Japan's 2011 Fukushima disaster could have been avoided. Leaders directly and indirectly involved in the tragedy spoke candidly at a Tokyo panel, sponsored by Wharton’s Initiative for Global Environmental Leadership. Three areas emerged as essential to leadership in a crisis: preparation for emergencies, leadership style and communications.
From: October 15, 2013 Brain Teasers: How We Adapt to Market Shocks and Sudden Change
Welcome to the brave new world of neurofinance – an emerging discipline that seeks to understand the cognitive processes engaged in acquiring and processing information in financial decision-making. It's avant-garde and offers good news for anyone operating in volatile markets. The latest research from Elise Payzan-LeNestour at the Australian School of Business shows that human beings are surprisingly good at taking in sudden changes and adjusting their behaviour accordingly. And the incentive of a monetary reward can increase the sophistication of learning abilities and responses in the face of unexpected events. “Our brain is geared to adapt to unstable conditions,” says Payzan-LeNestour.
From: August 06, 2013 Lasting Legacy: Nelson Mandela's Evolution as a Strategic Leader
The life story of Nelson Mandela is well known, and it has elevated him to the level of such widely recognised heroes as Mahatma Gandhi and Mother Teresa. What is less well-known is how he became a respected strategic leader who, from prisons on Robben Island and elsewhere, helped bring democracy to South Africa. Paul Schoemaker, research director of Wharton's Mack Institute for Innovation Management, describes three decisions that illustrate this leadership quality and analyses early political events that influenced Mandela's career.
From: July 23, 2013 Bringing People Together: David Gonski on Life and Leadership
David Gonski, chancellor of the University of New South Wales, sees his leadership strength as an ability to bring people together. But he notes that different people have different leadership skills and different qualities are needed at different times. Although his career has taken him to the pinnacle of business and to key roles for government and cultural organisations, Gonski has never lost sight of the need for personal modesty and respect for others. Or, as it emerges in this conversation with Australian School of Business dean Geoffrey Garrett: the best way to be a good leader is to be a good person.
From: May 07, 2013 Unskilled and Unaware: Finding a Cure for Over-Confidence
In a study of particular relevance to managers, Andreas Ortmann, a professor of experimental and behavioural economics at the Australian School of Business, has found that people at the lower end of the competence spectrum in any environment tend to over-estimate their talents in comparison to those around them. They are over-confident and unaware of it, a potentially disastrous combination in team leaders. But Ortmann says that with the right feedback, all but the least competent people can be calibrated to recognise their actual skills level and perform better as a consequence. And even the least competent can be helped, though it may take a lot longer.
From: March 19, 2013 Effecting Change: How Allowing For Failure Leads to Success
The sustainability of an organisation, particularly in times of economic turmoil, is often seen as directly related to its ability to innovate and implement change. But how organisations perceive and react to failure – their failure orientation – is also integral to ongoing viability. According to Australian School of Business associate professor Gavin Schwarz, firms that recognise failure as a stabilising force and as a legitimate aspect of organisational survival will find this perspective can have a positive influence on the overall behaviour of their organisations and, with it, future prospects.
From: March 04, 2013 Here's to the Crazy Ones: The Pleasure and Pain of the Business Maverick
Bold and creative maverick leaders tend to deliver great innovations and breakthroughs. At the same time, they are highly disruptive, disturbing to work for and, by nature, definitely not team players. In business, it seems we can’t live with them and can’t live without them, as many who encountered Apple founder, Steve Jobs, have attested. New research from the Australian School of Business delves into the personality traits and risk-taking behaviour of mavericks and finds the case for understanding the visionary nonconformist, while also carefully managing those within their influence.
From: February 05, 2013 Gretchen Rubin's Search for Happiness
Are you happy? Could you be happier? Gretchen Rubin was already "pretty happy" when she asked herself these very questions. In search of the answers, she started her own pursuit of happiness, which eventually became a New York Times bestseller titled, The Happiness Project. She has now written a second book, Happier at Home, based on the idea that the home is the foundation of happiness. Knowledge@Wharton recently spoke with Rubin about why happy people work more hours each week, how to make and keep happiness resolutions, how to ward off the three happiness leeches and how to start your own Happiness Project.
An edited version of the transcript appears below.
From: December 17, 2012 'The Corner Office': Adam Bryant on the Five Qualities of Successful Leaders
Why do some people get promoted, while others do not? What distinguishes CEOs from all others? To answer these questions, New York Times editor Adam Bryant has interviewed more than 200 CEOs for his Corner Office column. In his book, The Corner Office: Indispensable and Unexpected Lessons from CEOs on How to Lead and Succeed, Bryant shares what he has learned from Xerox CEO Ursula Burns, Ford CEO Alan R. Mulally, Yum Brands CEO David C. Novak, Teach for America CEO Wendy Kopp, Zynga CEO Mark Pincus, and other leaders. Knowledge@Wharton recently sat down with Bryant to discuss five qualities of successful leaders, the age-old question of whether leaders are born or made and how his discussions with CEOs have influenced his own approach to leadership.
From: December 17, 2012 The Right Stuff: One Man's Mission to Make Leaders Reach for the Moon
"Be yourself" is the crucial message for leaders today, according to Alex Malley, CEO of professional accounting body, CPA Australia. Malley says that too many leaders are turning away when the heat is on, and across the world there's a need for visionaries who can inspire all stakeholders and lead by example. One vital quality in successful leaders is the courage - or strength of character - to fail. In an exclusive interview, Malley shares insights on key issues, including the high risk of being overly cautious and the importance of hiring people who are smarter than you. In the process, he pins down the reasons behind Australia's productivity lag.
From: October 16, 2012