Siemens CEO Joe Kaeser says the emerging shift in technology and industry comes with two key challenges. "The information comes faster and is more accessible than ever before," he says. "There's a lot of data, and the challenge is how to prioritize information. ... The second aspect to managing: How do you manage your company using the data you collect?"
Leaders should draw on the entirety of nature and culture, writes Jennifer V. Miller. The world outside the office holds plenty of inspirational lessons for leaders, with sports, theater and gardening among the many activities with secondary benefits. "Take a look around you to see how your world outside of work can help you be better when you're in the office," she advises.
Many of this year's hottest food and restaurant trends build on those of past years, from the shift to more veggie-centric plates to the revival of "heritage cuisines," according to an annual forecast from Baum + Whiteman. Also hot and getting hotter -- retailers from Saks to Target using restaurants to keep shoppers lingering longer and spending a bit more.
CEOs are often kept away from the public, including customers, outside of staged events. This is a mistake, and executives should push past their handlers and make time for direct contact, writes John Mattone. "There's no substitute for engaging with customers where they are," Mattone writes.
Members of the Standard & Poor's 500 index spent $1.43 trillion on stock buybacks over the past three years but lost $11 billion on paper, with some companies down billions of dollars individually. Buybacks are a tax-free gift to investors but are often looked at as a sign companies are cutting back on capital and research investment. Despite the weak returns, analysts expect brisk buyback activity to continue, with $63 billion worth already announced.
Helping a struggling company get back on its feet takes steady, visible and hands-on leadership, writes Richard Lindenmuth, chairman of an association for interim executives. Be a generalist rather than a specialist, and try to get a sense of what everyone at the company is working on and thinking. "Don't hide behind your desk. Walk the halls and let everyone see you," he advises.
It takes two to communicate well, but you can ultimately only control how clear and precise you are, writes Bob Burg. "We can settle for a lack of clear, effective and persuasive communication ... Or we can take on the responsibility and ensure that what we mean is what is heard, and that what we heard is what they meant," he writes.
Rabbits are social creatures but need a hierarchy when placed together to avoid constant fighting. That's led a New York City-based shelter to offer rabbit matchmaking services for pets and their owners. "What I'm looking for is peaceful coexistence," volunteer Amy Odum said. "We want acceptance of the other bunny in their space without any drama."
The only college exam that Charles Schwab CEO Walt Bettinger ever failed was when a business professor handed out a sheet of paper and asked just one question: "What's the name of the lady who cleans this building?" Bettinger couldn't answer, and ever since he's tried to make a point of knowing the people who do crucial low-level jobs. "It was just a great reminder of what really matters in life, and that you should never lose sight of people who do the real work," Bettinger says.
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