need directors with complementary skills, so that
have an idea of the internal talent that’s available.
each brings a different understanding of the issues
Developing a pipeline of candidates for future
and actions to take. The composition of a board
leadership is vital.
should be judged not just in terms of relationships and networks but by the specific expertise that each person brings – specific enough to add new thinking, but broad enough so that when they
Paul Polman was interviewed by IESE professor and former dean Jordi Canals for the case studies “The Board of Directors and the CEO in Governance and Strategy” (SM1671-E) and “An interview with CEO Paul Polman” (SM-1672-E).
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 45
Seeing the threats facing his family’s bus company led him to search for new market opportunities.
Her background in SME financing helped the trio secure initial funding from the European Commission as well as IESE’s Finaves seed capital fund.
His Portuguese background came in handy when expanding the business beyond Spain to Lisbon and São Paulo.
emba ’13 credit :
46 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
A project born in IESE classrooms reimagines bus travel, using technology to jump-start a stalling industry. You wait ages for a bus entrepreneur, and then three come along at once!
n 2013, Alex Canals faced a familiar challenge: technology and evolving consumer habits were disrupting his
BusUp Founded in
2016 100 B2B clients
Revenue estimate (2019)
sector. “The market for what we were doing was getting
smaller and smaller,” he recalls. In his case, it was his
family’s bus company, Autocares Canals, which looked
like it would go the way of fixed telephone lines and trav-
€ 895k € 212k
el agents. Revenue mainstays – workers and tourists – were shrinking, as workplaces became more decentralized, com-
muters turned to cars, and tourists sought travel experiences beyond organized bus tours. It was the perfect business dilemma to present while doing the IESE Executive MBA. Together with classmates Eva Romagosa and Rui Stoffel, Canals spotted an opportunity. Traditional bus travel might be slowing, but there was still underserved demand, particularly for medium-distance trips. Not everyone has a car to get to work. Companies on the city outskirts, where public transportation is thin or nonexistent, sometimes
IESE alumni have the unique opportunity to get their venture off the ground with the support of Finaves. Send us your pitch deck today and we’ll put you on the path to entrepreneurship. more info at :
struggle to attract employees because of their location. And not all concertgoers or sports fans want to drive to and from events, especially when the venue is outside the city. They launched BusUp, an Uber-like platform and app whereby users input their starting point and destination, and they are given pickup times, locations and routes for a shared bus journey. BusUp also works directly with companies to survey interested employees and build routes specially for them. Using algorithms to aggregate all the disaggregated demand is similar to what Uber and Airbnb have done. However, whereas those startups have undermined incumbents in the taxi and hotel industries, BusUp is doing the opposite: it matches consumer demand with existing bus companies,
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 47
which remain key to its business model. For those traditional companies, “investing two, three or four million in technology is difficult,” says Stoffel. “We can help the traditional bus sector,” adds Canals. An early client was Canet Rock, a summer music festival held in the Spanish coastal town of Canet de Mar. From Barcelona, BusUp has expanded to operate in Spain’s main cities, as well as in Lisbon, Portugal, and São Paulo, Brazil. Users are growing at a rate of about 2,000 per month, and revenue is expected to grow to 2-3 million euros in 2019, divided roughly evenly among the three countries where BusUp operates. Besides focusing on clients for big entertainment events, BusUp is also trying to build up
runs. “We look at the areas where there’s
little public transportation,” says Stoffel.
there’s no opportunity for us.” “What moves me most are the stories: the woman who tells you she couldn’t make
it to work before, but now can; the young person who can study,” says Romagosa. Women account for a majority of BusUp users. For entertainment events, as much as 75 percent
BusUp’s common uses Airport transfers
of travelers are women looking for safe, reliable transport. The founders hope to solve the transportation needs of more people while contributing to sustainable mobility. “We can help reduce traffic and improve the environment,” says Stoffel, estimating that every shared bus on the road replaces 33 private cars. He envisions bus-sharing will become as standard a form of transportation as grabbing a taxi or hopping on a train.
Commutes to work
“We’ve watched this idea become reality,” says Canals. “Now we’d like to see it expanded on a large scale.”
article by :
48 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
its other core: daily commuters and school
“When there’s strong public transportation,
Former head of Puig. Member of IESE’s International Advisory Board (19992018). He chose IESE as the venue to receive the Kingdom of Spain Business Career Award, presented by King Felipe VI, in recognition of his outstanding achievements in creating employment, generating investment and promoting internationalization.
ariano Puig wasn’t even 30
in 150 countries. Indeed, the unique architec-
years old when he took over
ture of the company’s towering headquarters,
the reins of the fashion and
featuring illuminated glass panels, is a symbol
fragrance business that his fa-
of its ability to stand out from the crowd. And
ther founded in 1914. “My father
the company’s rise, like Puig Tower itself, rests
taught me that in life there are five stages: the first,
on firm foundations: three generations of the
learning to do; the second, doing; the third, teach-
ing others to do; the fourth, having others do; and the fifth, which I’m in now, letting others do.”
“When we went from the first generation to the second, we were only four brothers,” explains
Under the second generation of leadership, the
Puig, which made it easier for everyone to come
Puig company expanded well beyond its Bar-
to an agreement. But in going from the second
celona base to sell products around the world,
to third generation, “we have become 16 people
including such famous brands as Paco Rabanne
and 25 companies.” Working with diverse part-
and Carolina Herrera. As part of “learning to do,”
ners around the world has been a source of in-
he undertook a general management program at
novation and inspiration for new ideas.
IESE (PDG ’64) to learn how to deal with the chalsored a classroom and set up the Puig Chair of
fessors, Antonio Valero, made a real impression
Global Leadership Development at IESE with
on him. “He taught me to think before I speak,”
his son, Marc, the current head of Puig. The goal
he recalls, adding that he also learned how to
is to encourage research into effective talent
keep an open mind when making important de-
management strategies that enable companies to secure long-term economic growth and so-
As part of “teaching others to do,” Puig spon-
gineer had not equipped him for. One of his pro-
cisions, especially in difficult economic times. Today, the value of “embracing challenge” is en-
global leaders. It’s an ambitious goal, one that
lenges that he says his training as a chemical en-
shrined in the corporate motto, allowing the com-
Puig realized more than 50 years ago and which
pany to go head to head with other multinationals
forms another part of his grand legacy.
cial progress through the training of responsible
article by :
Roger Perelló www.ieseinsight.com
read more at :
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 51
Food for thought
SMART PICKS Super Bowl ads are indicative of broader advertising trends More celebs Ads featuring celebrities 2008: 2018:
Kickoff time for advertising The American football championship known as the Super Bowl is also an annual championship for advertisers. Averaging over 100 million viewers, no other TV program comes close to reaching as many consumers during a four-hour slot. For brands willing to spend $5 million for a 30-second spot (excluding production costs), the payback can be worth it. A 2018 survey revealed that 1 in 4 viewers tuned in just for the commercials. In terms of cost effectiveness, one brewer reported making $100 million more, thanks to its Super Bowl ads. Comparing 168 Super Bowl ads over a 10-year period, we see shifts in the way brands are using the event. It’s no longer a single-day affair but now includes the weeks leading up to the game, with digital media extending the life of the ad – and the brand – on other platforms.
From being product-centric to embracing social causes More emotional storytelling to associate the brand with some higher purpose or current conversation Longer 60-second ads 2008: 2018:
More tech advertisers, fewer retailers
Digital tactics to generate buzz before, during and after • Pre-hype ads, using social media teasers to create buzz • Live ad spots during the game, supported via Twitter and YouTube • Ad variations and extended storylines after the event to drive engagement
compiled by :
52 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
FROM MY DESK
By Iñigo Gallo
Assistant Professor of Marketing
2 trends in 1 ad: Stella Artois (2019) Actors Sarah Jessica Parker and Jeff Bridges revived their iconic roles to order Stella Artois instead of the usual drinks that they’re known for. But more than the celebrity appearances, this ad also featured a “do good” message: purchase a Stella Artois chalice, and a portion will be donated to Water.org to provide clean water to someone in the
Forget the hype! Traditional advertising is dead. How often have we heard that one before, along with other pronouncements like the need for a brand purpose and the importance of an influencer strategy? For an industry whose bread-and-butter is staying ahead of trends, marketing sure is susceptible to slavishly following the latest ones. Far too often, when so-called thought leaders tout the new frontiers of marketing and advertising, they’re actually just jumping on the bandwagon. To avoid the hype of so many marketing conversations today, I recommend following these two industry gurus whose perspectives tend to go against the grain.
High-concept use of social media: Snickers (2017) Leading up to the game, Snickers teased it would air the first-ever livestreamed commercial: a Western, starring Adam Driver, performed in real time. When it finally aired, things appeared to go horribly wrong. Snickers tweeted an apology, followed by a press release and video mea culpa by the actor. Social media debated whether it was an elaborately staged hoax (it was). Snickers even upped the ante by offering a buy-one-get-one-free offer as a way to make up for (or rather to keep milking) the gaffe.
The Ad Contrarian
His Twitter profile describes him as “A bigger threat than Google and Facebook combined. Apparently.” This Melbourne Business School professor, award-winning columnist and consultant strikes the right balance between academic theory and business reality. His provocative critiques are always anchored in traditional marketing frameworks. Those looking for brutally honest, irreverent takes on marketing will find his pieces eye-opening and amusing. Prepare to slap your forehead, just like in his profile photo.
Having been CEO for two agencies, Bob Hoffman is one of the world’s most influential bloggers, authors and industry experts. He doesn’t just call out short-term branding practices and misguided communication tactics, but he structurally breaks them down to explain why. From his blog site, you can also listen to his podcast as well as subscribe to his newsletter. His explainers are delivered “in plain English…so simple even a CEO can understand it.”
Thank you from the next generation of leaders. This is the message for every member of our alumni community who has generously decided to support a scholarship. You’re enabling an exceptional student to study at IESE, wherever they’re born or whatever their circumstances. At IESE, we believe leading starts with giving – giving guidance, support and inspiration. We’re thankful to alumni who are also giving to support scholarships for the next generation of leaders. This year, we have set ourselves the goal of doubling our funding for scholarships. With your support, today’s students will be equipped with the strong sense of corporate responsibility IESE is known for. They’ll learn from you the transformative power of giving.
If you would like to join other members of the IESE alumni community in supporting a scholarship, please visit giving.iese.edu .
By Jonathan Passmore
By Josep TĂ pies
By Tony Davila, George Foster, Xiaobin He and Carlos Shimizu
Leading with compassion
5 mistakes every family business should avoid
How rankings shape your growth story
Leading with compassion By Jonathan Passmore
Compassionate leadership has multiple benefits: less stress, happier emotional states, healthier workplace environments and improved morale. Here’s how to cultivate compassion in your company, so that you transform yourself, your teams and the world.
hink of all the different jobs you’ve held over the course of your career and picture all the different bosses you’ve had. Which of them did you like the most? Who left the
most positive impression on you? What was it that made them particularly special? Chances are that the one(s) who most transformed the way you feel about yourself exercised some form of compassionate leadership. As the adage goes, “People may forget what you said, people may forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
Javier Tascón illustrations :
Compassionate leadership has multiple benefits,
– being fully present and highly attuned to the
not just for the employees on the receiving end of
needs of others. Finally, we expand this process to
it, but also for the organization as a whole, not to
the organizational level and beyond, by promot-
mention the leaders themselves. One of the great
ing a broad-based culture of compassion that rec-
things about compassion is that it can be con-
ognizes our common humanity.
sciously cultivated. But how? By mindfully choosing to enhance our compassionate responses in three vital areas (see exhibit on the next page).
Start with yourself
To have compassion for others, you must first learn to treat yourself with compassion. This
The first involves working on our own capacity for
isn’t as easy as it sounds. People are often ex-
self-kindness. It is only by learning to treat our-
tremely hard on themselves. Feeling bad when
selves compassionately that we can really begin to
things don’t go as planned may be a natural
do the same with others, including our teammates
response to adversity, but too much negative
and employees, which is the second dimension
thinking feeds a greater sense of helplessness.
Leading with compassion
Learn to treat yourself with compassion
Foster a wider culture of compassion
We need to break self-defeating thought patterns by retraining our minds and nourishing the compassionate self – the parts of us characterized by patience, kindness and understand-
ing – rather than giving in to the angry self, the anxious self or the critical self. Being self-compassionate is beneficial, both at the personal and professional levels. According to a large body of research, the more self-compassionate you are, the more likely you are to experience
better psychological health, reduced cortisol levels (the hormone that generates stress), lower levels of anxiety and depression, less perfectionism and fear of failure, and a greater ability to manage negative emotions. You will also be better able to cope with such adversities as academic failure, ill-
Consciously cultivate compassion for others
ness or chronic pain. Self-compassion may also be associated with such positive states as happiness, optimism, wisdom, curiosity, exploration, per-
What must a carpenter do when his chisel has be-
sonal initiative, emotional intelligence and good
come blunt? No matter how much pressure he’s
under, he must take time to sharpen it, otherwise he cannot finish the work. Likewise, for CEOs, it
So, how can we become more compassionate
is only by engaging in moments of inner stillness
with ourselves? Mindfulness and meditation are
that they can regain composure, strength and
key tools. Mindfulness is a state of mind that,
clarity of thought, before resuming their work and
practiced regularly, promotes an inclusive and
leading others with compassion.
authentic experience of the present moment. This can be achieved by purposely focusing your attention onto the present moment in a non-
Be mindful of others
Once you have learned to treat yourself with more
judgmental way. Extensive research has shown
compassion, it’s time to do the same with your
that mindfulness can contribute to physiological,
colleagues and team members. The good news is
psychological and transpersonal well-being.
that compassion tends to be contagious. People witnessing acts of compassion have reported being
Slowing down in a world that is constantly aiming
moved by what they have observed and inspired to
to go quicker may seem counterintuitive. Howev-
be more compassionate themselves. This is espe-
er, I would argue that only by slowing down can
cially true when the person exercising compassion
one be at once more effective and more satisfied.
is someone in a leadership role.
58 | IESE Business SchooI Insight | no. 152
Try this 5-minute workout Do this exercise regularly to retrain your thought patterns toward compassion. Wherever and whenever possible – at your desk, waiting for a meeting to start, on the way to work – pause for five minutes. Be still and silent, centering on your current mental, emotional and physical state. Ask yourself these questions:
In this moment, negative or uncomfortable feelings may surface, so it may be better to do this exercise somewhere private. It’s especially important to try to tune in to when your moods and feelings shift – to recognize what your personal triggers are.
• What thoughts are running through my
Let the answers to these questions flow naturally. Experience them by just sitting quietly and being aware of their presence on an almost subconscious level.
The purpose is to experience your real self at that moment in an authentic way, and to accept the reality with equanimity. Doing this regularly helps to train your mind toward compassionate characteristics of noticing, accepting and non-judging, so you have soothing self-conceptions to draw upon later when you need them most. This process of self-reflection should eventually become an unconscious part of your daily routine, like brushing your teeth.
Compassion for yourself and compassion for
Compassion can also help to instill an atmo-
others are closely linked, as the Berkeley psy-
sphere of psychological safety in which people
chology professor Serena Chen noted in Har-
feel comfortable being themselves and are more
vard Business Review: “Practicing one boosts the
willing to openly discuss – and ultimately ad-
other. Being kind and nonjudgmental toward
dress – workplace problems that concern them.
the self is good practice for treating others com-
Harsh discipline models and zero-tolerance pol-
passionately, just as compassion for others can
icies tend to have the opposite effect, finds the
increase how compassionate people are toward
University of Virginia professor Patricia Jennings.
themselves, creating an upward cycle of compas-
Although her research focuses on educational
sion – and an antidote to ‘incivility spirals’ that
environments, her insights regarding the effects
too often plague work environments.”
of trauma on cognitive, social and emotional
mind? How are they affecting me? • What emotions do I feel right now? Where am I experiencing them in my body? • What physical sensations can I detect in my body right now? How is my body reacting to them?
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 59
Leading with compassion
development are no less relevant to workplace
Like other moral virtues, empathy is a trait that
settings. Punitive measures “trigger reactions
is not innate, but can be developed over time. To
that amplify feelings of trauma,” she has stated,
that end, here are a few tips to increase your em-
reinforcing in people’s minds “that the world is a
dangerous place, that people don’t like them and that they are no good.” She recommends adopt-
ing a more flexible approach to discipline that
world, you have to actively listen, not just to
To see inside someone else’s
seeks to “de-escalate a situation rather than ad-
what is literally being said, but to stand back
minister a prescriptive consequence.”
from it a bit and try to tune into the deeper, subjective meaning behind what is being said. This requires withholding judgment and asking
To see inside someone else’s world, you have to actively listen to the deeper, subjective meaning behind what is being said
open-ended questions to find out more. Warning: do you find yourself talking a lot, telling employees you understand what they’re going through and recommending what they should do? No matter how well-meaning, this doesn’t count as being empathic, and may, in fact, be “bossplaining.” This is more likely to make the other person feel worse rather than better. Resist your urge to speak, jumping in with advice and solutions. Try listening instead. focus on the story.
It’s not so much the person
per se we empathize with, as it is the situation that is affecting that person. Putting yourself in someone else’s shoes means focusing on the larger story and trying to imagine yourself going through that same experience: how would you feel?
You also need to pay attention to issues of gender,
practice makes perfect.
culture, ethnicity, age and power dynamics. The
thing to turn on and off like a switch. It needs
#MeToo movement has thrust these issues into the
to become a habit of character – and that takes
spotlight. Showing sensitivity to these matters can
practice. We all know someone – a friend, fam-
help create an environment in which employees
ily member or colleague – who could probably
feel secure and confident enough to explore and
use a listening ear. And when you can’t find a
realize their full potential. But fostering such an at-
real person, you can always use a movie, play or
mosphere is no easy task. It requires patience, skill
book to practice putting yourself in the shoes of
and, above all, deep reserves of empathy.
a particular character.
60 | IESE Business SchooI Insight | no. 152
Empathy is not some-
Workplaces are full of people or things that trigger means casting an inspiring vision and being focused us in some way. By pre-imagining our responses, on that vision at every level of the organization, we can use our everyday triggers as opportuni- through your behavior, what you monitor and what ties for change. So, tell yourself that “every time I you reward. It also means paying close attention to see/do/experience X, I will remind myself to slow employee concerns, understanding the causes of down, observe and choose a compassionate re- their stress and distress and working to eliminate sponse.” If you do this enough, desensitization will them. And the only way to do that is by building happen eventually, until your natural response to strong personal relationships with your teams. X will be more compassion for others.
Unleash a Compassionate Culture
Of course, if you’re a C-suite executive responsible for hundreds or even thousands of employ-
The ultimate goal of a compassionate leader should ees, this is easier said than done. But it’s not out be to foster the creation of a wider culture of com- of the question. passion. As I mentioned earlier, compassion can be contagious, especially when being exercised One way to extend your cross-organizational reach by someone in a leadership position. But, for that is to adopt the approach known as “management by to happen, the leader must lead by example. That walking around.” As its name suggests, it essentially
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 61
Leading with compassion
involves walking around the workplace in a random,
compassion. Of course, this has to be authentic,
unstructured manner, to call in on employees unex-
not fake smiles and mouthed pleasantries. People
pectedly and check the status of ongoing work. This
are more likely to develop stronger ties when their
up-close-and-personal approach helps to boost
interactions are authentic.
employee morale by giving employees a greater sense of importance, purpose and inclusion; it also
Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s no good being authentic in your relations with
helps managers keep a finger on the pulse of the or-
your employees if there is a gap between the es-
ganization as well as get to know employees, share
poused values of the organization you represent and
ideas and invite suggestions.
its actual deeds. Ask yourself: how well do we, as an
In walking around, try walking in love and kindness. By this, I mean smiling and greeting others warmly, telegraphing messages of openness and
62 | IESE Business SchooI Insight | no. 152
Jonathan Passmore is director of the Henley Centre for Coaching at Henley Business School, University of Reading, U.K., and professor of psychology at the University of Evora, Portugal. A widely published author, he recently edited Mastering Executive Coaching with Brian Underhill and Marshall Goldsmith (Routledge, 2019).
if we think of wisdom as love, compassion and making decisions not based on ‘how will this help me now, how will this help my bank account, how will it help the next shareholders’ meeting, how will it help my next political campaign,’ but ‘how will this decision I make today affect future generations?’ That link seems to have been broken.” For Goodall, restoring that link to compassion is a fundamental issue that we all must address. Finally, some readers might ask whether it’s really necessary to be compassionate to be successful. organization, treat the environment or vulnerable
The answer is no. The business world is full of ex-
social groups? How ethical is our company’s supply
amples of companies and CEOs that treat their
chain? How big is the gap between our highest and
employees and other stakeholders terribly, but
lowest paid employees? Do we pay our suppliers on
nonetheless make huge amounts of money for
time? If the answers to these questions are far from
themselves and their investors. But stop for just
flattering, work clearly needs to be done.
a moment: is this the sort of company we would want our daughter to work for, or how we would
Speaking at the 2019 Davos summit, the scientist
want our son to be treated by his boss? There are
Jane Goodall expressed what she believed was
also many companies and managers who treat
behind many of today’s problems, from environ-
people with respect, courtesy and compassion,
mental degradation to rising social inequality.
and who thrive. This is our world, our life. It ulti-
“What’s gone wrong?” she asked. “We have bro-
mately comes down to our choice of what type of
ken the link between intellect and wisdom. And
world we want to build for tomorrow.
Marianetti, O. and J. Passmore. “Mindfulness at work: paying attention to enhance well-being and performance.” In Oxford Handbook of Positive Psychology and Work, edited by A. Lindley, 189-200. Oxford University Press, 2009.
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 63
5 mistakes every family business should avoid Don’t mix business with pleasure: the same could be said about family. Family businesses must guard themselves against these occupational hazards.
By Josep Tàpies
almart may not be the first
It’s essential to identify individual vocations within
name that springs to mind
a family, respect each one’s wishes, and choose the
when you think of a fami-
most prepared person for CEO, which might well
ly business, but it is, in fact,
be someone from outside the family – as ended up
a family-founded and -run
being the case for Marriott.
corporation. Family businesses come in all shapes and sizes. The only common denominator is that a single family maintains some ownership, influence
2. Skipping proper governance
They say blood is thicker than water, but family
or control – no easy feat to sustain over multiple
ties shouldn’t muddle up how to run the business
generations, especially if the family makes any of
professionally. Fortunately, an increasing num-
the following five mistakes that I’ve seen repeated
ber of companies have governance mechanisms
during my decades researching these businesses.
to help formalize the separation between famil-
1. Assuming it runs in the family
ial and business realms, as stated in a study we published with Atrevia. The report, based on in-
One of the biggest mistakes a founder can make is
terviews with family businesses in Latin America,
bequeathing their business to their kids, regardless
Spain and Portugal, shows that, for governing the
of any management qualifications, as if business
company, 66 percent of family businesses already
acumen were genetic. Bill Marriott, for example,
have a board of directors in place. And for govern-
always assumed his son, John, would naturally take
ing the family’s involvement, 56 percent count on
over running the family hotel business, just as he
a family council, a forum in which interested fam-
had taken over from his father. But he eventually
ily members meet to discuss and agree on mat-
realized his son “wasn’t the right fit.” He explained
ters that will later be brought to the company. In
it this way in a 2013 interview: “He doesn’t have the
addition, 39 percent host an annual family assem-
temperament... He doesn’t want to be tied to his
bly, and 30 percent have a family office to manage
desk. Over time we both came to the conclusion
family assets. Such formal mechanisms are vital
that, wonderful as it would have been for me to hand
for keeping family members engaged with each
Marriott off to my son, he wasn’t the right choice.”
other as well as with the business.
5 mistakes every family business should avoid
Josep Tàpies is professor emeritus in the Strategic Management Department at IESE and holder of the FamilyOwned Business Chair, the first such chair in Europe.
3. Thinking the rules don’t apply
Family businesses may be special breeds, but they’re still subject to the same market rules as everyone else. They may prioritize long-term legacy concerns over short-term benefits, but their shareholders will expect rising share prices and dividend payouts nonetheless. What’s more, not all family members will be directly involved in the running of the company and yet they, too,
unity. Likewise, market rules should guide remu-
should be motivated to care about its future. For
neration. Being part of the owner family should
example, SC Johnson, whose catalog of house-
not entail salary privileges of any kind and, to
hold brands includes Windex and Raid, created
avoid them, it’s best to align pay with the going
a family trust in order to discretionally distrib-
rates. Applying double standards will undermine
ute dividends to members of the Johnson fam-
ily and thus help them maintain harmony and
4. Not planning for succession
No matter what your company, the boss frequently has a hard time letting go and handing over the reins to someone else. This feeling of being irreplaceable is particularly acute when the boss is the one who started the company and it’s their baby. But not preparing for succession is a mistake that puts the very future of the company at risk. For anyone who genuinely cares about the long-term survival of their business, the best thing they can do is to make plans and start preparing the next generation of leaders well in advance. Alarmingly, more than half of the family businesses we studied lacked a succession plan.
5. Believing it won’t happen to me
Believing you’re immune to these mistakes renders you more likely to make them. Humility, honesty and an ability to detect weaknesses, both in the family as well as in the business, are key qualities to anticipate, identify and remedy problems before it’s too late. Whether you’re part of a family business or not, the old saying holds true: prevention is the best medicine.
66 | IESE Business SchooI Insight | no. 152
Tàpies, J. Empresa familiar: 30 años de preguntas con respuesta. IESE, 2018.
How rankings shape your growth story By Tony Davila, George Foster, Xiaobin He and Carlos Shimizu
High-growth rankings can give small companies a quick reputational boost. But unless you understand the metrics involved, your time on the list could be very short indeed.
RaĂşl Arias illustrations :
How rankings shape your growth story
won’t seem so great if you disappear from the
just made it into a prestigious
rankings club overnight. What kind of growth sto-
ranking. High-fives all around.
ry does that signal to potential investors?
Employee morale is through the roof. You know this ranking is
There are many rankings in the business world.
regularly consulted by investors and policymak-
Clearly, they seem to matter, otherwise people
ers, and your company appearing in it, besides be-
wouldn’t boast so much about getting into them.
ing good PR, means that new money and business
But how reliable are they for predicting a compa-
may be flowing your way soon.
ny’s long-term success? How are they designed? What are they actually measuring? And do their
But wait, before getting too carried away, consid-
metrics have anything reliable to say about your
er this finding from our research: only 30 percent
propensity for growth?
of companies that make it onto high-growth lists manage to stay on them the following year. And if
Our research on rankings suggests they have cer-
you do make it onto next year’s list, you only have
tain limitations. A company’s growth story can
a 30 percent chance of showing up again. In three
vary significantly depending on which factors are
years, your odds of still being ranked are down to
around 3 percent. This holds true across all the major rankings of top startups.
That’s why it’s so important to understand how and why individual rankings were created, and with
Then what? Your company prospects will look
that understanding, take charge of the story you
very different. Your so-called “growth persistence”
want to tell about your company through rankings.
70 | IESE Business SchooI Insight | no. 152
Key points Making the grade
High-growth lists have multiplied over the years. Inc. magazine, founded in 1979 in the United States, was one of the first to systematically report a list of high-growth companies – the Inc. 100. That list became the Inc. 500 in 1982 and was expanded to the Inc. 5000 in 2007 (though the Inc. 500 continues to receive the most attention). Throughout the ’90s, high-growth company lists also took off in Australia and the United Kingdom, with global firms such
• Growth can be measured in different
ways and create very different perceptions for business clients or investors.
• Indicators are not immutable but can
be engineered to convey different messages.
• Learn how to interpret indicators and
why using different metrics can yield very different results.
as Deloitte publishing lists of the fastest growing companies by sector and region (the Technology Fast 500 Asia Pacific, for example). Companies often enthusiastically promote being on the lists, basking in the guaranteed media attention. But, as we mentioned earlier, even tougher than making the list is staying on it over time.
Growth: what’s the story?
On these lists, growth is typically measured as total revenue growth over three years or less. Occasionally, longer time periods of four or five years are used, along with headcounts – that is, the number of employees. Company profits are
Ask yourself • Which growth indicators are best for
me to use, not just to get ranked, but to get in a ranking that reinforces a positive growth story about my firm?
• Which indicators are the most
appropriate for my particular needs?
• How was this ranking constructed?
How does its design affect the interpretation of reality?
not reported on any of the lists we surveyed. One reason for this is that companies may worry that reporting such information might reveal their competitive strategy. Also, because some costs
We studied privately held companies from 11 coun-
can be treated as expenses rather than assets on
tries that required public disclosure of revenues:
the balance sheet, profits are generally not an ac-
Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Japan,
curate reflection of value creation.
Norway, South Korea, Spain, Sweden and the United Kingdom. In total, 379,693 companies were
How growth is measured can lead to significant-
ranked based on revenues, and 221,183 were ranked
ly different outcomes, particularly in terms of
based on headcounts. These 11 countries were cho-
the time horizon. We discovered this after cre-
sen to eliminate any bias by companies that opt
ating our own database of high-growth compa-
not to report their revenues publicly. In the United
nies and juggling time variables.
States, for example, there is no mandate for private
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 71
How rankings shape your growth story
companies to publicly file financial statements.
headcounts. The shorter the time metric, the more
This means that some privately held companies
that singular events like the departure of a large
with high growth may decide not to submit data
initial customer or being acquired by another firm
voluntarily to prominent rankings.
introduced greater volatility into the rankings.
If you appear on a high-growth list, keep in mind that your chances of making the cut the following year are small
One interviewee had another theory to explain high turnover in the rankings: it was in the interests of the publication and its sponsors. With two-thirds of the list made up of newcomers, many interesting stories can be written on upand-coming companies, which helps attract more readers. In addition, financial institutions and consultancies often collaborate with publications to sponsor business conferences and dinners. High turnover on the lists appeals to those sponsors, because they have a fresh pool of business clients to target with their services.
Know thy ranking
What does all this mean for companies? First, if you are fortunate enough to appear on a highgrowth list, keep in mind that your chances of making the cut the following year are small.
Why would they do that? Some may be con-
Second, if you are participating in a ranking by
cerned with competitors using that information.
choice, think carefully about the parameters of
Another risk is that employees or suppliers will
the ranking first, particularly revenue over time.
try to renegotiate contracts following publication of positive results. On the other hand, there may
Depending on your sector, you may not even
be negative publicity if they do not appear on
have any chance of appearing. A biotech firm,
the list the following year. Finally, some business
for example, might be growing very quickly in
owners, for philosophical reasons, may simply
terms of headcount, but if the ranking focuses
choose to keep all information private that is not
on revenues, it will never show up. Since firms in
mandated by law to be made public.
this sector are focused on product development in their initial stages, biotech firms do not gen-
In our sample, we found that a longer time hori-
erate revenues. They can linger in the pre-reve-
zon increased growth persistence. This held true
nue stage for almost a decade as they build value
when measuring growth whether by revenues or by
through intellectual capital instead.
72 | IESE Business SchooI Insight | no. 152
High-growth company lists examined MULTI-SECTOR Inc. 500 (U.S.)
BRW Fast 100 (Australia)
Fast Track 100 (U.K.)
Deloitte Tech Fast 500 (North America)
Deloitte Tech Fast 500 (EMEA)
Deloitte Tech Fast 500 (Asia Pacific)
Tech Track 100 (U.K.)
Revenue of base year reported
Headcount of base year reported
Only since 2001
Company age reported
All years except 1982, 1995 & 2010
Only since 2007
First year >$200k First year >$500k
First year >£250k
First year >$50k
First year >€50k
First year >$50k
Last year >$5m
Last year >€800k
Years/periods used to compute growth
Last year >$2m
3/2 (2001-2007) 4/3 (2008-2010)
First year Last year >£5m headcount <=200
First year >£250k Last year >£5m
As the time metric used for growth measure-
in their growth paths. An example is Siebel Sys-
ment increases, changes in strategy, manage-
tems, one of the fastest growing companies from
ment and company culture play larger roles
1993, when it was founded, until 2001, when it
in ranking outcomes, making the reasons for
was acquired by Oracle. In this case, changes in
growth more complex.
the company’s competitive environment probably led to its downturn. Rankings that use longer
What’s more, longer periods of time increase the
growth periods more reliably identify companies
risk of initially high-growth companies drop-
that are building an infrastructure to manage the
ping from the sample, due to sudden changes
challenges of high growth.
no. 152 | IESE Business School Insight | 73
How rankings shape your growth story
On the flip side, using a longer time horizon
competitor â&#x20AC;&#x201C; can have more dramatic effects, par-
when examining revenues limits the number of
ticularly on early-stage companies.
firms eligible to appear in some rankings, since they have to report information for more years. Some rapidly growing ventures simply may not
Tell your own story
In her classic work, The Theory of the Growth of
have the necessary data yet. This means that lists
the Firm (1959), the celebrated economist, Edith
with longer time horizons may be missing im-
Penrose, noted that smaller firms generally have
portant high-growth firms.
a harder time than larger firms when it comes to growth. While she may have been speaking in
The bottom line: longer periods of time for com-
terms of resource deployment and management
puting growth are more likely to identify compa-
capacity, a similar point applies that small, grow-
nies with sustained high growth. But if they are
ing firms need to work harder at understand-
too long, the reasons for making the list become
ing the metrics underlying the measurement of
more difficult to identify, since the companyâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s sit-
growth before going after rankings. Take time to
uation becomes more complex.
consider your own sector and firm characteristics, and target rankings accordingly.
When time periods used to measure growth are shorter, singular events â&#x20AC;&#x201C; such as economic shocks,
Remember this sobering statistic: 70 percent of
the loss or gain of a customer, the entry or exit of a
companies published on lists make one-and-done
appearances. And the probability of being included on the list declines the longer the company remains on it. Moreover, as our interviewee attested, there is some evidence that rankings are engineered to serve other interests beyond the growth interests of the firm being ranked. By having a clear-eyed view of rankings, compa-
Tony Davila is a professor of Entrepreneurship and Accounting & Control at IESE Business School.
Xiaobin He is an associate professor at the School of Social Sciences, Tsinghua University.
George Foster is the Konosuke Matsushita Professor of Management at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
Carlos Shimizu is a Morgan Stanley Private Wealth Management analyst and former researcher at Stanford Graduate School of Business.
nies can better ensure they are included on the lists that genuinely help them shine in the public eye. So, by all means, enjoy the kudos of being ranked – but make sure you know what story it is telling about you. Use appropriate metrics – longer measurement periods to estimate growth, average growth rather than the difference between the first and last year, and minimum organizational size – to increase persistence.
source: Davila, A., G. Foster, X. He and C. Shimizu. “Measuring Growth and Its Impact on Reported Growth Persistence.” Available at https://ssrn.com/abstract=3049894 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3049894
Chris Lee/Carnegie Hall
A talent for Clive Gillinson never set out to be a manager. But the Carnegie Hall executive has discovered in management a new way to be creative. What kind of music is coming out of your leadership?
live Gillinson became a manag-
no point in you considering a career
er by accident. Ever since he be-
in management. As a mathematician, that’s a
gan studying the cello at the age
difficult concept to deal with. But, the fact is, be-
of 11 – apart from a slight detour
ing a manager has turned out to be the most excit-
studying math at university be-
ing thing of my life.”
cause his mother, a cellist, urged him to “get a real profession” – the one thing he was “absolutely
certain” about was that he was “never going to be interested in management.”
Money follows vision
Take the financial aspect. “Raising money is not raising money,” he says. “It’s about relationships and sharing a vision. You never chase the money. Money
But while working as a cellist in the London Sym-
follows vision, so you’ve got to start with a compel-
phony Orchestra (LSO), he got tapped to serve as
ling vision. Then you share that vision with people
finance director when the company fell on hard
who care about it, and special things happen.”
times. He was eventually promoted to managing director, a position he held for 21 years until be-
Gillinson’s vision has been to transform the role
coming the executive and artistic director of New
of a concert hall in the 21st century, based on
York’s famous Carnegie Hall in 2005.
“The irony for me is that when I first went into
• the core activity: providing “the greatest mu-
management, I said, ‘I will only do it on the basis of
sic in the greatest concert hall in the world.”
two things: one is I never have to make speeches;
• a commitment to education: to reach the
the other is that I never have to raise money.’ So,
next generation, particularly those with fewer
here I am in New York, where all you do is make speeches and raise money.”
opportunities. • technology: streaming, broadcasting and making the most of media platforms.
This reluctant manager has been surprised in other ways, too: “I discovered that unless you can
In support of its core, Carnegie Hall launched city-
make one plus one equal more than two, there’s
wide festivals, not just of music but encompassing
A talent for management
babies, which he says has “a powerful healing ef-
“With music we have an extraordinary vehicle to create bonds and understanding”
fect on people in incredibly trying circumstances.” The final pillar is technology: “In a world of almost infinite content, infinite choice is just as challenging as having no choice at all. What we want to be is a curator who helps people make choices and find what they want to listen to online. We also create original online content. And given people’s shorter attention spans, we aim to deliver content in succinct yet impactful ways.”
In trying to transform an established organization along these lines, Gillinson initially encountered some resistance due to caution. “Like any new chief executive, you have to earn trust. There’s no rea-
dance, theater, film, literature and visual arts. “Each
son why anyone should automatically accept ev-
year we partner with some of the greatest N.Y.-based
erything you suggest. And even if people love your
organizations. We want to take people out of their
ideas, there will always be nervousness.”
comfort zones, because the arts should be about stimulating curiosity and enabling us to grow.”
Gillinson handled this by asking his board to give him a chance to test the waters with some
The second pillar – education – includes pro-
trustees who were questioning the Hall’s ability
grams aimed at families, but also a National Youth
to take on two new major projects at once. By
Orchestra. The concerts they stage allow budding
talking ideas through with individual trustees, he
musicians to engage with their peers nationally
was able to earn their trust and eventual back-
and worldwide. “These kids come from all sorts
ing. “I think the board did exactly what a board
of backgrounds. Many of them never had pass-
should do, which is to test the idea, really chal-
ports before. Now they’re acting as ambassadors
lenge me, but then, when they felt they had the
for their country. I’ve had real ambassadors say to
right answers, they fully backed us.”
me, ‘You’ve done more with your concert for the relationships between America and this country than I could do in years.’ With music we have an
Another key for organizational change is “under-
extraordinary vehicle to create bonds and under-
standing the people you work with and how they
standing between people.”
tick.” This requires emotional intelligence and “using your ears more than your mouth. When peo-
As a further example, Gillinson cites a music pro-
ple complain, sometimes you have to respond,
gram they run in New York State’s Sing Sing pris-
but sometimes you don’t, because that’s simply
on. “The men are learning music and it has trans-
their way of dealing with pressure. Some people
formed how they think about their lives and their
need praise all the time, and if they don’t have it,
futures.” Another program supports young moth-
they struggle. A huge amount is reading the per-
ers to compose lullabies that they can sing to their
son. And that takes time – and empathy.”
78 | IESE Business School Insight | no. 152
Gillinson’s tips for hitting the right notes Never take no for an answer
objective to try to make ev-
When I first proposed the idea of
erything available online.
festivals with other arts organiza-
Nothing you do should
tions around the city, everybody said,
ever be led by media.
“There’s no point. New York organizations don’t work together because they’re all chasing the same money.”
Don’t blame others If you can’t persuade
But when I went to see them, they
other people, then
all said, “We’d love to.” Always test
either your idea isn’t
an idea, even if everybody tells you it
good enough, or you ha-
ven’t done enough work
Ask the right question
Most people ask, “What’s best for this company?” That’s not the right question. The only question you should
on it. Take it away and look at it again.
Timing is everything
One of the biggest things I’ve found
ever ask is, “What’s best for how we
in life is if you get the timing wrong,
can transform people’s lives?” If you
an idea can be wrong. It can still be
answer that properly, then that is
the right idea, but the wrong timing
what is best for the company.
makes it the wrong idea.
See the big picture
couldn’t sleep at night because I knew
programs will probably never visit
absolutely nothing and I couldn’t
Carnegie Hall. So why do we spend
imagine the answers. Now almost
money on them? Because we’re
nothing keeps me awake, not because
looking after the future. It’s a bit like
we have all the answers, but because
the environmental movement: a gener-
I have faith in our team’s ability to be
ation ago, that wasn’t really on the
curious and ask questions.
agenda, yet now almost every kid has
When I moved into management, I
Make media your servant, not your master
Most of the kids who benefit from our
a green gene. Likewise, we’re trying to transform the culture so that everyone has the chance to engage with the
Just because all these opportunities
arts. That has to be part of what we
exist, I don’t think it’s a meaningful
no.152 | IESE Business School Insight | 79
A talent for management
This is especially important when it comes to managing egos. “With artists, they usually demand that they’re talking to ‘the person in charge.’ This means ‘the person in charge’ has to have those people skills. I think management has changed a lot in this regard. Conductors, for example, used to work on the basis of fear, like tyrants. Now, most conductors want a relationship. People are
“Management has changed a lot. People are more sensitive and aware”
more sensitive and aware.” Gillinson recounts the story of a diva who was in a
I had to become a different manager,” he recalls.
car, going to the airport, when she phoned her man-
Delegation requires, first, getting “the best peo-
ager to say, “Tell the driver to drive more slowly.” She
ple,” and then, “Empower them.”
wouldn’t actually speak to the driver herself. “Again, you need to understand that person. You may de-
Empowering them doesn’t mean you just let peo-
cide, ‘I don’t want to work with her again because
ple go off and do things on their own without any
her behavior interferes with getting the best results
reference to anyone else. “That’s never any use,”
for everyone.’ But there are times when, to get the
he says. “People need to work together as teams,
best results for everyone, you’ve got to understand
believing it’s ‘our success’ not ‘my success’.”
how that person’s ego works and let them travel the journey they need to travel in order to get to where
Finally, it means giving it your all. Gillinson tells the
you feel you all need to be.”
story of his idol, Mstislav Rostropovich. “Somebody
Empowering the team
would ask, ‘Which is your favorite piece?’ And Rostropovich would answer, ‘It’s the piece I’m playing
One thing that doesn’t work is micromanage-
now or I shouldn’t be playing it.’ His view of every-
ment, as Gillinson learned when he moved from
thing was that, no matter what you’re doing at the
the LSO to the much larger Carnegie Hall. “I knew
time, you always give 100 percent.”
Carnegie Hall Archives
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