A decade ago, the U.S. Supreme Court changed the rules on how businesses could donate to political campaigns. Since then, hundreds of millions of corporate dollars have been spent on local, state, and federal elections, often without transparency. Many CEOs and boards feel this is the only way they can curry favor with policymakers. Dorothy Lund, an associate professor of law at the University of Southern California, and Leo Strine Jr., counsel at Wachtell, Lipton, Rosen, and Katz and a former Chief Justice of the Supreme Court of Delaware, say this isn't just bad for democracy. It's bad for business because it distracts companies from innovation and growth and risks serious backlash from consumers, employees, and shareholders. They suggest ways to dial back corporate political spending and improve the economy for all. They are the authors of the HBR article "Corporate Political Spending is Bad Business: How to Minimize the Risks and Focus on What Counts.”
How Companies Reckon with Past Wrongdoing
Sarah Federman, assistant professor at the University of Baltimore, studies how companies handle their historical misdeeds and what that means for employees and customers. From insurance firms that backed slave owners to railroad companies that transported victims of the Holocaust, many legacy companies can find they played a role in past transgressions. Federman makes a moral and practical argument for uncovering and addressing these misdeeds, even though there may no longer be legal repercussions. And she shares how some leaders have been transparent, apologized, and found meaningful ways to make up for their organization's difficult history. Federman wrote the HBR article “How Companies Can Address Their Historical Transgressions: Lessons from the Slave Trade and the Holocaust.”
To Get Ahead, You Need Both Ambition and Humility
We know that great leadership takes not just intelligence and drive but also the ability to get along well with and learn from others. The key, says Amer Kaissi, is to be both ambitious and humble throughout your career. He's studied how people succeed across diverse industries and offers advice of how to find a better balance between our desire to achieve and the qualities that earn more respect from colleagues. Kaissi is a professor of healthcare administration at Trinity University and the author of Humbitious: The Power of Low Ego, High Drive Leadership.
We’re Bad at Measuring Inequality—Here’s Why That Matters
Stefanie Stantcheva, economist at Harvard University, founded the Social Economics Lab to study inequality, our feelings about it, and how policies influence it. She says when we estimate how much money our colleagues make or how much taxes impact us, we are often very far off from the truth. Her research also shows that our misconceptions are often linked to political beliefs. She argues that we need to be more aware of the realities of inequality if we want to create better economic opportunities.
Best of IdeaCast: What Sets Successful People Apart
Heidi Grant, a motivational psychologist, has studied successful people and what makes them tick. In this classic episode, she and former host Sarah Green Carmichael discuss the behaviors of high achievers and how to incorporate them into your own life and work. Grant is the author of the HBR article and e-book "Nine Things Successful People Do Differently.”