Top Five Stories of 2019

A look at what clicked for our readers this past year.

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1. Why Strategy Is in Trouble

By Willie Pietersen

In today’s disruptive environment, the ability to unify organizations behind winning strategies has arguably become the most important leadership capability of all. The problem is that more than any other business process, strategy is largely misunderstood and therefore misapplied. It is time to clarify our thinking about strategy.

2. Why Corporate Culture Is Hard

By Shivaram Rajgopal

In the context of issues such as financial reporting or disclosure or earnings management, many CEOs or financial executives would tell us, unprompted, “It’s not in our culture to do X,” and “It’s not in our culture to do Y.” We began with a set of in-depth interviews with 18 corporate executives to identify the major questions and themes we wanted to cover in the survey. We then surveyed more than 1,300 executives in major firms. And what we discovered was that financial executives see corporate culture as vitally important to organizations, but it takes a lot of hard work to get it right.

3. Lessons from the Theranos Whistleblower

By Stephen Kurczy

A young kid fresh out of college, Tyler Shultz had the gall to call Theranos a fraud. “I didn’t see myself as a whistleblower,” Shultz said during a visit to the Business School organized by the student board of the Sanford C. Bernstein & Co. Center for Leadership and Ethics. “I was just doing what I thought was best.”

4. 8 Leadership Lessons from Game of Thrones

By Stephen Kurczy

More than a television show, Game of Thrones offers a trove of leadership lessons for managing groups and implementing change. Adjunct Associate Professor Bruce Craven extracts those lessons in his popular MBA course, Leadership Through Fiction, as well as in his new book, Win or Die: Leadership Secrets from Game of Thrones. “I benefited from years of working at Columbia Business School with a lot of amazing professors,” says Craven. “I wanted to share their wisdom with other people because I felt it was critical to my own development and my own professional success.”

5. Millennials Spur a Management Revolution

By Stephen Kurczy

Millennials don’t just want paychecks; they want praise. Millennials don’t want bosses or performance evaluations; they want mentors and development plans. Millennials care less about job stability, predictability, or longevity than autonomy, flexibility, and sociability.

About the researcher

Shivaram Rajgopal

Shiva Rajgopal is the Kester and Byrnes Professor of Accounting and Auditing at Columbia Business School. He has also been a faculty member...

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About the researcher

William Pietersen

Willie Pietersen was raised in South Africa, and received a Rhodes Scholarship to Oxford University. After practicing law, he embarked on an international business...

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