It wouldn’t be December without a “best of” list frenzy. From the best albums to the best apps to the best ads, the end of each year draws us to revisit the things (and people) that struck a chord. The sheer number of these lists but can be a bit overwhelming, but they make sense. Given what is thrown at us every minute of every day, we undoubtedly miss all too much of the good stuff. The highlight reel lets us experience some (short-term) nostalgia, yes, but it’s also an opportunity to play catch up—and maybe even get a head start on the new year.
It certainly was for me. As I started this exercise of picking my favorite s+b blog posts from 2014, I found lessons for leaders, marketers, and innovators; analysis of the trends that shape how we live and work; introductions to new research and books that ought to be on everyone’s radar; and more. It’s a wealth of insight and information, and the posts below (in no particular order) are just some of the standouts. I hope you’ll find this list useful as you prepare to welcome 2015: Consider it a taste of what our blog has to offer.
If you’re not done reminiscing, we’re looking for the strategy that you think made the biggest splash in 2014 (2013’s was “big data strategy”). It’s s+b’s second annual Strategy of the Year: Log your vote by adding a comment to Ken Favaro’s latest post or tweeting @stratandbiz using the hashtag #strategyofyear.
Art Kleiner: Remembering Warren Bennis
A consummate humanist and pioneer of management thought leadership passed away this year.
Eric J. McNulty: The Accountability Equation
Holding people, companies, or systems responsible for their mistakes is about more than just pointing a finger at the most convenient target.
Ken Favaro: Free Your Strategy from Annual Planning
When your strategy is shackled to the annual planning process, you lose a uniquely powerful management tool.
Sally Helgesen: Why “Leadership” Isn’t Just for Leaders Anymore
Skills that were once limited to the C-suite can now be found at all levels within companies.
John Jullens: The Reverse Innovation Paradox
Business experts say a wealth of new products and ideas will flow from emerging economies to developed markets—but real-world examples are hard to find.
Susan Cramm: Lead by Doing, Not by Delegating
Leaders who pass hard problems to their subordinates create cynicism, not success.
Theodore Kinni: Reframing Sales Effectiveness
Aligning Strategy and Sales is the best sales book of the year—and one that senior executives should read.
Matt Palmquist: The Amazon Model: If You Can’t Beat ’Em, Work with ’Em
A company that collaborates with its rivals can create more business for itself.
Lisa Bodell: Free Your Innovation Culture
To foster an environment of smart risk-taking, leaders should use guardrails, not handcuffs.
For businesses that keep their promises, there are often invaluable hidden benefits.
Matt Egol and Christopher A.H. Vollmer: Apple Makes a Smart Bet on Beats
Apple is buying the electronic company’s expertise in human-centered design, not its market share.
David Lancefield: Leadership Insights from a Special Needs Parent
Raising a child with disabilities showed me what it takes to be an effective leader.
Catherine Palmieri: Competitive Narcissism: A Marketing Lesson
Getting and keeping the attention of the social media generation means making your brand all about them.