704: The CEO of Dick's Sporting Goods on Becoming a Gun Control Advocate
Ed Stack, the chief executive of Dick's Sporting Goods, decided after the Parkland school shooting to pull assault rifles and high-capacity magazines from all of his company’s stores. The controversial choice hurt revenues. But the retailer weathered the storm, thanks to inclusive and thoughtful decision-making, careful communication with all stakeholders, and a strategic shift to new product lines. Stack explains why he chose to take such a public stance on a hot-button social issue and how it has affected him personally and professionally. He is the author of "It's How We Play the Game: Build a Business. Take a Stand. Make a Difference."
703: Melinda Gates on Fighting for Gender Equality
Melinda Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and founder of Pivotal Ventures, is committing $1 billion over the next ten years to advance gender equality. She says evidence shows it's the best way to drive economic development in nations and performance in companies. She shares her own stories as a female executive at Microsoft, a working mother, and a nonprofit leader learning from women around the world. Gates is the author of the HBR article "Gender Equality Is Within Our Reach."
702: How Companies Like Google and Alibaba Respond to Fast-Moving Markets
Dave Ulrich, professor at the University of Michigan Ross School of Business, argues today's companies need to replace old hierarchical models with he calls a “market-oriented ecosystem.” From research at Alibaba, Google, Huawei, Supercell, and others, he shows the impressive results of orienting teams and processes toward market opportunities. Ulrich is the coauthor, along with Tencent senior advisor Arthur Yeung, of “Reinventing the Organization: How Companies Can Deliver Radically Greater Value in Fast-Changing Markets.”
701: How to Be Less Distracted at Work — and in Life
Nir Eyal, an expert on technology and psychology, says that we all need to learn to be less distracted into activities that don't help us achieve what we want to each day. Unwelcome behaviors can range from social media scrolling and bingeing on YouTube videos to chatting with colleagues or answering non-urgent emails. To break these habits, we start by recognizing that it is often our own emotions, not our devices, that distract us. We must then recognize the difference between traction (values-aligned work or leisure) and distraction (not) and make time in our schedules for more of the former. Eyal also has tips for protecting ourselves from the external distractions that do come at us and tools to force us to focus on bigger-picture goals. He is the author of the book "Indistractable: How to Control Your Attention and Choose Your Life."
700: Dematerialization and What It Means for the Economy — and Climate Change
Andrew McAfee, co-director of the MIT Initiative on the Digital Economy, explains how the U.S. economy is growing and actually using less and less stuff to do so. Thanks to new technologies, many advanced economies are reducing their use of timber, metals, fertilizer, and other resources. McAfee says this dematerialization trend is spreading to other parts of the globe. While it’s not happening fast enough to stop climate change, he believes it offers some hope for environmental protection when combined with effective public policy. McAfee is the author of the book “More from Less: The Surprising Story of How We Learned to Prosper Using Fewer Resources—and What Happens Next.”