Top 5 Harvard Business Review Must Reads That Will Shape the Future of Biotechnology

July 16, 2020
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The Harvard Business Review (HBR) has provided thought-provoking content since 1922. Whether business leaders are interested in optimizing their organizational structure or instituting programs to retain key employees, the HBR provides insights from experts in their fields. In order to achieve success in the emerging biotech industry, biotech leaders must be able to communicate their vision for this entirely new way of producing goods and cures. These top five HBR articles are must-reads that will shape future biotech leaders as they attain the core competencies they will require.

1.  What Makes a Leader

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In this article, psychologist Daniel Goleman discusses the difference between a leader and a great leader. While intelligence and technical ability are necessary for all leaders, great leaders display a high level of what Goleman calls “emotional intelligence.” The five factors that make up emotional intelligence - self-awareness, self-regulation, motivation, empathy, and social skill - make it possible for highly effective leaders to bring their organizations or teams to higher levels of achievement.

Goleman points out that improvement in all areas is possible, and improvement in any single area has the potential to improve overall emotional intelligence in an individual.

2.  What Makes an Effective Executive

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Over his 65-year consulting career, Peter Drucker aka “the father of management thinking,”  found that effective leaders shared the same eight practices. In this article, Drucker examines the practical applications and implications that occur when executives take the time to:

  • ask, “What needs to be done?”
  • ask, “What is right for the enterprise?”
  • develop action plans.
  • take responsibility for decisions.
  • take responsibility for communicating.
  • focus on opportunities rather than problems.
  • run productive meetings.
  • think and say “we” rather than “I.”

3.  The Authenticity Paradox

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Sooner or later we all have the feeling that the Emperor is not wearing any clothes - that we are not really all we are thought to be. This feeling of inauthenticity is most likely to occur during transitions in our careers, i.e., when we can least afford it. In this article, Dr. Herminia Ibarra, a professor and Chair of Organizational Behavior at the London Business School, discusses the meaning of authenticity, the reason leaders struggle with authenticity as they move outside of their comfort zone, and the ways they can use this feeling as the impetus to achieve personal and professional growth.

4.  Why Should Anyone Be Led by You?

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Feeling authentic is one thing, answering the question of why anyone should want to be led by you is another. Authors Robert Goffee and Gareth Jones, Europe’s leading experts on organizational culture, leadership, and change posed this question to executives at dozens of companies in Europe and the United States over a ten-year period. They report that the reply was invariably a resounding hush. While the leaders themselves may not have had the answer to this question, Goffee and Gareth identified four unexpected qualities that all inspirational leaders share. These leaders expose some vulnerability, collect and interpret soft data that helps them determine when and how to act, empathize passionately and realistically, and capitalize on what’s unique about themselves. This article provides examples and takeaways from putting these qualities in action.

5.  What Leaders Really Do

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You may intuit that management and leadership are not the same, but can you articulate the difference? Can you explain why it matters? In this article, John P. Kotter of Harvard does just that in an article that expands upon the insights gained since publication of a 1977 article by Harvard Business School Professor Abraham Zaleznik that was among the first to ask whether or not managers and leaders are different. Bottom line: Leadership is about coping with change. Kotter offers real-world examples of the differences while making the case that while both managers and leaders are essential to a business, the main task for leaders is to move the team or organization in the direction that is good for the enterprise, no matter the circumstances.

You’ll also find “explainers” and other video content on the topic of leadership on the HBR YouTube channel.

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