Eric Ripert, the chef behind legendary seafood restaurant Le Bernardin, has resisted calls to expand his empire or to step away from the kitchen and focus on building a brand. Instead, Ripert, a practicing Buddhist, says he's taking a relaxed but hands-on approach to running his restaurant. "There's an intensity when I'm around," Ripert says. "When you see the boss, you see the boss. I don't leave them shaking, but you put love into the food."
New York City's bagels are famous but often overloaded with cream cheese, writes Gilad Edelman. That's a trick familiar to economists. The excessive cream cheese helps justify higher prices, and customers are less likely to ask for less cream cheese than to complain that there isn't enough.
A well-structured strategic plan includes a clear statement of vision, mission, values and goals, writes Dan McCarthy. The same applies for individual managers. "In the absence of a plan, work still gets done on a day-to-day basis, but often lacks a sense of purpose and priority," he writes.
When things go wrong, it's natural for people to hunker down, but smart organizations won't forget about leadership-development programs, writes Art Petty. Prioritization matters, as does openly expressing organizational values. "A crisis is a horrible thing to waste. Use it wisely and you'll come out of it with a stronger team prepared to take your firm to new levels of success," he writes.
HP chief Meg Whitman's ill-fated foray into politics in 2010 was a learning experience that she says taught her how to handle criticism. "You just power through. You do the very best job you can for the company, and do what you know is right," she says.
More than a century ago, Ivan Petrovich Pavlov conditioned dogs to salivate on cue, in expectation of food, when he rang a bell. Today, people and organizations use similar conditioning techniques to improve branding and communication, writes Shane Parrish. One example: If you're aware of the principles of conditioning, you can work to avoid subconsciously blaming the messenger for bad news.
Oliver Sacks, the neurologist who found fame with works such as "Awakenings" and "The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat," has died at 82. Sacks was known for his limpid prose and ability to view patients' symptoms in the context of their lives. "[H]e practiced what might be called the medicine of friendship, showing genuine interest and respect to people who are often shunned," writes Jerome Groopman.
Culture is fragile, says Greg Schott, chief executive of MuleSoft, and can easily be damaged by poor communication and a lack of trust. Sometimes trust is harmed by management, and sometimes mistrust lives between new and longtime employees, Schott says.
It's always hard to phone in to a meeting, especially when attendees in the room start using visual aids to get their points across, writes Dan Ward. To encourage more effective communication, Ward suggests having meeting participants take turns wearing a blindfold to drive home the point that not everyone can see the wall charts and whiteboards. "The point of this little exercise is to foster empathy for our distant partners who can't see what's going on," Ward explains.
Credibility is like having a bank account, writes Steve Keating. When you live up to your promises, you're making a deposit to your account, and when you let people down, you're making a withdrawal. "Everything you do, everything you say, every commitment you keep and every one you don't, they all count. They all matter!" Keating writes.
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