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Want your employees to behave on social media? Spell out the rules

In recent years, employees’ personal use of social media has become a thorny issue for companies. On one hand, people who post positively about their job or workplace can boost a brand’s reputation — an important recruiting tool in an era when “star employees” are a valuable commodity. On the other hand, posts deemed offensive by an employer or the general public can bring negative exposure to a firm, resulting in calls to boycott the company until the employee is fired — a phenomenon known as a collaborative brand attack. There’s even a slang term — “dooced” — for getting fired for posting questionable comments, pictures, or videos. The term is a reference to Heather Armstrong, an employee terminated for posting satirical stories about her job and colleagues on her parenting blog, dooce.com.

As companies feel their way through this space, a few researchers have examined social media

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To build agility, engage your organization one team at a time

For some time, the leaders I work with have known conceptually that they need greater organizational agility. They talk often about the increase in VUCA (volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity), and the capabilities required to respond. But these conversations have sometimes felt a bit abstract or theoretical. Now, in the context of the novel coronavirus and its economic, social, personal, and political reverberations, such detachment seems almost absurd. How do you lead well amid such turbulence — whether such turbulence stems from the near-term challenges of the pandemic or from the need to tackle ongoing global issues such as reworking our energy infrastructure, managing cybersecurity and privacy, and expanding opportunity for all?

Thankfully, leaders increasingly prioritize people. They recognize the need to communicate proactively and to support employees, customers, suppliers, and other stakeholders in staying healthy, productive, and engaged as the world around them changes. Yet champions of change often

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Adapting to a new world

The COVID-19 pandemic has wrought enormous personal, economic, and social damage. It has upended countless lives, and exacerbated the many disruptions afoot, laying bare the unviability of many business models. Beyond that, it has provided a new set of acute shocks to seemingly sturdy businesses and principles that have guided our thinking for decades. Wrapping our minds around what is happening is enormously difficult. Having resulted in 4.2 million known infections and 287,000 known deaths as of May 12, the new coronavirus is unpredictable and lethal, and its like hasn’t been seen in more than a century. Its effects are paradoxical. It has caused a supply shock and a demand shock. It is causing a recession of indeterminate length and severity — even as some countries are crawling their way back to recovery. It is inspiring heroic feats of public-spiritedness and charity among millions, while also providing an opportunity for

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No success without succession

Avery Bullard is a larger-than-life chief executive who’s built the Tredway Corp. into a world-class furniture company. At 56, he’s in his prime. But he has neglected to designate a successor as his second-in-command. Hours before a last-minute executive committee meeting, he’s felled by a cerebral hemorrhage.

A question now arises: Which of his lieutenants will try to fill Bullard’s massive shoes?

The answer is nearly all of them, and that’s the trouble. Today, succession planning is one of the many issues the novel coronavirus has made urgent at the highest levels of business. Someday, perhaps, there will be an app for that. Meanwhile there is a novel — an immensely readable and unjustly forgotten tale of corporate intrigue and human striving. It cries out to be revisited by every business leader.

Cameron Hawley’s Executive Suite, a bestseller when it was first published in 1952, is about what happens

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How COVID-19 is reversing economies of scale

For more than a decade, new technologies such as cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), the Internet of Things (IoT), 3D printing, and blockchain have been taking apart the large-scale industries of the 20th century and reinventing them in ways that are more lightweight, personalized, distributed, and resilient. This “unscaling” trend has been inescapable in every sector, as Silicon Valley venture capitalist Hemant Taneja and I wrote in our book on the subject, Unscaled.

Social distancing and lockdowns amid the COVID-19 crisis have taken a tremendous toll on small businesses and employees, but they’ve also shifted the unscaling trend into a higher gear — which, we can all hope, will create new opportunities as the economy rebounds. We’re already witnessing the rapid reinvention of industries such as healthcare, education, and  manufacturing, and a historical shift in the way we work.

As these unscaled realities take hold, mass markets and mass

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Staying ahead in Latin America’s turbulent oil and gas market

The Inside the Mind of the CEO interview series explores a wide range of critical decisions faced by chief executives around the world. For more insight, see PwC’s CEO Survey.

In 2015, Felipe Bayón was on a short list of candidates for the top job at Ecopetrol, Colombia’s state-owned oil and gas company, which was losing money after a collapse in oil prices. But the board named as CEO Juan Carlos Echeverry, a former finance minister, and tasked him with returning Colombia’s biggest company to profitability. One of his first moves was to hire Bayón, a veteran of BP who had recently led that company’s International Deepwater Response.

While Echeverry slashed spending and restructured the balance sheet, Bayón professionalized the company’s workforce. Under their watch, Ecopetrol lowered its costs of production by more than 30 percent, introduced new technology, and by 2017 was once again profitable. Echeverry stepped down,

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