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The best business resources are right here: read our guide to the best app, gadget, mindset, book and podcast for this month.
Whether it’s a real-world-in-business podcast from the revered Harvard University or an unexpectedly handy app that forecasts weather hour-by-hour, a gadget that takes videoconferencing to a much higher professional level or a book that prompts leaders to blast away bureaucracy, these are the best business resources for right now.
There was a rush on these early in 2020 when people saw themselves during Zoom business meetings. Most modern laptops and desktops come with an integrated camera but if videoconferencing is a regular feature of your working week, you might consider the image-enhancing benefits of a webcam. With 1080p video, autofocus and automatic light correction, the Logitech C920 provides a cleaner picture than any in-built camera and better sound quality than many of its competitors.
Harvard Business Review teases out research and new ideas about business and leadership. Two of the magazine’s senior editors, Alison Beard and Curt Nickisch, host its weekly podcast, interviewing consultants, academics and business authors who’ve lots of wisdom to offer startup leaders and small business owners. Notable episodes have covered how to succeed if you’re an entrepreneur living far from Silicon Valley and questioned whether “work/life balance” is actually worth striving for.
While the desk-bound might question the business value of a weather app, whitegoods retailers have been known to factor sunshine into weekend profit projections. Local farmers and photographers swear to the accuracy of this Norwegian weather app and website, which offer both long-term and hour-by-hour breakdowns on what to expect from rain, the temperature and winds.
Transmitted by the Norwegian Meteorological Institute, the service attracts up to 11 million users weekly and covers 13 million geographical areas globally, including some surprising small Australian towns.
It doesn’t always feel like it but Monopoly is a “finite game”, with a clear end point alongside fixed rules and known players. Business is also a game, writes Simon Sinek, but an “infinite” one where players and rules change and there is no set end. The motivational speaker used the term “infinite mindset” in his 2019 book The Infinite Game and, as business conditions fluctuate in 2020, there’s renewed interest in a concept that favours company longevity over other markers of commercial success. Aiming to be number one, argues Sinek, whose TED talk about purpose has been viewed more than 50 million times, is a losing strategy. Instead, he argues, “the goal is to outlast”.
Subtitled Creating Organizations as Amazing as the People Inside Them, this book targets leaders of big companies with vast workforces – executives whose dreams of agility might be hindered by the need for consistency. But there’s guidance here, too, for smaller enterprises, as London Business School professor Gary Hamel and management consultant Michele Zanini give practical, data-driven tips on how to bust out of bureaucracy to get the most from individual staff members. They also offer examples of companies doing just that, including a leading home-health company in Holland, where 10-12-person caregiving teams manage themselves.