Harvard Business Review

Emma Jacobs

A recent blog post in the Harvard Business Review raised the one of the most annoying and common problems of modern day office life: the “‘busy’ humble-brag”.

Everyone, just everyone, complains about how busy (or tired) they are at work. No one can even be plain busy – they are “slammed” or “buried”, writes Meredith Fineman, a publicist. Each employee, she says, is locked in a competitive battle of hyperbolic one-upmanship.

Ms Fineman’s favourite humble-brag (a brag because, of course, it also shows your importance) was “that of a potential client who apologized for lack of communication due to a ‘”week-long fire drill’. What does that even mean? Does this mean there were fake fires, but not real ones, all week? Does calling it a ‘drill’ mean that everything is okay? Is your business in flames? Should I call someone?” Read more >>

Andrew Hill

Research for the latest Harvard Business Review ranking of the best-performing chief executives since 1995 – topped by Steve Jobs, as it was in 2010 – also yields some interesting new insights about whether to pick insiders or outsiders to run the company.

The study points out that, overall, insider CEOs do better, ranking on average 154 places higher than outsiders on long-term measures of total shareholder return and increase in market capitalisation. But there was little difference between the performance of insiders and outsiders in continental Europe, China and India. Read more >>

John Gapper

Ron Johnson, the former head of Apple Stores, who is now trying to revitalise J.C. Penney, the historic US department store chain, has started with a good idea – eliminating sales commissions.

The Dallas Morning News reports that J.C. Penney hourly workers at its 1,100 stores have been told that commisions are being eliminated and they will instead receive a higher hourly rate (via Business Insider). Read more >>