How to Tell If a Company’s Culture Is Right for You

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Congratulations, you got the job! Now you have to decide whether to take it. You’ve done your research and know the ins and outs of the company’s public profile, but how can you assess cultural fit — and if you’d actually be happy working there? Should you reach out to former employees? Or ask to spend a day at the office?

What the Experts Say
During the interview process, you had a singular goal: to get an offer. Now that you have one, you need to assess whether the job and organization are a good fit. It isn’t necessarily a straightforward task, according to Claudio Fernández-Aráoz, a senior adviser at Egon Zehnder and the author of It’s Not the How or the What but the Who. After all, you’ve probably been in your potential new office only a handful of times and met potential colleagues when everyone was on

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The Key to Better Cybersecurity: Keep Employee Rules Simple

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It’s a common adage that employees are the weak link in corporate cybersecurity. But I believe they are also the best defense, if they are given policies that are easy to follow and not too numerous and complex. Employee security training and best practices need to be user friendly and simple to be effective.

Cyber attackers don’t need to have advanced hacking skills to break into corporate networks; they just need to know how to trick people into opening attachments and clicking on links. Phishing attacks are the cause of 90% of all data breaches and security incidents, according to the latest Verizon Data Breach Investigations Report. Clearly, employees are the main gateway into the organization for attackers. As a result, they are also the first line of defense. The Verizon report found that employee notifications are the most common way organizations discover cyberattacks. So arming these

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CEOs Should Leave Strategy to Their Team — and Save Their Focus for Execution

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The common perception is that strategy is done at the top of the org chart, and execution is done below. It is exactly the opposite – let me explain why.

First, I should explain that I have always hated the use of the term “execution.” Its common definition is fundamentally unhelpful, and contributes to what executives often call “the strategy-execution gap.”

Usually when businesspeople talk about “strategy” and “execution,” the former is the act of making choices and the latter the act of obeying them. My quibble with this characterization is that the things that happen in the activity called “strategy” and the activity called “execution” are identical: people are making choices about what to do and what not to do. In my 36 years of working with companies, I still haven’t seen an example of a strategy that was so tightly specified that the people

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What to Do If Your Boss Gets Distracted by Every New Thing

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No matter what the strategic plan says, many of us are more attracted to something new that’s glittering on the horizon than we are to the goals that have languished on our to-do list for months. This weakness is as true for senior leaders as it is for the rank-and-file, but when a CEO or other senior executive is known for chasing shiny objects, a lot of people and projects can suffer.

When senior leaders suddenly get excited about a new idea or initiative, subordinates often worry: “Do I need to add this to my priorities? Will I still need to deliver on all my other goals too? Are there really enough resources available to get this done?” There can be high risk for employees in their leader’s fascinations: If they switch gears to run after the shiny object the leader wants right now, they

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The Avoidable Mistakes Executives Continue to Make After a Data Breach

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The past few years have taught us that companies will be breached and consumer data will be stolen. Last year was a record year for data breaches, and 2017, so far, has seen its fair share of high-profile cyberattacks. Still, top executives continue to stumble in the way they respond to an attack, magnifying and extending the damage both to their reputation and their customers.

In analyzing the top breaches over the past few years, it is clear that executives make a set of common mistakes, which is surprising given that so many companies, often led by otherwise effective leaders, fail to learn from the botched responses and mishandled situations of the companies that were breached before them.

Here are the missteps executives make time and again, and advice for avoiding these pitfalls:

Foot dragging

The longer companies wait to notify their customers, the greater the

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5 Ways the Best Companies Close the Strategy-Execution Gap

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Executives say that they lose 40% of their strategy’s potential value to breakdowns in execution. In our experience at Bain & Company, however, this strategy-to-performance gap is rarely the result of shortcomings in implementation; it is because the plans are flawed from the start.

Too many companies still follow a “Plan-then-Do” approach to strategy: The organization works tirelessly to create its best forecasts about the future market and competitive landscape. Leadership then specifies a plan that it believes will position the company to win in this predicted future. This approach may have made sense when first popularized by GE and others in the 1970s, but in today’s fast-paced world, the “cone of uncertainty” surrounding future market and competitive conditions is too great for companies to prescribe every element of a multiyear strategy. The Plan-then-Do approach is obsolete – even dangerous.

Today’s successful companies close the strategy-to-performance gap

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How to Excel at Both Strategy and Execution

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For decades, we’ve often thought of leadership profiles in unique buckets—two popular varieties were the “visionaries”, who embrace strategy and think about amazing things to do, and the “operators”, who get stuff done. We intuitively knew that there must be leaders that span these areas, but in fact, few do. According to a global survey of 700 executives across a variety of industries conducted by Strategy&, the strategy consulting division of PwC, only 8% of company leaders were said to excel at both strategy and execution.

You may think that success can be achieved by excelling at either strategy or execution individually—that great visionaries can change how we see the world, or that amazing operators can wind up outperforming competitors. But our experience and research suggests that the days of keeping strategy and execution as separate topics are ending: We need leaders that can create big promises

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