Extractive summaries of and key takeaways from the articles curated from TOP TEN BUSINESS MAGAZINES to promote informed business decision-making | Week 272 |November 25-December 01, 2022
Europe faces an enduring crisis of energy and geopolitics
The Economist | November 24, 2022
Don’t be fooled by the rush of good news from Europe in the past few weeks. Energy prices are down from the summer and a run of good weather means that gas storage is nearly full. But the energy crisis still poses dangers. Gas prices are six times higher than their long-run average. On November 22nd Russia threatened to throttle the last operational pipeline to Europe, even as missile attacks caused emergency power cuts across Ukraine. Europe’s gas storage will need to be refilled once again in 2023, this time without any piped Russian gas whatsoever.
Vladimir Putin’s energy weapon will exact a toll beyond Ukraine. The Economist modelling suggests that, in a normal winter, a 10% rise in real energy prices is associated with a 0.6% increase in deaths. Hence the energy crunch this year could cause over 100,000 extra deaths of elderly people across Europe. If so, Mr Putin’s energy weapon could take more lives outside Ukraine than his artillery, missiles and drones do directly within it. That is one more reason why Ukraine’s resistance to Russia is Europe’s fight, too.
The war is also creating financial vulnerabilities. Energy inflation is spilling over into the rest of Europe’s economy, creating an acute dilemma for the European Central Bank. It needs to raise interest rates to control prices. But if it goes too far it could destabilise the euro zone’s weaker members, not least indebted Italy.
Even as the energy crisis rages, the war has exposed a vulnerability in Europe’s business model. Too many of Europe’s industrial firms, especially German ones, have relied on abundant energy inputs from Russia. Plenty of companies have also become more dependent on another autocracy, China, as an end market. The prospect of severed relations with Russia, structurally higher costs and a decoupling of the West and China has meant a reckoning in many boardrooms. That fear has been amplified by America’s economic nationalism which threatens to draw activity across the Atlantic in a whirlwind of subsidies and protectionism. Many bosses warn that the combination of expensive energy and American subsidies leaves Europe at risk of mass deindustrialisation. Thus the subsidy row is also feeding tensions between America and Europe.
3 key takeaways from the article
- If you ask Europe’s friends around the world what they think of the old continent’s prospects they often respond with two emotions. One is admiration. In the struggle to help Ukraine and resist Russian aggression, Europe has displayed unity, grit and a principled willingness to bear enormous costs. But the second is alarm. A brutal economic squeeze will pose a test of Europe’s resilience in 2023 and beyond.
- There is a growing fear that the recasting of the global energy system, American economic populism and geopolitical rifts threaten the long-run competitiveness of the European Union and non-members, including Britain.
- It is not just the continent’s prosperity that is at risk, the health of the transatlantic alliance is, too.
Topics: Europe, Russia, Energy, USA, China
How will the space economy change the world?
By Ryan Brukardt | McKinsey & Company | November 28, 2022
A few people understand that the space economy—broadly defined as activities in orbit or on other planets that benefit human beings—could soon transform how they live and work.
Some hints of the coming changes are apparent, including the frequent headlines about SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other private companies launching their own rockets and deploying satellite constellations. These activities, once primarily the domain of government agencies, are now possible in the private sector because recent technological advances in manufacturing, propulsion, and launch have made it much easier and less expensive to venture into space and conduct missions. Lower costs have opened the door to new start-ups and encouraged established aerospace companies to explore novel opportunities that once seemed too expensive or difficult. The technological improvements have also intrigued investors, resulting in a surge of space funding over the past five years. The potential for innovative space applications is immense, especially if established aerospace companies form partnerships with businesses that traditionally haven’t ventured into orbit.
Space has long been a potent incubator for innovation—first from governments and large telcos and now from multiple private companies as well. In addition, satellites help world leaders address intractable social, environmental, and economic challenges. A few ways that satellite data can provide insights—often more effectively and comprehensively than other sources are: climate change, Food security, and national security.
According to the not-for-profit Space Foundation, the space economy was valued at $469 billion in 2021, up 9 percent from 2020, the highest recorded growth since 2014.2 Although the space economy now generates most value by enabling or enhancing activities on Earth, significant future value could arise from functions that occur entirely in orbit, such as in-orbit servicing, research and development, and manufacturing. That said, the satellite services available today will remain important and could be critical to some emerging use cases.
Researchers and other space enthusiasts have long discussed the potential for business activity in orbit, or even the development of space cities. But now, with lower costs and greater technological capabilities, the space economy may finally be at a tipping point, where businesses can conduct large-scale activities in space. As costs continue to drop, even more companies may contemplate space ventures; and for the first time, they might even be able to profit from forays into space.
3 key takeaways from the article
- A few people understand that the space economy—broadly defined as activities in orbit or on other planets that benefit human beings—could soon transform how they live and work.
- Some hints of the coming changes are apparent, including the frequent headlines about SpaceX, Blue Origin, and other private companies launching their own rockets and deploying satellite constellations. These activities, once primarily the domain of government agencies, are now possible in the private sector because recent technological advances in manufacturing, propulsion, and launch have made it much easier and less expensive to venture into space and conduct missions.
- Lower costs have opened the door to new start-ups and encouraged established aerospace companies to explore novel opportunities that once seemed too expensive or difficult.
Topics: Space Economy, Business, Technology
What’s next in cybersecurity
By Lorenzo Franceschi-Bicchierai | MIT Technology Review | November 28, 2022
In the world of cybersecurity, there is always one certainty: more hacks. That is the unavoidable constant in an industry that will spend an estimated $150 billion worldwide this year without being able, yet again, to actually stop hackers.
This past year has seen Russian government hacks aimed at Ukraine; more ransomware against hospitals and schools—and against whole governments too; a seemingly endless series of costly crypto hacks; and high-profile hacks of companies like Microsoft, Nvidia, and Grand Theft Auto maker Rockstar Games, the last hack allegedly carried out by teenagers. All these types of hacks will continue next year and in the near future, according to cybersecurity experts who spoke to MIT Tech Review. Here’s what we expect to see more of in the coming year:
Russia continues its online operations against Ukraine. Ukraine was the big story of the year in cybersecurity as in other news. The industry turned its attention to the embattled country, which suffered several attacks by Russian government groups. These were all in support of military operations, not acts of war per se, which could still mean that “cyberwarfare is a very misleading term and the cyberwar, as such, will not really happen.
Ransomware runs rampant again. This year, other than the usual corporations, hospitals, and schools, government agencies in Costa Rica, Montenegro, and Albania all suffered damaging ransomware attacks too. In Costa Rica, the government declared a national emergency, a first after a ransomware attack. And in Albania, the government expelled Iranian diplomats from the country—a first in the history of cybersecurity—following a destructive cyberattack. These types of attacks were at an all-time high in 2022, a trend that will likely continue next year.
Crypto is still going to crypto. The crypto didn’t just flow from ransomware victims to hackers; in 2022 it also flowed straight out of crypto projects and Web3 companies. This was the year cryptocurrency hacks, which have been occurring since cryptocurrencies were invented, became mainstream, with hackers stealing at least $3 billion in crypto during the year.
3 key takeaways from the article
- In the world of cybersecurity, there is always one certainty: more hacks. That is the unavoidable constant in an industry that will spend an estimated $150 billion worldwide this year without being able, yet again, to actually stop hackers.
- This past year has seen Russian government hacks aimed at Ukraine; more ransomware against hospitals and schools—and against whole governments too; a seemingly endless series of costly crypto hacks; and high-profile hacks of companies like Microsoft, Nvidia, and Grand Theft Auto maker Rockstar Games, the last hack allegedly carried out by teenagers.
- What we should expect to see more of in the coming year: Russia continues its online operations against Ukraine, Ransomware runs rampant again, and Crypto is still going to crypto.
Topics: Technology, Cybersecurity
How to Make Your Matrix Organization Really Work
By Vishal Bhalla et al., | MIT Sloan Management Review | November 17, 2022
Much has been written about why matrix organizations are needed and what they look like at a surface level. Far less advice is available about what it takes to make them work. This information gap sets many teams up for disappointment because matrix organizations flourish or fail based on attention to their design and dynamics.
The heart of a matrix organization is a reporting structure in which matrixed leaders have two or more upward reporting lines to business dimension leaders. However, in addition to the reporting structure, other supporting factors in matrix organizations also require careful focus: (1) defining roles and incentives, (2) designing key processes and establishing operating principles that guide action, and (3) selecting and developing leaders with the right mindsets and skills to operate effectively.
There are four elements that make up a well-functioning matrix model.
- Where: Reporting Relationships. A common mistake companies make in setting up a matrix reporting structure is designating straight-line and dotted-line reporting relationships. This inevitably introduces hierarchy into the matrix, which is problematic because the whole point of a matrixed system is to avoid hierarchy and siloed decision-making. In practice, it’s better to start with two straight reporting lines and use the other design elements to tune the matrix to achieve the right balance.
- What: Roles and Incentives. A lack of clarity in roles and misaligned incentives can contribute to confusion and dysfunction. In well-designed matrix organizations, roles and decision-making authorities for the matrixed leaders are clearly defined. It is also essential to specify business dimension leaders’ roles and incentives (performance metrics and rewards) so that they are in tension but encourage collaboration.
- How: Processes and Operating Principles. Establishing processes and operating principles to support a well-functioning matrix is essential. Without them, the avoidable tensions in the matrix strain relationships and cause additional work for already busy leaders. Open communication among the matrixed and business dimension leaders is critical in solving immediate issues and benefits the wider business.
- Who: Leadership Mindsets and Skills. Finally, business dimension leaders and matrixed leaders must have the right mindsets and skills to thrive in a collaborative, dynamic structure. Specifically, leaders must embrace what the authors refer to as a matrix state of mind that (1) leverages influence rather than authority as the primary way to get things done, (2) embraces ambiguity and complexity, (3) proactively manages the built-in tensions, and (4) is adaptive and resilient in dealing with uncertain and rapidly shifting environments.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Far less advice is available about what it takes to make Matrix Organization really work.
- The heart of a matrix organization is a reporting structure in which matrixed leaders have two or more upward reporting lines to business dimension leaders.
- There are four elements that make up a well-functioning matrix model: where people report, what roles they should play, how the matrix works, and who gets placed in leadership positions. Weaknesses in any of the four elements can create dysfunction and imbalance in the matrix.
Topics: Teams, Matrix Organization Structure, Organizational Design
Make the Most of Your One-on-One Meetings
By Steven G. Rogelberg | Harvard Business Review Magazine | November–December 2022
Few organizations provide strong guidance or training for managers about when and how to meet individually with their employees. But managers who don’t invest in such conversations—who view them as a burden, hold them too infrequently, or manage them poorly—risk leaving their team members disconnected, both functionally and emotionally. The best managers recognize that 1:1s are not an add-on to their role—they are foundational to it. Those who fully embrace these meetings as the place where leadership happens can make their teams’ day-to-day output better and more efficient, build trust and psychological safety, and improve employees’ experiences, motivation, and engagement. The managers thrive in turn, because their success is tied to the performance of those reporting to them. Although no one-size-fits-all approach exists, there are some useful guidelines for managers.
Before the Meetings. Setting up your 1:1s should entail more than dropping invites onto your team members’ calendars. You should lay the groundwork for your conversations and plan the logistics to best fit each report’s unique needs. Communicate the initiative or your reboot of the initiative. Also stress that these conversations are not meant to signal dissatisfaction with your team’s work and are not about micromanaging; rather, they are opportunities for you and each member to get to know each other better, learn about challenges, and discuss careers, and for you to give help when it’s needed. Determine cadence. This could be once a week with each member of your team, once in two week or hybrid. For setting a location, talk to your team members in advance to gauge where they feel most comfortable. Create an agenda with mutual collaboration, if your direct reports also want to discsuss.
At the Meetings. Once you’ve prepared for a meeting, a fruitful discussion will depend on your ability to create a setting in which your employee feels comfortable. A valuable 1:1 addresses both the practical needs and the personal needs—to feel respected, heard, valued, trusted, and included—of the employee. To ensure that a meeting does so: Set the tone. First, be present. Turn off email alerts, put your phone away, and silence text notifications. Remind yourself as the meeting begins that it is fundamentally about your employee’s needs, performance, and engagement. Start out with energy and optimism. Listen more than you talk. Add your perspective where required. Be flexible. And end well. Clarify takeaways and action items for both parties, including how you will support the next steps. Finally, show gratitude and appreciation for your direct report’s time—and start and stop on schedule to demonstrate those feelings.
2 key takeaways from the article
- Few organizations provide strong guidance or training for managers about when and how to meet individually with their employees.
- Although no one-size-fits-all approach exists, there are some useful guidelines for managers. Most important is that the manager should consider the meeting a focused space for the direct report and make that explicit. The meeting should be dominated by topics relating to the needs, concerns, and hopes of the employee, who should take an active role in presenting them. As the manager, your responsibilities are to ensure that the meetings occur, actively facilitate them, encourage genuine conversation, ask good questions, offer support, and help each team member get what’s needed for optimal short-term performance and long-term growth.
Topics: Meetings, Personal Development, Negotiations
6 Ways To Land A TEDx Talk
By Henry DeVries | Forbes Magazine | November 30, 2022
Is a TEDx talk on your bucket list? Do you want to be seen as a thought leader? Are you an agency owner, business coach, consultant, solopreneur, author or just someone who wants to promote your company, cause or career? “If so, then land and leverage a TEDx talk,” says professional speaker, author and TEDx talk coach Frank King. How does King know that landing and leveraging a TEDx can help you do all those things? He has given eight TEDx talks. The only other person on the planet who has done eight TED events is Bill Gates.
According to King, the good news is landing a TEDx talk is relatively simple. “The bad news, it’s not necessarily easy,” says King. Reportedly, the average TEDx event gets 100-300 applications, per event, per year. King says members of the curation team (they decide which applicants audition), given that they are wading through hundreds of applications, are not looking for a reason to give you an audition, they are probably looking for the first reason to throw you into the No pile.
King shared his top six tips to avoid that dreaded No pile:
- Make title and subtitle as creative as possible.
- One idea. King advises: “Give them one idea worth spreading, and only one.”
- Be brief. “Describe your idea briefly; they want a short summary, not a thesis,” says King.
- Obey their rules. “If they ask for a 240-character description, or a 90-second video, don’t give them 241 characters, or a 91 second video,” adds King.
- Persistence pays. “There are 1,400-ish TEDx events worldwide,” says King. “Be persistent. Apply early, often, and everywhere.”
- Get coaching. “Pick the best TEDx coach you can find,” says King.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Is a TEDx talk on your bucket list? Do you want to be seen as a thought leader? Are you an agency owner, business coach, consultant, solopreneur, author or just someone who wants to promote your company, cause or career? “If so, then land and leverage a TEDx talk,” says professional speaker, author and TEDx talk coach Frank King.
- Frank King has given eight TEDx talks. The only other person on the planet who has done eight TED events is Bill Gates.
- King’s top six tips for this are: make title and subtitle as creative as possible, give one idea, be brief, obey their rules, persistence pays, and get coaching.
Topics: Strategy, Leadership, Communication
5 Timeless Principles of Entrepreneurial Success
By Entrepreneurs’ Organization | Inc Magazine | November 17, 2022
Erick Slabaugh, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Seattle and former member of EO’s Global Board of Directors, is a serial entrepreneur, board member and advisor. The magazine asked Erick what principles helped guide his long-term success. The process, combined with learnings compounded over time, helped him realize five key business principles that stand the test of time.
Slow and Steady Wins. Eric has met thousands of remarkable entrepreneurs over the years. Aside from passion, most have one trait in common: a relentless desire to accelerate. It sometimes feels as if every entrepreneur is exploding with overnight growth, making headlines at every turn. We forget that Walmart’s overnight success came after more than 20 years of slow growth, or Amazon’s amazing profits came after nearly a decade of astounding losses and correlating investment. The reality is less newsworthy and much less flashy, yet impressive: the majority of business successes take years of consistent behind-the-scenes hard work to get where they want to be.
Small Details Matter. Often little actions not taken lead to significant issues. Small details postponed can lead to catastrophe. It could be as mundane as filing paperwork correctly or as crucial as sending a thank-you note to a client. We may not see the immediate impact, but over time, details make a big difference. They speak to our commitment to quality, integrity and seeing things through- in full, and in earnest. Small things build trust and credibility over time.
Build Solid, Efficient, Scalable Systems. Build efficient systems–but first take a step back, so that you understand the problem from every angle before you start building a solution. Frequently, significant increases in capacity for the future require only minor increases in investment at the beginning of a project, but are cost prohibitive years later. Systems that can’t scale with a business lead to wasted time, money, and effort. And they are often the difference between success and failure.
Perspective Speaks Volumes. Perspective shapes our actions and decisions. It determines how we see ourselves as individuals, the work we are doing and the people we impact in the process. Keep the big picture in mind, but frame that picture around the impact you make on the world. Small details, frustrations and difficult moments will suddenly be worth living through. The high moments will feel much sweeter, too.
Do You Want to Go Fast or Go Far? Success seldom happens in isolation. It is always the result of teamwork and collaboration. A key principle that never goes out of trend: Always seek ways to partner with others and create synergies. You will achieve more than you ever could working alone.
3 key takeaways from the article
- Erick Slabaugh, an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Seattle and former member of EO’s Global Board of Directors, is a serial entrepreneur, board member and advisor. The magazine asked Erick what principles helped guide his long-term success.
- The process, combined with learnings compounded over time, helped him realize five key business principles that stand the test of time: slow and steady Wins, Small Details Matter, Build Solid, Efficient, Scalable Systems, Perspective Speaks Volumes, and seek ways to partner with others.
Listen to the Extractive Summary of the Article
Topics: Entrepreneurship, Startups, Success
Two Stanford Professors Explain How to Produce Hundreds of World-Changing Ideas In 1 Hour
By Jeremy Utley and Perry Klebahn | Entrepreneur Magazine | November 22, 2022
So what sets world-class innovators apart from everyone else? In Simonton’s research, and in author’s own experience, the answer is the same: volume. Innovative people routinely generate many more possibilities than average. How much more is “enough”? How many ideas does it actually take to arrive at a great one? In our experience, the answer is something on the order of 2,000. Yes, that’s a two with three zeros after it — 2,000-to-1. We call this the Idea Ratio. To be clear, we’re not telling you to go into a room and think up two thousand ideas on the spot. Creativity is iterative. When we suggest a ratio of 2,000 possibilities to 1 delivered solution, we’re counting every combination, variation, and refinement along the entire innovation pipeline. Is there something magical about the number 2,000? Not necessarily. In some industries, it’s even higher.
How is volume like this even possible? Process. A robust innovation process explains why companies like Apple, Pixar, and, yes, Taco Bell remain consistent even as very talented employees come and go. Meanwhile, other companies struggle to deliver wins regularly even as they invest in hiring and retaining top talent. Process makes the Idea Ratio not just possible but sustainable.
With practice and experimentation, you’ll arrive at an Idea Ratio that works best for your context. In the interim, begin by generating ideas for much longer than you usually do. As you test and validate those ideas, you will quickly learn that any idea is just a starting point, a spark. Some ideas that sound completely feasible fall flat in the real world. Others appear wildly impractical, even silly. Then you try them and discover that a few tweaks are enough to make them work.
How do we bridge the gap between what people think they need and the scale of output that drives world-class results? For one thing, it would help to use all the time available. In their work at Stanford, the authors have found that even professional creatives tend to stop generating ideas before the allotted time. So how can you make the most of your brainstorm session? Here are a couple factors to keep an eye on: pressure, the creative cliff, anchoring bias, the Einstellung effect.
If we’re going to bring a group together to tackle a problem, we want to walk away with the greatest possible volume and variety of ideas in return for the investment of time and energy. The output of a brainstorming session should reflect the full range of experiences, backgrounds, and thinking styles in the room. The following guidelines have proven effective with organizations of every size and across industries: assemble the right mix, gather initial suggestions, tet everyone in the right mindset with warm-ups, choose a facilitator, set the pace, capture, marinate, and reassemble.
With this simple and systematic method, one hour will accomplish more than you ever thought possible. You won’t get to 2,000 ideas, but you will generate dozens or even hundreds to start with.
3 key takeaways from the article
- So what sets world-class innovators apart from everyone else? In Simonton’s research, and in author’s own experience, the answer is the same: volume. Innovative people routinely generate many more possibilities than average.
- How do we bridge the gap between what people think they need and the scale of output that drives world-class results? Couple of biassesness need to keep an eye on: pressure, the creative cliff, anchoring bias, and the Einstellung effect.
- Guidelines for idea generation are: assemble the right mix, gather initial suggestions, tet everyone in the right mindset with warm-ups, choose a facilitator, set the pace, capture, marinate, and reassemble.
Topics: Creativity, Ideas, Decision-making, Entrepreneurship