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How to Lead
Andrew Hill's challenge
The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.
Tennis fans are marveling once again at the ability of Wimbledon's organisers to reproduce the same customer experience, year after year, even as technology, customer demands, and the way the game is played change. (Contrast golf, where development has been stifled by stuffiness.) I've written this week about my first visit to the championships since 1993 and what the last quarter-century of development shows about how organisations innovate without disturbing their customers.
For my management challenge, I'd like to hear your ideas for how other venerable organisations now need to change in order for everything to remain the same: it could be a century-old consumer goods producer facing new challenges from changing customer tastes, an established retailer overtaken by online competitors, or even a business newspaper looking for a new digital lease on life. What should they do to ensure continuity for existing customers, even as they update everything behind the scenes? Send your mini case studies to email@example.com.
Last week, I asked for your tips about how managers should spend their limited downtime. Hedwige Nuyens, a long-standing manager who averages three days a week of global travel, says she has "no such thing as uptime and downtime". Her personal targets for happiness and balance include getting enough sleep, pursuing a healthy diet, and practising yoga, but I particularly liked her suggestion of "starting and ending each day with something fun or relaxing, if not already in your regular agenda".
In further reading, two Harvard academics have looked at what happens in open-plan offices, which are traditionally supposed to encourage greater collaboration. But Ethan Bernstein and Stephen Turban found that "rather than prompting increasingly vibrant face-to-face collaboration, open architecture appeared to trigger a natural human response to socially withdraw from officemates and interact instead over email and [instant messaging]".
Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.
The iPhone may not be what finally pushes Apple over $1tn Ask most people to name the product most associated with Apple, and the answer will invariably be the iPhone. The iPhone accounts for more than 60% of Apple’s profits and has been heralded as the product that will enable it to become the world’s first trillion-dollar company.
This article provides an excellent analysis of the challenges of managing products and services through different phases of evolution. While the iPhone has provided phenomenal growth, to some analysts, it is Apple’s services, such as App Store downloads, iCloud storage and Apple Music that hold the key to the breaking the trillion-dollar valuation. How the company manages its different product lines over the next couple of years will be fascinating.
Jonathan Moules's business school news
When Kevin Sneader, the newly appointed head of McKinsey, told the Financial Times that he wants a lower proportion of MBA holders in his firm, he was not proposing a cut in campus hiring.
Moreover, the consultancy sector is likely to hire more MBA graduates this year than in 2017, according to the latest recruitment report by the Graduate Management Admission Council, the business school entrance exam administrator.
What is happening is that consultancy jobs are opening up to those who have not followed the conventional MBA path – I spoke to a few of those people for a piece this week.
The question this raises is whether those with ambitions to enter the consultancy sector should not bypass business school altogether. Is this another argument for those who believe that the MBA is outdated? Do tell me what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In case you missed it
Elite business schools are tone deaf to criticism
Newly diverse hiring practices represent a challenge to complacent MBA
Starting an MBA: Three rules for quitting your job
Don’t leave with glee — you never know when you might need former colleagues
Ask the academics
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Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — firstname.lastname@example.org