Bob Morris Book Review – Blogging on Business

HBR’s 10 Must-Reads: 2023
Various contributors, including HBR editors
Harvard Business Review Press (Oct 2021)

Definitive management ideas that may have the greatest value and impact in 2023

This is the last volume in a series introduced in 2015. The “HBR 10 Must Read” anthologies are published each fall. Each one consists of ten or eleven articles plus a “bonus” article, all previously published in Harvard Business Review. They have been carefully selected by HBR editors If you were to purchase all 11 articles from issue 20223 as individual reprints, the total cost would be about $100. You can buy a copy of the print edition on Amazon for just $22.41. That’s quite a bargain. In fact, it is a robbery.

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According to the HBR Editors: “When our editorial team got together (some members on screen and others around a conference table) to discuss the hot topics of the past year Harvard Business Review, we were still adjusting to what we could assume was the new normal. For the past few years, many organizations have been in reactive mode, changing the way they work as dictated by the changing environment, and the Covid-19 pandemic, for security reasons or a sense of urgency. But now leaders, managers and individuals alike have the opportunity to define a different path, not by reacting to the present but by creating a new future. The 11 articles we have selected for this volume reflect that.”

Again this year, as in previous years, the editors’ picks are brilliant. Bravo!

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I thought you would also appreciate some brief comments drawn from these two articles.

In “The future of flexibility at work”, Ellen Ernst Kossek, patricia gettingY Karmoudi Misra share what they have learned from their rigorous and extensive studies of flexibility in the workplace over the past several years.

“We are researchers studying how organizations of all kinds, from professional services and IT companies to hospitals, retail stores and manufacturing facilities, manage flexibility. Throughout our work, we’ve asked leaders to tell us how they do it (or don’t). Here are a variety of typical answers:

I adapt to the time needs of employees to go to the gym during lunch or take a class by allowing a special arrangement regarding work hours.

If a family member is sick or someone has been in a car accident, it is no problem to leave work.

Due to the way the units are staffed and schedules, there doesn’t seem to be a lot of flexibility.

I often resorted to mandatory Zoom meetings on Friday nights at 6 P.Mbecause that was the only opening on the calendar for key staff members.

We can’t get enough staff on the weekends to run the production we need, even with eight different scheduling options. That’s not good. I don’t want that to be the reason we can’t produce.

These answers may sound familiar. The variation between them is remarkable. The first focuses on special arrangements for non-work activities. The second depends on extreme circumstances. The third expresses frustration with the barriers to flexibility. The fourth is flexibility at its worst. The latest shows that flexible scheduling is a critical (yet unresolved) competitive issue for many organizations.”

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In “Unconscious Bias Training That Works,” Francesca gyno Y katherine coffman look:

“Successful UB training gives people concrete tools to change their behavior. It helps them better understand each other’s experiences and feel more motivated to be inclusive.

Consider an approach that has been developed by Patricia Devine of the University of Wisconsin and her colleagues, called breaking the habit of prejudice. Like conventional UB training, it teaches what implicit bias is, how it is measured, and how it harms women and people of color. After being educated, participants take the Implicit Association Test, which shows that we are all victims of unconscious bias to some degree, and then receive feedback on their personal level of bias. Next, they are taught how to overcome prejudice through a combination of strategies. These include pointing out stereotypical viewpoints, gathering more individualized information about people, reflecting on counter-stereotypical examples, taking on the perspectives of others, and increasing interactions with different types of people. After learning about each strategy, participants are asked to come up with examples of how they could use it in their own lives. They are taught that strategies reinforce each other and that the more they are practiced, the more effective they will be.

Only 10% of training programs gave attendees strategies to reduce bias. Imagine a weight loss program that told participants to get on the scale and leave it at that.

This approach really works. In a longitudinal experiment, Devine and his colleagues had 292 college students participate in eliminating bias habits with a focus on race. Two weeks later, attendees noted more bias in others than students who had not participated, and were also more likely to label that bias as wrong. Two years later, the researchers re-examined a subset of the students and found that those who had participated were even more likely to speak out against bias than students who had not.

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Here’s what the editors have to say about the additional article“Persuading the Unpersuasible” adam grant:

“Many of us may wonder how, when people dismiss our views, we can persuade them to reconsider their positions. Grant writes, “It is possible to get even the most trusting, opinionated, narcissistic, and unpleasant people to open their minds.” An organizational psychologist, he has spent time with people who managed to motivate the notoriously self-assured Steve Jobs to change his mind and has analyzed the science behind his techniques. He offers approaches that can help you encourage a know-it-all to recognize when there is something to learn, a stubborn colleague to make a U0 turn, a narcissist to show humility, and an argumentative boss to agree with you.

Grant’s article, as well as each of the other ten, alone, is worth far more than the total cost of this volume.

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I highly recommend this book, both as a primary source as they prepare for the new calendar year and as an exceptionally thoughtful holiday gift for others who are also eager to accelerate their personal growth and professional development.

Timeless and timely business insights can be invaluable, but only if you always heed this advice from Thomas Edison: “Vision without execution is hallucination.”

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