Here are choice articles on hot leadership topics culled from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms, to start off your work week. I’m pointing you to articles about leadership, strategy, industries, innovation, women and work, and work and learning now and in the future. Highlights include the value of good management, why you should burn your rule book and unlock the power of principles, three trends driving modern manufacturing innovation, creating an innovation culture, three ways to retain the women in your workforce, why women are still set up to fail in the C-suite, and how to create a positive work environment.
Be sure to look for dots that you can connect.
Note: Some links require you to register or are to publications that have some form of limited paywall.
Thinking about Leadership and Strategy
“To what extent does the quality of management matter for a business to be successful? ask Nicholas Bloom, Erik Brynjolfsson, Lucia Foster, Ron Jarmin, Megha Patnaik, Itay Saporta-Eksten and John Van Reenen”
“The producer of a thought leadership event for senior executives called me recently. She shared with a rueful chuckle that the theme for this year’s meeting was uncertainty: in economic policy, trade, healthcare, international relations…the list went on. I replied that the event would certainly tap into a larger zeitgeist — everyone is wrestling with uncertainty.”
“Most CEOs feel as if they’re in a race to change the future, and they would be correct. By nature, being a CEO is a forward-looking endeavor. In fact, this is so much the case that virtually every aspect of being a chief executive is focused on the future. But what if I told you most CEOs are looking in the wrong direction? What if the fastest path to the future is found looking backward and not forward?”
Book Suggestion: Hacking Leadership: The 11 Gaps Every Business Needs to Close and the Secrets to Closing Them Quickly by Mike Myatt
Industries and Analysis
“Leaders seek approval for broader commercial applications, so they buck the trend toward looser government oversight.”
From James Peltz: Americans still love eating out. So why are restaurants like Chili’s, BJ’s and Cheesecake Factory struggling?
“The entire sector of publicly held, mid-priced U.S. restaurant chains seems to be struggling to find its way back to growth. The brands face stagnant or slumping sales and shifts in consumers’ dining habits.”
“Imagine being able to make critical product decisions about material selection, scheduling and pricing, all in one place. That’s what a ‘smart factory’ can do for you.”
Book Suggestion: Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future by Martin Ford
Innovation and Technology
“Great minds? Yes, but there are many great minds. In case after case, innovation explodes when such people find themselves crossing paths in the right place at the right time.”
“Successful innovation is much more than a roll of the dice. Yet, many companies apparently feel lucky these days. They’re placing blind bets on innovation with huge sums of money on the line by failing to align innovation investments with business strategy.”
Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story
“Corning’s Silicon Valley technology chief shares how to stay creative over the long haul, drawing on 40 years of experience.”
Book Suggestion: The Myths of Innovation by Scott Berkun
Women and the Workplace
“It is no secret that there is a gender issue in business. Women continue to be vastly underrepresented in the workforce, especially when holding leadership positions. According to research from LeanIn.Org and McKinsey & Co. for every 100 U.S. women promoted to manager, 130 men are promoted – leaving far fewer opportunities for women to be on the path to leadership without the access and avenues for growth to accelerate their careers. As a result, only 14% of U.S. women serve on executive committees and only 3% serve as CEOs, according to research from McKinsey & Co.”
“But despite all this talk, our latest data show slim representation of women in board seats (19%), and even lower numbers in key executive positions (4% of CEO roles globally and 11% of CFO roles). Even more starkly, half of the countries (22 of 44) we examined have no female CEOs or CFOs at all.”
“You know what these are. Masculine norms are certain behaviors that boys are taught as children that are reinforced by members of the group. If you want to fit in, you’d better play by the rules! Forty years later, the ‘rules’ established on the playground transform into male cultural norms in organizations. By default, they are still the operating norms for most men in companies today.”
Thanks to Dorothy Dalton for pointing me to this post.
Book Suggestion: What Works for Women at Work: Four Patterns Working Women Need to Know by Joan C. Williams and Rachel Dempsey
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“The average person will spend over 90,000 hours of their life at work. If you’re part of the 13 per cent of Canadians who dislike their jobs, this statistic likely fills you with dread. Aside from the responsibilities that come with a job, one of the most important factors that influences employee motivation and happiness (which in turn affects productivity and efficiency) is their working environment.”
“Artificial intelligence is poised to disrupt the workplace. What will the company of the future look like—and how will people keep up?”
“After spending billions of dollars a year on corporate learning, U.S. companies probably assume that their employees have the knowledge and skills they need to carry out their jobs. The employees themselves probably think they’re prepared, too, having gone through these exercises. But according to data from industries including academia, health care, technology, manufacturing, retail, sports, and business services, people are actually ‘unconsciously incompetent’ in a typical 20% to 40% of areas critical to their performance. One global technology company my team works with, for example, discovered that, on average, its sales employees didn’t understand or know about 22% of its product features, even though they believed they did.”
Book Suggestion: The Best Place to Work: The Art and Science of Creating an Extraordinary Workplace by Ron Friedman PhD
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
From my ebook: Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time
The most important bosses in your company are not the ones at the top of the org chart.
I’d give this book 5 stars for sports fans, but only 2 stars for business readers.
When it’s time to write, you should write. Nothing else.
Articles about real leaders and real companies. This week it’s articles about Amazon, Leah Busque, Corey E. Thomas, Jim Clark, and Tim Joseph
Pointers to posts by David M. Dye, Suzi McAlpine, Kevin Eikenberry, Eric D. Brown, and Tanmay Vora.
Writing well gives you the edge in business and in life. If you want to get a book done, improve your blog posts, or make your web copy more productive, please check out my blog about business writing. My coaching calendar for authors and blog writers currently has time open. Please contact me if you’re interested.
The 347 tips in my ebook can help you Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.