Small Business

Detective story

Every workplace has its strains. But managing in a truly high-stress environment presents unique challenges. If you’re looking for guidance from beyond the world of business, look no further than David Simon’s remarkable book, Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets.

Before he became famous for his work in television, Simon was a reporter at the Baltimore Sun who spent 1988 embedded with a group of police detectives battling an epidemic of murder. Homicide is Simon’s account of those 12 eventful months. The book led to a much-admired TV series, also called Homicide, which in turn led to The Wire, a program considered by some to be among the best ever made. Barack Obama, while president, rated The Wire “one of the greatest — not just television shows, but — pieces of art in the last couple of decades.”

You may be similarly impressed as you make

Empowerment will be at the heart of the new healthcare experience

Healthcare is never one-size-fits-all, and COVID-19 has brought this fact into sharp relief. A 65-year-old diabetic woman, a healthy 40-year-old man, a pregnant woman, and an elementary school student all take on a different level of personal risk every time they step outside. Each individual handles the mental toll of this prolonged pandemic differently, too. And those who live alone struggle with their health needs in different ways than those who live with others and in multigenerational households.

But some common needs unite all types of patients, no matter the circumstances. Everyone needs access to timely, accurate information and a better understanding of the care options they have. Everyone needs a safe, easy way to see doctors and monitor chronic conditions. People need greater control over their own care. They need to be able to take responsibility for the management of their health and well-being. And everyone — including care

When molehills are worse than mountains

Service industry missteps are inevitable, but not all are created equal. For example, if an airline loses a passenger’s luggage or denies a passenger a seat on an overbooked flight, it’s a serious enough problem that the passenger will probably complain, allowing management to apologize or issue a refund. But for smaller errors — if, say, a seat doesn’t recline fully, or an outlet doesn’t work — passengers might not think it’s worth summoning a flight attendant. As a result, management never gets the chance to register the problem and enhance the airline’s reputation through exemplary customer service.

Over time, the authors of a new study suggest, consumer frustration stemming from what they term microfailures — minor annoyances that tend not to be complained about — builds up, and it has consequences. Consumers can switch providers of services and products without giving the company a chance to redress their grievances,

How to be a great sponsor

As a senior leader, you have been asked to be a sponsor for a high-potential employee your company is seeking to develop and retain as part of its diversity-and-inclusion efforts. You agree, because you believe retaining underrepresented talent is important. And you are always willing to help young talent succeed, anyway; it’s the fun part of your job. You probably already sponsor a few people, but being assigned someone to sponsor is different. You may know the employee’s reputation, but you don’t know anything regarding his or her real strengths and limitations or ambitions.

Let’s say the sponsored employee is two levels below you. She reports to one of your peers in another area of the business. At your first meeting, she’d asked about the company’s China strategy, which is your area of expertise, and then about how she should deal with a direct report who isn’t pulling his weight

Riding out the wave of disruption

In an era when the pace of technological disruption is rapidly transforming industries — think of streaming services challenging cable, ride-sharing apps versus taxicabs, or electric versus hybrid cars — both incumbents and new entrants must predict how consumers will respond to innovative offerings. Most predictive models, however, fail to account for the reality that the market doesn’t change overnight.

For example, for some time after DVD players hit the market, the decline in VCRs’ market penetration was relatively minor; many customers held on to both technologies before fully committing to DVD players. A variation on this pattern may happen with hybrid and electric cars, even as all-electric Tesla has overtaken hybrid pioneer Toyota in stock market value.

The authors of a recently published study set out to provide a more realistic picture of technological disruption by constructing a model that takes into account the rate at which consumers disengage

How Sage Group is supporting resilience in small and medium-sized businesses

In September 2020, Steve Hare, chief executive of Sage Group, became Glassdoor’s highest-rated CEO in the U.K. during the COVID-19 pandemic. The workplace review site cited the level of communication and employee engagement Hare and his management team maintained during the crisis. “It is the key for all of us, including me personally, to make sure that we’re all keeping connected,” Hare said recently.

This focus on connection also holds true for Sage Group’s relationships with its customers, the small and medium-sized businesses that buy or subscribe to its accounting and back-office management software, including systems for payroll, HR, and payments. At the start of the crisis, Sage began offering short-term payment holidays to help clients as they