What you need to know: May 2019

Fresh ideas, surprising opportunities and valuable insights from across the web: Management Today's picks of the day.

by Management Today staff
Last Updated: 31 May 2019


UK businesses want net zero carbon emissions by 2050

More than 120 leaders have urged Theresa May to change climate legislation. FT

Older managers are more collaborative

According to a study of 10,000 bosses, from 21 to 70. Younger managers were found to be keener on narrower, technical approaches to problem solving.  MIT Sloan

Are you responsible for training your supplier's employees?

John Lewis’ Better Jobs Programme provides online resources and guidance to workers throughout its supply chain. Supply Management


This doctor treats CEOs for stress, and he has some advice for you

Companies are becoming ever more proactive in talking about mental health. FT

How to crack the productivity paradox

This report, released today by the University of Oxford’s Martin School looks at why we misinterpret productivity, what it means and recommends how we can fix it. Oxford Martin School

The small moments that impact office relationships

Seemingly insignificant interactions can make or break the connection between colleagues. Harvard Business Review


Why has Primark been so successful?

A model of ‘fast fashion without the guilt’ has seen sales rise by 4 per cent in the six months to March. The Guardian

Change high-skilled worker visa rules, say Economists

The Migration Advisory Committee is urging the government to increase the range of professions given preferential access. FT

Has the UK has lost its competitive edge?

23rd place is Britain’s worst ever showing in IMD’s latest World Competitiveness Ranking. IMD Business School


How Nigel Farage really won the EU elections

The Brexit Party leader is not as popular as he thinks. The Conversation

You have better data than you realise

West End shops have developed an innovative way of finding insights about their customers. Strategy + Business

The jobs boom that nobody is talking about

Critics are quick to bemoan capitalism as a tool of misery and exploitation, but their argument has lost touch with reality. The Economist


Persuasion is all about connection, not logic

Robert Cialdini’s guide to changing people’s minds. Kate Morgan (via Medium)

How to spot things that others miss

If you want to be creative, first practice being attentive. Harvard Business Review

The power of bystanders

People who actively intervene in negative behaviour can help to prevent the spread of toxic behaviours. MIT Sloan


Pessimism is the biggest threat to capitalism

Capitalism ceases to work if it doesn't deliver on the promise that the next generation will have more than the previous one. The Guardian

The art of the stay interview

Interviewing employees before they decide to leave can help them to stay, but only if you make the most of it. Leyda Aleman (via Medium)

TfL to use wifi to improve its ad offering

By tracking the movements of passengers using free station wifi, the transport provider is hoping it will be able to strategically place advertising. Campaign



Employee engagement is nothing to do with company culture

We’re all wrong in our approach to measuring what motivates people. HBR

Could this finally make work work for parents?

Cuckooz Nest offers freelancers free childcare. Springwise

Urban Outfitters to start renting clothes

The US retailer, which has a strong presence on the UK highstreet, hopes the online service will appeal to sustainability conscious consumers. Wall Street Journal


How buses could make your business better

The benefits for companies that pay for special ‘wifi-enabled’ shuttle buses extend far beyond more productive employees. Strategy + Business

The hidden opportunity in trade sanctions

There’s a burgeoning market of firms helping international clients to navigate the risky and complex maze of international sanctions. The Economist

What Aristotle can teach you about leadership

The philosopher may not have been right about everything, but anyone whose ideas dominated Western thought for 2,000 years - and who tutored one of the all-time overachievers in the form of Alexander the Great – deserves at least a second look. This article dips into the Nicomachean Ethics in pursuit of Aristotle’s key virtue, phronesis, or practical wisdom, and how it relates to modern leadership. Ravi Shankar Rajan via Medium


How to help your team achieve more

Building trust is a top down process. Chris Bergen (via Medium)

Innovation is slowing down

Here’s what can be done about it. Nesta

Royal Mail to launch parcel postboxes

It’s the first major change of use of the infrastructure in 160 years. The Guardian


The "hidden epidemic" in UK workplaces

A survey by TUC found that 68 per cent of LGBT respondents have received harassment in the workplace. BBC

What’s the single most important question any management team should ask?

Metro Bank’s cash crisis is a reminder that when it comes to metrics, finding the one that matters is crucial. FT

The joy of absence

If you want your workers to be productive, don’t expect them to always be in the office. The Economist


Exceptional leaders share these common traits

Look for these behaviours if you want to hire outstanding talent. Strategy + Business

A simplified tax-rate for business?

This mayor says that a flat-tax rate for SMEs would boost the economy and slash red-tape. The Telegraph

Rethink HS2, say peers

A House of Lords committee is "utterly unconvinced" that the project will be built within budget, nor deliver the intended value to Northern cities. BBC



Why is this boss giving  £3.5m back to his staff?

Julian Richer has sold the majority of his shares to his employees. BBC

Better meetings = Better decisions

Decisions are the lifeblood of a company, so make sure you get them right. Mckinsey

Will removing passwords make your business data more secure?

US based MobileIron is removing zero-trust security. Instead employees will use their mobile phones to access company servers and cloud systems. Springwise


Leaders need to be both generalist and specialist

The phrase ‘jack of all trades, master of none’ erroneously suggests that specialising in one area is the only route to success. Strategy + Business

Next collaborates with Amazon to put collection points in its shops

The high street retailer hopes that letting customers collect online orders within its stores will help the brand ‘stay relevant’ amid fierce competition. Retail Gazette

The curse of the ghost CEO

The best thing any outgoing boss can do is shut-up and get lost. FT


Why do you - or your employees - procrastinate?

It might be biological. Quartz

How far should a stewardship shakeup go?

When it was introduced in 2010, the stewardship code set global precedent for corporate governance in securities, now there are fears it is out of date. FT

What does successful business collaboration look like?

Manufacturers who build ‘power-partnerships’ with retail partners yield meaningful growth. Mckinsey



Why the leader should be the ‘dumbest’ in the room

Bosses spend too much time trying to provide answers to a problem, instead they should help to clarify it. The StartUp (Via Medium)

How to win the hearts and minds of customers

Provenance really matters. Supply Management

Does it really matter where your company calls home?

Traditionally corporations tend to stick close to their historical origins, but globalisation has diluted these bonds. FT


Should you sack staff who undermine your leadership?

Having a diverse range of voices in your team is a good thing, but what if a person’s negativity starts to affect morale? Elizabeth Shassere (Via Medium)

Business does not need a purpose

Putting profit over purpose may be the best way to do good in the world. HBR

New levy for airlines

A government review into airline insolvency has proposed a 50p levy on every airfare. The funds will be used to create a flight protection scheme to help passengers stranded by carrier bankruptcy. FT


London will lead Facebook’s push into payments

The new office will lead the global expansion of WhatsApp’s mobile payments service. FT (paywall)

How VR helps you make better decisions

Gamified 3D simulation has helped improve the decision making of some of the world’s best footballers, now businesses are cottoning on. Strategy + Business

Food via text message?

Matcha Works has developed a text-to-try vending machine that allows users to request food and drinks via SMS message. The company wants to license the tech to other brands. Springwise


How offshore wind power is transforming the Southeast of England

Britain already has the infrastructure to provide more capacity than any other country in the world. Half of that is located in Norfolk and Suffolk, which could create jobs and prospects for generations. BBC

Why workplace culture really matters

France Telecom’s former CEO is standing trial accused of creating a system of ‘moral harassment’ that led to 35 suicides in less than two years. The Telegraph

5 biases you need to overcome to be a better leader

Beware of falling into the trap of an additive system. The Mission.org (via Medium)


What NASA pirates can teach you about corporate culture

The tragic script of a successful business (reduced version) reads as follows: firm exploits a great idea with a great business model; as it achieves scale and seeks efficiency, its culture ossifies; now a rigid bureaucracy, it is incapable of adapting to changing realities and is replaced by younger, more dynamic competitors. So where does NASA come in? This case study reveals how a group of "renegades" embedded in the American space agency challenged conventional wisdom and resistance within the hierarchy to develop the world-beating mission control system for the space shuttle, under budget and in record time. MIT Sloan Review of Management

How are immigration rules changing after Brexit?

New visas are due to come into force in 2021, including innovation visas would-be entrepreneurs. The main change from an employer’s perspective is that Tier 2 visas (for skilled workers) are being extended from those with degrees to include those with the equivalent of A-levels. People Management

Aesthetician, behaviour analyst, food demonstrator

Some of the 46 new jobs identified by the US Census Bureau. Quartz


How to get out of the death spiral of becoming a bad manager

The main two reasons for poor junior and middle management are the Peter Principle and death-by-MBA, according to this popular blog. The first isn’t really your fault – you didn’t choose to be promoted beyond your abilities, after all – while the second perhaps is. Learning how to do things by the book during an MBA is surely useful; the problem occurs when you stop believing there’s any other way. In both cases, the answer is to keep things simple. Medium

Unstable, expensive and value destroying – how the gig economy hurts employers too

We all know there are concerns about the gig economy eroding workers’ rights, leaving giggers in a limbo involving both insecurity and dependency. But what about employers? There are hidden dangers to relying on temporary workers: the loss of institutional knowledge, a culture of instability and surprisingly high recruitment and training costs. Strategy & Business

What will it take to fix advertising’s broken business model

Agency profit margins have fallen from 30 per cent in the 1960s to 9 per cent last year. Shifting technologies are clearly to blame, but the industry’s response – cost-cutting – has left a lot to be desired. This feature argues for a new business model, ditching pay-by-the-hour in favour of payment-by-results. Campaign


The 8 uses of humour at work

Building camaraderie, avoiding fatigue and softening criticism are all among the benefits for funny people – but don’t go too far. The Conversation

The problem with AI regulation

The EU is forcing programmers to follow ethical regulations, while China and the US take a light touch approach, exposing the tensions between safeguarding citizens and stifling innovation. FT (paywall)

Facebook targets ecommerce market

Users will be able to make purchases in apps like Instagram and Messenger, opening up new sales channels for businesses. The Daily Telegraph (paywall)

Image credit: artisteer/Gettyimages


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