HBR Must Reads 2024: Big Ideas Driving Management Trends

Discover the latest leadership trends shaping tomorrow's business landscape with insights from Harvard Business Review (HBR) Must Reads 2024.
HBR's 10 Must Reads 2024

Have you checked the HBR Must Reads 2024 already?

I had the chance to read it in the last week and have some insights to share with you today.

The world is quite accelerated, right? New tech popping up every other week, customers changing how they shop like it’s their hobby, and global issues that keep everyone on their toes – it’s enough to make any leader’s head spin.

That’s why the crew at Harvard Business Review put together their HBR Must Reads 2024 collection, full of articles on the latest trends and essential skills leaders need to navigate this crazy landscape.

This year’s edition highlights three key areas: coaching, emotional intelligence, and embracing new things (like, who knew livestream selling would be a thing?).

Forget about just picking up new fancy tricks, my friend. Leaders these days still gotta stick to the basics – navigating tough scenarios, advocating for equality and inclusion, and staying eco-conscious.

It’s like walking a tightrope, you know, juggling hurdles and chances at every turn!

The bottom line? Leaders need to be like Swiss Army knives – adaptable, resourceful, and always ready to tackle whatever problem comes their way.

They need to be problem-solvers, growth champions, and champions of both people and the planet. It’s a tall order, but with the right skills and mindset, they can lead their teams and organizations to success, even in this ever-changing world.

When we look at the top skills leaders need to do well in today’s world, it’s clear that being able to change, caring about others, and seeing what’s coming are really important.

By learning these things and keeping up with what’s new, leaders can make a positive difference and come up with new ideas in their field.

HBR’s Must Reads 2024 – The definitive management ideas of the year from Harvard Business Review include these articles:

Managers Can’t Do It All
by Diane Gherson and Lynda Gratton
  • Managers need to focus on team success rather than individual contributions.
  • Coaching is crucial for supporting and guiding team members effectively.
  • Shift focus towards making teams successful.
  • Emphasize coaching over task oversight.
What Is Web3
by Thomas Stackpole
  • Explores the evolution from Web1 to Web3 and its potential impact on businesses.
  • Stay informed about emerging technologies like Web3.
  • Clarifies the distinctions between Web1, Web2, and Web3.
  • Understand the implications of Web3 for innovation and growth.
Selling on TikTok and Taobao
by Thomas S. Robertson
  • Explores the rise of social commerce, particularly livestream commerce.
  • Consider experimenting with livestream commerce to stay competitive.
  • Provides case studies on integrating social commerce into marketing strategies.
  • Focus on key factors like influencer selection and success measurement.
Managing in the Age of Outrage
by Karthik Ramanna
  • Addresses stakeholder outrage in a polarized global environment.
  • Navigate stakeholder outrage by understanding underlying causes.
  • Proposes a framework for dealing with outrage based on various disciplines.
  • Employ a structured framework to manage outrage effectively.
The Five Stages of DEI Maturity
by Ella F. Washington
  • Describes five stages companies typically go through in advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) goals.
  • Prioritize systemic changes to advance DEI effectively.
  • Emphasizes systemic changes over individual efforts in DEI initiatives.
  • Understand the stages of DEI maturity to focus efforts strategically.
The Essential Link Between ESG Targets and Financial Performance
by Mark R. Kramer and Marc W. Pützer
  • Highlights the importance of aligning environmental, social, and governance (ESG) goals with business strategies.
  • Integrate ESG goals with business objectives for sustainable outcomes.
  • Demonstrates the impact of integrating ESG goals into core business practices on financial performance.
  • Collaborate with stakeholders and communicate ESG efforts effectively.
Make the Most of Your One-on-One Meetings
by Steven G. Rogelberg
  • Emphasizes the value of one-on-one meetings in achieving short-term performance and long-term growth goals.
  • Prioritize one-on-one meetings to support team members’ growth effectively.
  • Provides guidance on conducting effective one-on-one meetings with team members.
  • Create a conducive environment for meaningful conversations during one-on-one meetings.
Harnessing the Power of Age Diversity
by Megan W. Gerhardt, Josephine Nachemson-Ekwall, and Brandon Fogel
  • Explores the benefits of age diversity within teams.
  • Recognize and embrace the unique contributions of different generations within teams.
  • Advocates for leveraging age diversity to enhance skills, knowledge, and networks across generations.
  • Foster mutual learning and adjustment of perspectives to harness age diversity effectively.
The C-Suite Skills That Matter Most
by Raffaella Sadun, Joseph Fuller, Stephen Hansen, and PJ Neal
  • Highlights the increasing demand for leaders with strong people skills post-pandemic.
  • Emphasizes the importance of social skills like empathy and communication in leadership roles.
  • Develop leaders with advanced social skills to navigate complex environments effectively.
  • Prioritize enhancing people skills to lead successfully in challenging environments.
Your Company Needs a Space Strategy Now
by Matthew Weinzierl, Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, Tarun Khanna, Alan MacCormack, and Brendan Rosseau
  • Advocates for developing a space strategy as space becomes a valuable asset offering significant business opportunities.
  • Recognizes space-related technologies like satellite data as drivers of innovation across industries.
  • Consider developing a space strategy to leverage space-based innovations for business growth.
  • Recognize the potential value of space-related technologies in driving business opportunities.
Democratizing Transformation
by Marco Iansiti and Satya Nadella
  • Discusses the fifth stage of digital transformation focusing on enabling AI deployment at scale across organizations.
  • Emphasizes developing a core group of experts capable of working with advanced technologies.
  • Focus on democratizing transformation within organizations through broad accessibility to tools and training.
  • Invest in developing expertise in advanced technologies to drive transformative outcomes across enterprises.

We’re taking a deep dive into the wisdom shared in the 2024 edition of Harvard Business Review’s Must Reads, which provides a condensed look at the upcoming trends in leadership.

Harvard Business Review’s 10 Must Reads series is a comprehensive collection of ideas and best practices curated for both aspiring and experienced leaders.

So, let’s delve into the key ideas and lessons from each article featured in this 2024 collection?

The HBR Must Reads 2024 Main Insights for Managers

Redefining the Role of Managers and Redefining Leadership

In the article “Managers Can’t Do It All,” Diane Gherson and Lynda Gratton emphasize the evolving role of managers towards coaching performance over micromanagement.

The main lesson for leaders and managers in 2024 is to focus on developing new skills and adapting to changing environments.

The authors provide case studies from companies like Standard Chartered, IBM, and Telstra, showcasing successful managerial transformations.

The key takeaway is that managers need to prioritize making their teams successful rather than focusing solely on individual tasks, coaching performance in rapidly changing environments.

Diane Gherson and Lynda Gratton highlight the evolution of managerial duties, emphasizing coaching performance instead of micromanagement.

Navigating Web3 and Its Implications

In “What Is Web3?” Thomas Stackpole delves into the complexities of Web3, distinguishing it from its predecessors, Web1 and Web2.

The main lesson for leaders and managers in 2024 is to understand the potential impact of Web3 on businesses.

The article clarifies the differences between Web1, Web2, and Web3 while exploring the implications of Web3 for businesses.

Detailed case studies are provided to illustrate the challenges and opportunities presented by Web3.

Leaders are encouraged to stay informed about technological advancements and their potential effects on their organizations, enabling them to make informed decisions regarding investments in emerging technologies.

Adapting to the Era of Outrage

In “Managing in the Age of Outrage,” Karthik Ramanna shares a five-step framework for dealing with outrage that draws on analytical insights from disciplines as wide-ranging as the science of aggression, managerial economics, organizational behavior, and political philosophy.

The main lesson for leaders and managers in 2024 is to understand how to manage angry stakeholders.

The article provides case studies from government officials in Ottawa and the London Metropolitan Police, showcasing successful implementations of the framework.

The key takeaway is that managers need to identify the drivers of outrage and engage with stakeholders in a non-threatening space to build an understanding on which sustainable solutions rest.

Enhancing Individual and Team Performance through One-On-One Meetings

In “Make the Most of Your One-on-One Meetings,” Steven G. Rogelberg provides guidance on how to make one-on-one meetings with employees more effective.

The main lesson for leaders and managers in 2024 is to understand the importance of one-on-one meetings and how to make them more productive.

The article provides guidance on how to structure one-on-one meetings, how to prepare for them, and how to follow up afterward.

Leaders are encouraged to prioritize one-on-one meetings and use them as an opportunity to build relationships with their employees.

Leveraging Age Diversity for Competitive Advantage

In “Harnessing the Power of Age Diversity,” Megan W. Gerhardt, Josephine Nachemson-Ekwall, and Brandon Fogel explore the benefits of age diversity in the workplace.

The main lesson for leaders and managers in 2024 is to understand the potential of age diversity and how to harness it to improve organizational performance.

The article provides case studies from companies like IBM and Deloitte, showcasing successful implementations of age diversity initiatives.

The key takeaway is that age diversity can lead to improved creativity, innovation, and problem-solving, and leaders are encouraged to create a culture that values and leverages age diversity.

Shifting Focus Toward Softer Skills

In “The CSuite Skills That Matter Most,” Raffaella Sadun, Joseph Fuller, Stephen Hansen, and PJ Neal explore the skills that are most important for executives in the C-suite.

The main lesson for leaders and managers in 2024 is to understand the skills that are most important for success in the C-suite.

The article provides guidance on how to develop these skills, including strategic thinking, financial acumen, and leadership.

Leaders are encouraged to prioritize the development of these skills to improve their effectiveness in the C-suite.

Exploring Opportunities in Space

In “Your Company Needs a Space Strategy. Now.,” Matthew Weinzierl, Prithwiraj (Raj) Choudhury, Tarun Khanna, Alan MacCormack, and Brendan Rosseau explore the importance of having a space strategy for businesses.

The main lesson for leaders and managers in 2024 is to understand the potential impact of space on their business and to develop a space strategy.

The article provides case studies from companies like Airbnb and WeWork, showcasing successful implementations of space strategies.

The key takeaway is that space can have a significant impact on organizational performance, and leaders are encouraged to develop a space strategy that aligns with their business objectives.


Leaders and managers seeking to succeed in today’s dynamic environment must embrace a range of skills and knowledge areas to remain competitive and effective.

Based on the analysis of recent thought leadership from Harvard Business Review, the following competencies emerge as crucial for future-proof leadership:

  1. Coaching and mentoring: Helping employees grow professionally and personally to improve overall performance.
  2. Emotional intelligence: Recognizing emotions in self and others, and responding appropriately to promote healthy interactions and outcomes.
  3. Livestream commerce integration: Leveraging social media platforms to sell products directly to consumers.
  4. Crisis management: Handling difficult situations involving stakeholder anger and conflict.
  5. DEI competence: Advancing diversity, equity, and inclusion initiatives within the organization.
  6. Environmental, social, and governance (ESG) integration: Aligning business strategy with ESG principles to enhance sustainability and financial performance.

By investing in these core competencies, leaders and managers can position themselves and their organizations for continued success amidst rapid changes and unpredictable events. 

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