Startup founders and angel investors are invited to a free webinar on the kinds of metrics they need to navigate their roles in the entrepreneurial ecosystem. Ron King, the Myron Northrup Professor of Accounting at Olin, will introduce the latest research on metrics and why standard measurements for established companies are very different than those needed for a startup.
“A startup company is not just a small version of a large company,” says King. “In this webinar, we will provide a framework for thinking about the metrics that startup founders need to manage and the metrics investors need to evaluate startups. It’s important to understand how these metrics relate and which of them may be more valuable in guiding your decision making.”
King has been on both sides of the startup equation as an investor and an entrepreneur and brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to this webinar. “Founders generally use metrics for their internal decision making: how do they design their marketing, their product, their target market, to scale their business,” King explains. “On the other hand, an angel generally thinks about valuing companies by using metrics that are more appropriate for established business. So the intersection between an angel’s interest in data and the founder’s interest in data for their internal decision-making are really quite distinct.”
This webinar is targeted to practitioners. King recommends that participants bring their inquisitive nature to the webinar. “All you need to benefit from this webinar I think is the natural curiosity about a very complicated problem. The problem is how do we efficiently an effective go from an idea to a business model that has recurring revenue.“
“There’s this myth out there that women aren’t as good negotiators as men,” says Hillary Anger Elfenbein. “And I want to try to shatter that myth.”
Elfenbein, The John and Ellen Wallace Distinguished Professor of Organizational Behavior, shatters that myth on a regular basis in the Olin courses she teaches on negotiation. On October 18, she will share highlights from her research on gender differences in negotiation and how women can confidently approach the process in a free webinar, “Women at the Negotiation Table,” sponsored by Olin’s Executive MBA program.
“There are differences in the way women approach negotiations versus men and there are often differences in outcomes, but these differences can be overcome, especially with a few very simple changes in frame of reference that are easy to accomplish without necessarily changing one’s overall personality,” explains Elfenbein.
Elfenbein also advocates for a broader definition of negotiation. It’s much more than haggling over the price of a new car or a promotion, or a new job’s salary. While those are extremely important negotiations, Elfenbein says it’s helpful to recognize that we are actually negotiating all the time, and can improve our techniques on a daily basis.
“The most accepted scholarly definition of negotiation is that it’s a mutual decision-making process to allocate scarce resources. And if you take that definition seriously enough, we’re negotiating constantly. This definition is as true for who does the dishes and who stays late on the weekends. Who has to come in to the office, what roles are you going to take, how are you dividing labor in your team. All of those things are a negotiation, just as much as the price of a car.”
Research shows that men and women may end up with similar outcomes in a negotiation, but they often get there in different ways. In very broad generalities, women are more apt to find trade-offs and compatibilities in the process, while men tend to engage in more assertive haggling. Elfenbein says these kinds of stereotypes can create psychological obstacles for women.
“If you survey people after a negotiation, and ask people to self-report their scores, women will, by and large, self-report that they did worse. That feeling matters, because even though you might say, ‘It’s all in your head,’ well, a lot of things are in our heads, and that makes them real, that makes them consequential. If you go through life feeling like you’re not good at something, you’re going to avoid doing it. And if you don’t enter a negotiation, then you’re not going to be able to advocate for your needs.”
In her Olin courses and the upcoming webinar, Elfenbein shares ways for women to shift their frame of reference and attitude when approaching negotiation. It takes practice, but they can be changed and make a difference in how to negotiate with confidence and success.
“The kinds of techniques that you learn in the negotiations workshop are as applicable outside of work as they are at work. I like to think that the tools that we that we teach here are useful and adaptable to negotiations of all types.”
Hillary Anger Elfenbein has been a business school professor at the Olin School of Washington University in St. Louis since 2008. She holds a PhD in Organizational Behavior, a Master’s degree in Statistics, and undergraduate degrees in Physics and Sanskrit, all from Harvard University.
Examples of Dr. Elfenbein’s research on negotiation:
Elfenbein, H. A., Curhan, J. R., Eisenkraft, N., Shirako, A., & Baccaro, L. (2008). Are some negotiators better than others? Individual differences in bargaining outcomes. Journal of Research in Personality, 42, 1463–1475.
Curhan, J. R., Elfenbein, H. A., & Kilduff, G. J. (2009). Getting off on the right foot: Subjective value versus economic value in predicting longitudinal job outcomes from job offer negotiations. Journal of Applied Psychology, 94, 524-534.
Curhan, J. R., Elfenbein, H. A., & Eisenkraft, N. (2010). The objective value of subjective value: A multi-round negotiation study. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 40, 690-709.
One of the most-explored and desired processes of today’s global business marketplace is innovation. In this highly digitized age, where entrepreneurship and start-up ideas are encouraged and often fostered, traditional organizational hierarchies can be brushed to the side. The power of a game-changing idea has the ability to transcend this traditional structure, leaving room for equal places of contribution to the table.
The most recent broadcast of the Executive MBA program’s “Live from Olin Business School” webinar series challenged the common notion that a leader should not be involved in the innovation process. Stuart Bunderson, Associate Dean & Director of Executive Programs, the George & Carol Bauer Professor of Organizational Ethics & Governance and Co-Director of the Bauer Leadership Center, presented the webinar. In “Leading Innovation without Getting in the Way,” Bunderson broke down just why innovation does not work effectively without the involvement of a strong leader.
By citing the famous example of the 1999 IDEO shopping cart video, in which an IDEO team redesigned the standard shopping cart in just five days, Bunderson showed how innovation is a process buffeted by the contribution of members from each level of a hierarchical system. IDEO, a Palo-Alto, California based invention company, had not formally defined hierarchy of its shopping cart team. Team members were encouraged to contribute ideas equally in the short five-day due date.
Buoyed by this timeline, key members of the team did help drive the process forward, each with a specific role to play. Narrowing down the best idea meant that contributions from the group facilitator, company founder and more experienced members led the team to a revolutionary approach to the shopping cart.
Bunderson emphasized that a social hierarchy helps innovation. Hierarchy is a natural occurrence because of differences in expertise, education, and other characteristics within groups of people. It contributes to the function of groups, most particularly where there is a problem that needs to be solved in a specific amount of time, such as the IDEO shopping cart proposal. These types of “problem parameters” encourage creativity, because time and resource restraints often can produce the most skilled outputs from group members.
Because of this organizational behavior, leadership develops. Leaders become moderators of sorts, making sure that voices are heard and the ideas of team members are not drowned out. This is not for the leader’s professional benefit, but for the guidance of the team and its product output. If there are disagreements, a group can be sidetracked from its goal and its organizational structure. A leader, produced from a social hierarchical system, will settle these disagreements and achieve coordination. In other words, keeping the eyes on the prize – a group or organization requires leadership to encourage direction over conflict, move things forward and foster innovation.
The ancient quote from Lao Tzu, from the Tao Te Ching, best sums up what Bunderson conveyed in his research findings:
“A leader is best when people barely know he [or she] exists, when his [or her] work is done, his [or her] aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves.”
Please visit www.olin.wustl.edu/EMBAevents to register for the next “Live from Olin Business School” event and to learn more about the Executive MBA program.
Have you ever had an idea for a business nag at you? Something that you think your community needs or possibly wants? Each month, 543,000 new businesses are started, and even more than that close.*
While there is no guarantee that a business will see the successful side of that statistic, Ron King, PhD, Myron Northrop professor of accounting at Olin, shared some helpful tips on how to set yourself up for success. On Wednesday, May 6, Ron presented Business Plans: Do I Need One? in the webinar series, “Live from Olin Business School.”
Pictured above is Ron King in action delivering his live webinar presentation.
Ron zeroed in on the importance of business plans for the health and longevity of a businesses. As an angel investor, he has seen the life cycle of many businesses. He is currently a board member of Wine Tasting Network, Johnna Marie, and Yurbuds, and he is a consultant for several business start-ups.
Ron noted that business plans are difficult to create which keeps some opportunities from coming to fruition. The importance of creating a business plan is to identify potential hurdles in order to anticipate them ahead of time.