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Boards That Lead

by Ram Charan Michael Useem Dennis Carey

Is your firm's board creating value-or destroying it?Change is coming. Leadership at the top is being redefined as boards take a more active role in decisions that once belonged solely to the CEO. But for all the advantages of increased board engagement, it can create debilitating questions of authority and dangerous meddling in day-to-day operations. Directors need a new road map-for when to lead, when to partner, and when to stay out of the way.Boardroom veterans Ram Charan, Dennis Carey, and Michael Useem advocate this new governance model-a sharp departure from what has been demanded by governance activists, raters, and regulators-and reveal the emerging practices that are defining shared leadership of directors and executives. Based on personal interviews and the authors' broad and deep experience working with executives and directors from dozens of the world's largest firms, including Apple, Boeing, Ford, Infosys, and Lenovo, Boards That Lead tells the inside story behind the successes and pitfalls of this new leadership model and explains how to: Define the central idea of the company Ensure that the right CEO is in place and potential successors are identified Recruit directors who add value Root out board dysfunction Select a board leader who deftly bridges the divide between management and the board Set a high bar on ethics and riskWith a total of eighteen checklists that will transform board directors from monitors to leaders, Charan, Carey, and Useem provide a smart and practical guide for businesspeople everywhere-whether they occupy the boardroom or the C-suite.

Company Governance: Fulfilling Broad Mission and Purpose-What the India Way Can Teach Us about Balancing the Interests of Different Stakeholders

by Michael Useem Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh Jitendra V. Singh

In Western companies, the board of directors functions as the owners' eyes and ears, monitoring the performance of company executives and ensuring that they protect shareholder interests. In this chapter, authors Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, and Michael Useem show how, in keeping with the India Way, directors of Indian companies balance the interests of all those with a claim on the company-its employees, its customers, the broader community, even the nation-as well as the interests of actual shareholders. Using the example of Infosys Technologies, which has built a governance model that blends both the rules-based approach of Western firms and the values-based approach indigenous to India, the authors make a compelling case for the India Way of corporate governance-and how putting it into practice can help U.S. executives to contribute not just to investor returns, but to their communities; to focus not just on cutting labor costs, but on building their workforces. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 6 of The India Way: How India's Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

Competitive Advantage: Delivering the Creative Value Proposition-Strategy the India Way

by Michael Useem Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh Jitendra V. Singh

The India Way stands in striking contrast to the business practices of other countries and offers valuable lessons for Western executives looking for innovative ways to grow their companies. In this chapter, authors Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, and Michael Useem focus on the distinctive ways in which Indian business leaders find competitive advantage and new customers through creative value propositions. The authors look closely at Bharti Airtel's shockingly innovative reverse outsourcing of its mobile telephone network, Cognizant Technology Solutions' counterintuitive offering of first-class IT services at rock-bottom prices, and Hindustan Unilever's "Project Shakti," a system for selling products via rural self-help groups. Taken together, these stories richly illustrate how organizational architecture, company culture, and competitive strategy form the heart of the India Way of doing business. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 5 of The India Way: How India's Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

Decision Making as Leadership Foundation

by Michael Useem

All organizations have an interest in ensuring that their leaders make good and timely decisions, but good decision making-so vital to effective leadership-is not a skill that comes naturally to every leader. Studies of what Nobel laureate and noted expert on decision making Daniel Kahneman terms "systemic biases"-the mental flaws that separate the choices leaders actually make from what rational agent models expect-reveal that these biases can be reduced when leaders are trained in decision making and have learned from experience. Both universities and companies bear the responsibility of preparing current and future leaders to make sound decisions in work environments that are often demanding and frequently changing. And given the impact of increasingly global product and equity markets on company operations, the pressures for quality decision making are sure to intensify. The chapter concludes with an examination of how boards of directors make decisions, with rich examples from Boeing (its decision to build the 787 aircraft) and computer technology giant Lenovo (its decision to build a global company). This chapter was originally published as Chapter 18 of "Handbook of Leadership Theory and Practice: A Harvard Business School Centennial Colloquium."

The Go Point: When It's Time to Decide, and Knowing What to Do and When to Do It

by Michael Useem

The Go Point--the moment of truth when you have to say "yes" or "no" when it's time to get off the fence. Michael Useem--through dramatic storytelling--shows how to master the art and science of being decisive. He places you smack in the middle of people facing their go point, where actions--or lack of them--determined the fates of individuals, companies, and countries. * Why on earth did Robert E. Lee send General George Pickett on an almost suicidal charge against the Union lines at Gettysburg? * How does the leader of a firefighting crew make life-or-death decisions, directing his people--with little information about weather patterns to guide him--to go up or down the mountain? One direction means safety, the other danger. * You've just assumed responsibility for a scandal-wracked corporation, a company teetering on the brink of disaster. What you decide over the course of the next several days will have consequences for thousands of employees and investors. How do you fulfill your responsibilities? Michael Useem makes you feel as if "you are there," right in the center of the action. He was there: tramping up and down the mountain where firefighters made their momentous decisions; walking the battlefield at Gettysburg to see for himself just what General Pickett faced before making his ill-fated charge; going into a trading pit where million-dollar buy-and-sell decisions are made that affect fortunes of both the firm and the person making the call. You'll discover why some decisions were flawless, perfectly on target, and others utterly disastrous. Most of all, you'll learn how to make the right calls yourself, whether you're changing your career, hiring an assistant, launching a product, or deciding on a potential acquisition or merger. Smartly written and offering unusual insights into the minds of decision makers such as General Lee, The Go Point will provide the guidance for you to move with confidence when it's your turn to get off the fence.

How Well-Run Boards Make Decisions

by Michael Useem

Best Practice

The India Way

by Michael Useem Jitendra Singh Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh

Exploding growth. Soaring investment. Incoming talent waves. India's top companies are scoring remarkable successes on these fronts - and more.How? Instead of adopting management practices that dominate Western businesses, they're applying fresh practices of their ownin strategy, leadership, talent, and organizational culture.In The India Way, the Wharton School India Team unveils these companies' secrets. Drawing on interviews with leaders of India's largest firms - including Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries, Narayana Murthy of Infosys Technologies, and Vineet Nayar of HCL Technologies - the authors identify what Indian managers do differently, including:Looking beyond stockholders' interests to public mission and national purposeDrawing on improvisation, adaptation, and resilience to overcome endless hurdlesIdentifying products and services of compelling value to customersInvesting in talent and building a stirring cultureThe authors explain how these innovations work within Indian companies, identifying those likely to remain indigenous and those that can be adapted to the Western context.With its in-depth analysis and research, The India Way offers valuable insights for all managers seeking to strengthen their organization's performance.

Indian Business Rising: The Contemporary Indian Way of Conducting Business-And How It Can Help You Improve Your Business

by Michael Useem Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh Jitendra V. Singh

In America, the financial crisis of 2008-2009 shattered public confidence in corporate leaders-a confidence already weakened by huge bonuses, company jets, and golden parachutes. In contrast, Indian business leaders have achieved rock-star status, even as they deliver growth rates that would be the envy of any Western executive. In this chapter, authors Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, and Michael Useem introduce "the India Way" of conducting business-characterized by four principal practices: holistic engagement with employees, improvisation and adaptability, creative value propositions, and a broad mission and purpose. The India Way stands in striking contrast to the business practices of other countries, where delivering shareholder value is the primary goal. Using powerful examples such as Tata Motors (developer of the Nano car), Reliance Industries, and Infosys Technologies, the authors present the India Way as a model for Western business leaders who could use it to reinvigorate their own growth rates-and reclaim their reputations in the process. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 1 of The India Way: How India's Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

The Leader's Checklist

by Michael Useem

Named to The Washington Post's 2011 List of Best Leadership BooksIn this fast-reading and illuminating expanded edition of the bestselling Leader's Checklist, world-renowned leadership expert Michael Useem deepens his examination of 15 mission-critical principles for leadersBased on the lessons from astonishing stories, solid research, and years of leadership development work with a wide array of companies and organizations in the United States and abroad, Useem presents today's leaders with 15 guiding principles that form the core of the Leader's Checklist, which will help you develop your ability to make good and timely decisions in unpredictable and stressful environments-for those moments when leadership really matters.To illustrate how the Leader's Checklist can assist leaders, Useem zeroes in on accounts of extraordinary leaders who rose to the challenge, including Laurence Golborne's role in the triumphant rescue of 33 miners in Chile, Joseph Pfeifer's remarkable heroism as the first FDNY Fire Chief to take command at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001, and Union officer Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain's transformative actions after the Confederate army's surrender. He also explores the colossal failure of AIG, one of the greatest corporate collapses in business history.First published exclusively as an ebook-and now also available in print-this updated and expanded edition features a new preface by the author and three new Knowledge@Wharton interviews with Laurence Golborne, Chile's Minister of Mining, on leading the rescue operation of 33 miners trapped in the San José Mine; Joseph Pfeifer, New York City Fire Department's Chief of Counterterrorism and Emergency Preparedness, on being the first Battalion Chief to take command at the World Trade Center on September 11, 2001; and the author on why he wrote The Leader's Checklist and what he has learned about the most vital items on the checklist from his recent leadership development work with more than a dozen companies and organizations.

Leadership Dispatches: Chile's Extraordinary Comeback from Disaster

by Michael Useem Howard Kunreuther Erwann Michel-Kerjan

On February 27, 2010, Chile was rocked by a violent earthquake five hundred times more powerful than the one that hit Haiti just six weeks prior. The Chilean earthquake devastated schools, hospitals, roads, and homes, paralyzing the country for weeks and causing economic damage that was equal to 18 percent of Chile's GDP. This calamity hit just as an incumbent political regime was packing its bags and a new administration was preparing to take office. For most countries, it would have taken years, if not decades, to recover from such an event. Yet, only one year later, Chile's economy had reached a six percent annual growth rate. In Leadership Dispatches, Michael Useem, Howard Kunreuther, and Erwann Michel-Kerjan look at how the nation's leaders-in government, business, religion, academia, and beyond-facilitated Chile's recovery. They attribute Chile's remarkable comeback to a two-part formula consisting of strong national leadership on the one hand, and deeply rooted institutional practices on the other. Coupled with strategic, deliberative thinking, these levers enabled Chile to bounce back quickly and exceed its prior national performance. The authors make the case that the Chilean story contains lessons for a broad range of organizations and governments the world over. Large-scale catastrophes of many kinds-from technological meltdowns to disease pandemics-have been on the rise in recent years. Now is the time to seek ideas and guidance from other leaders who have triumphed in the wake of a disaster. In this vein, Leadership Dispatches is both a remarkable story of resilience and an instructive look at how those with the greatest responsibility for a country, company, or community should lead.

The Leadership Lessons of Mount Everest

by Michael Useem

HBR at Large

The Leadership Moment

by Michael Useem

Are you ready for the leadership moment? Merck's Roy Vagelos commits millions of dollars to develop a drug needed only by people who can't afford it · Eugene Kranz struggles to bring the Apollo 13 astronauts home after an explosion rips through their spacecraft · Arlene Blum organizes the first women's ascent of one of the world's most dangerous mountains · Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain leads his tattered troops into a pivotal Civil War battle at Little Round Top · John Gutfreund loses Salomon Brothers when his inattention to a trading scandal almost topples the Wall Street giant · Clifton Wharton restructures a $50 billion pension system direly out of touch with its customers · Alfredo Cristiani transforms El Salvador's decade-long civil war into a negotiated settlement · Nancy Barry leads Women's World Banking in the fight against Third World poverty · Wagner Dodge faces the decision of a lifetime as a fast-moving forest fire overtakes his firefighting crew

Leading the Enterprise: Improvisation and Adaptability-What Western Business Leaders Can Learn from the India Way

by Michael Useem Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh Jitendra V. Singh

One of the defining qualities of the India Way of doing business is its distinctive style of leadership. India's business leaders think broadly and act pragmatically. They set grand agendas and then rely on trial and error (and personal resilience) to see what works and what doesn't. In this chapter, authors Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, and Michael Useem describe one of four principal practices of the India Way-improvisation and adaptability-and show, using richly detailed examples such as Hindustan Unilever (India's largest consumer products company) and banking juggernaut Industrial Credit and Investment Corporation of India, how Indian business leaders create sustainable profitable growth from the ground up. As Western companies struggle to regain their footing in the wake of the 2008-2009 economic collapse, the phenomenal successes Indian executives have achieved-in an ever-changing business landscape-offer inspiration as well as instruction. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 4 of The India Way: How India's Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

Leading Up: How to Lead Your Boss So You Both Win

by Michael Useem

Eight true stories show that Leaders today aren't just bosses, they're self-starters who take charge even when they haven't been given a charge. Upward leaders get results by helping their superiors lead. They make sure that good ideas don't die on the vine because a boss's understanding doesn't reach down deep enough into the organization. Upward leadership assures that advice arrives from all points on the corporate compass, not just from the top down.

Learning from the India Way: Redefining Business Leadership

by Michael Useem Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh Jitendra V. Singh

The roaring success of Indian business in the last two decades points the world toward a different enterprise model than the one widely practiced in the U.S., with its emphasis on financial goals and shareholder value. Indeed, the global economic crisis of 2008-2009-widely viewed as being triggered by American excesses-has rekindled the debate about the proper role of personal gain and shareholder value in business affairs. In this chapter, authors Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, and Michael Useem show how the India Way of conducting business presents a compelling alternative to the U.S. model. But is the India Way adaptable to other cultures and economies, or is it simply the product of India's unique economic and cultural landscape? In a refreshingly candid style, the authors explore both sides of this question. Ultimately, though, readers must decide for themselves which aspects of the India Way will prove most beneficial to their own operations. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 7 of The India Way: How India's Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

Managing People: Holistic Engagement of Employees-And How Your Company Can Profit by India's Example

by Michael Useem Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh Jitendra V. Singh

Leading firms in India-IT services giant HCL Technologies, Reliance Industries, Yes Bank, and Infosys, to name just a few-view managing people as an integral part of their business strategies. The India Way, which stands in striking contrast to the business practices of Western countries, recognizes that strategy is based on internal competencies, and these ultimately come from the actions and efforts of employees. In this chapter, authors Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, and Michael Useem examine key aspects of human resource management at Indian firms-recruitment, training and development, employee engagement, and organizational culture-positioning them in stark contrast to their counterparts in U.S. firms. What can Western business leaders learn from the India Way of managing people? A great deal, according to the authors. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 3 of The India Way: How India's Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

Upward Bound

by Michael Useem Paul Asel Jerry Useem

Your team has faltered at a critical moment. A key member says he can't continue, requiring you to make a snap decision: Do you write him off? Or do you risk the whole venture by trying to get him back on his feet?It could be a scenario straight from the business world. Yet this one occurred high on the slopes of the world's deadliest mountain, K2, where lives, not just livelihoods, depended on the leader's choice.Decisions don't get much starker. That's why mountains--though seemingly a world apart from business--hold unique and surprising insights for managers and entrepreneurs at any altitude. More than just symbols of our upward strivings, they are high-altitude management laboratories: testing grounds where risk, fear, opportunity, and ambition collide in the most unforgiving of settings. Upward Bound brings together a remarkable team of nine writers equally at home among the high peaks and in the corridors of corporate power, including Good to Great author Jim Collins, legendary climber and outdoor clothing entrepreneur Royal Robbins, and Stacy Allison, the first American woman to summit Mount Everest. Their riveting, often harrowing accounts, reveal* Why rock climbers' distinction between failure (giving up before reaching the edge of your abilities) and what they call "fallure" (committing 100 percent and using up all your energy and reserves) can help companies transcend their vertical limits * What happens when a leader abdicates responsibility in the Death Zone of Mount Everest--and how a similar vacuum at sea level can corrupt corporate purpose* How large climbing expeditions use exquisite organization and "pyramids of people" to place just two climbers on top, making heroes of some from the sacrifice of all * What "ridge-walking" between deadly avalanches and the lure of Mount McKinley's summit taught a venture capitalist about nurturing risky high-tech start-ups* How a simple insight--using "proximate goals"--propelled a faltering climber up El Capitan in a seemingly undoable solo ascent, a ten-day lesson that would later jump-start a business* Why more accessible peaks like Mount Sinai can exert a pull every bit as powerful as Mount Everest* How to think like a guideWhile most people will never find themselves in the thin air of the world's highest places, Upward Bound brings those places down to earth for anyone seeking the path to his or her own summit. Whether it's up the career ladder or toward a creative peak, Upward Bound addresses the fundamental question of why we climb, while capturing the power of mountains to instruct as well as inspire.From the Hardcover edition.

The Way to the India Way: Economic Reforms Drive Development of New Capabilities-Lessons from India's Economic Boom

by Michael Useem Peter Cappelli Harbir Singh Jitendra V. Singh

While European and American enterprise enjoyed more than two centuries of political sovereignty and business independence, India's commercial growth was shackled by foreign rule and, in the wake of independence in 1947, stifling government control and regulation. In this chapter, authors Peter Cappelli, Harbir Singh, Jitendra Singh, and Michael Useem describe in vivid detail how India's sweeping economic reforms, introduced in 1991, dramatically altered the business landscape and allowed the emergence of a distinctive "India Way" of doing business. Now, nearly two decades after the 1991 reforms, the most lasting impact may well be in business leadership itself, as those who preside over India's largest and most successful enterprises rise above their own business interests to drive an agenda for economic and social change on a nationwide scale. This chapter was originally published as Chapter 2 of The India Way: How India's Top Business Leaders Are Revolutionizing Management.

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