C-Suite Insights 22nd September 2021

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How entrepreneurs solve the big fish vs. big pond dilemma




Collaboration with a partner is not strictly a two-way affair; instead, prospective partners take the entire competitive landscape into account when forming ties.


When striking a partnership, is it better to be a big fish in a small pond, or a small fish in a big pond?


In fact, we all face the big fish/big pond dilemma more often than we realise. When we take a job in a famous company, we accept the idea that we are (in all likelihood) going to be just one of the many very smart people working there. Standing out may prove difficult. Conversely, if we choose to work for a new start-up, we may rise rapidly, but our opportunity to shine outside the firm (through speaking engagements or media requests, for instance) may remain limited.


Any sort of collaboration entails a trade-off between our status, the status of the partners we have in mind, and the status of the other people interested in partnering with them. The process is a lot more dynamic than it seems.


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The two sides of envy at work




Professional envy can have positive and negative repercussions. Workplaces where managers make a point of comparisons - posting leader boards or naming employees of the month - provide fertile ground for cultivating envy. This can foster environments where people act dishonestly and undermine, belittle or freeze out their colleagues, or even sabotage their work. Envy at work can damage productivity, creativity, teamwork and cooperation.


But envy can, on the flip side, inspire people to work towards self-improvement and set higher goals. What makes the difference? New research shows how organisations can manage it and channel its impacts in positive ways.


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Things your corporate culture needs to get right


MIT Sloan Management Review


What distinguishes a good corporate culture from a bad one in the eyes of employees? This is a trickier question than it might appear at first glance. Most leaders agree in principle that culture matters but have widely divergent views about which elements of culture are most important.


Most often, an organisation’s official core values signal top executives’ cultural aspirations, rather than reflecting the elements of corporate culture that matter most to employees.


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