His Barbie makeover boosted a tired brand

When Mattel hired Richard Dickson as general manager of its Barbie brand in 2008, the famous doll was in a lull. After hitting a high of $1.52 billion in ­Barbie sales in 2002, Mattel had struggled through a six-year decline. Dickson hit the ground running to put an end to "brand goulash."
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A developing trend in hiring is offering highly skilled job-changers who are about to take on a high-stress position some paid time off before it begins. Moving from one top tier job to another is a major life change, and this is time to decompress and completely leave the old gig behind while slowly bringing the new one into clearer focus.


Ask "Z"

Ask "Z"

Homework: It doesn't get any less aggravating when you grow up

Q. I’ve assigned homework to train certain people to acquire new skills. Now they’re complaining that the homework is too tedious and time-consuming. They volunteered for this training. But it seems they’re unwilling to do the work. Should I back down?

Leadership Library: Weekly Feature

Leadership Library: Weekly Feature

A Manager's Guide to the Do's and Don'ts of Discipline

Keeping employees in line isn't just a matter of what to say and how to express it. There are legal issues involved as well. Make sure you use corrective actions fairly and responsibly. Download it now.

Kevin Eikenberry

Remarkable Leadership with Kevin

On Silos and Accountability

I was at my farm recently, and I was looking at the silo you see a picture of here. Erected in 1979, it was the “Cadillac” of structures of its type. Today, the entire silo business is nonexistent. The change is a story largely of the modern dairy (and to a lesser degree hog) farm. As the farms get larger and the organizations more complex, the silo can’t play a role. As big as they are (this one, 20 feet across and 60 feet tall), they just aren’t large enough. The silo business in agriculture is all but over. In the rest of the world, however, silos are alive and well in organizations everywhere. You know what I mean. There is the sales silo, the marketing silo, the manufacturing silo, the IT silo. There is also the first shift silo, the second shift silo and much more. Do I need to go on? What can we take from this situation — “real” silos losing favor, but organizational ones alive and well? Let’s see what we can see.

Best of the Blogs

Best of the Blogs

Résumés? Cover letters? You need to go deeper

You may be hiring the wrong way, says reputation management consultant Logan Chierotti. Your best bet may not be looking at résumés or cover letters.

Program on Negotiation at Harvard Law School

Negotiation Coach

Hidden benefits of distrust

Q. I’ve heard a lot about the benefits of developing trust in negotiation and experienced some of them myself. But in my negotiations, I find myself struggling with the question of how trusting to be. Should I always aim to be as trusting as possible?

Marie McIntyre, Ph.D.

Ask the Workplace Coach

Can your reputation survive a spontaneous protest?

Q: “Our staff was recently asked to attend a 'professional development' session put on by a comedy group. The topic was supposed to be communication. Much of the material was funny, but there were also lots of crude and offensive jokes. Although our work environment is not normally like this, management did nothing to stop the inappropriate comments. Do I have the right to walk out of a meeting where people are making objectionable remarks?” Disheartened

Millennials try Burger King turnaround

Nov. 26, 2014

Daniel Schwartz, 33, is one of the youngest chief executives of a major global enterprise. A former Wall Street analyst, he brought a cost-cutting mindset to Burger King.

Give thought to retiring 'early'

Nov. 26, 2014

Many baby boomers are delaying retirement. Some need the cash, but many love their work and don’t want to let go. So why should they reconsider?

Little League ace offers leadership tips

Nov. 26, 2014

The baseball world was abuzz this summer about a new phenom, 13-year-old female Mo’Ne Davis, who pitched a shutout in August during the first round of the Little League World Series.

What it means to carry a big stick

Nov. 25, 2014

Until recently, National Hockey League goalies were overwhelmingly Canadian. Then the Finns arrived around 2000. Seemingly overnight, 5 million Finns began producing one-sixth of the NHL’s starting goalies. Their secret is Urpo Ylönen, or “Upi,” a man spoken of the same way Jedi knights speak of Yoda or Obi-Wan Kenobi.