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 Netflix answer to competing with Amazon, organisation design based on science, not superstition, how to act like the leader you want to be, seven secrets of successful innovation, serious AI challenges that require our attention, four types of innovation and the problems they solve, three reasons to recruit and select more female leaders, and five workplace changes that will impact every organization.
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
“Amazon’s grand ambition was on display last week with the news that it will acquire Whole Foods for $13.7 billion dollars. The move raised the question faced first by booksellers, then the rest of retail, and now seemingly everyone: How can you compete with the retail giant?”
“Organisations, like natural organisms, experience evolution. And each new mutation – from the assembly line to the transnational corporation to today’s ‘flat’ structure involving communities and crowdsourcing – has been traditionally the subject of rigorous study by academics. I believe that both researchers and practitioners would benefit from a new approach. The time may be right for academics to play an active role in organisation design innovation – just as university laboratories have long produced breakthroughs in computer science and biotech.”
“Great leaders are great communicators. Stanford Graduate School of Business Lecturer in Management Richard Cox says using some tricks of the acting trade can make you great, too.”
For slightly different thoughts on acting like a leader, check out Herminia Ibarra’s great book, Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader.
Industries and Analysis
“The department store future will be an oxymoron unless the current model and the actual words ‘department store’ are not transformed to become uber-compelling destinations for tomorrow’s consumers. If not, they will be history.”
“By 2020, an estimated 26 billion mobile devices will be connected to the web across the world and that will have a profound impact on retailing”
“It seems like there has never been a worse time for retail. Sears looks doomed. Many other large retailers, including J.C. Penney and Macy’s are closing stores and even fashionable boutiques like BCBG Max Azria are filing for bankruptcy. CNN reports that store closings this year are already outpacing 2008, the worst year on record.”
Book Suggestion: Reengineering Retail: The Future of Selling in a Post-Digital World by Doug Stevens
Innovation and Technology
“Internal innovation is a clear hallmark of successful mid-market companies. Here are some ideas on how CEOs can boost their companies’ R&D quotient.”
“Entrepreneur and inventor Elon Musk is one of a number of world-renowned technologists and scientists who have expressed serious concerns that AI might be an existential threat to humanity, a group that includes Stephen Hawking, Ray Kurzweil and Bill Gates. But, the vast majority of AI experts do not share their fears.”
“One of the best innovation stories I’ve ever heard came to me from a senior executive at a leading tech firm. Apparently, his company had won a million-dollar contract to design a sensor that could detect pollutants at very small concentrations underwater. It was an unusually complex problem, so the firm set up a team of crack microchip designers, and they started putting their heads together.”
Book Suggestion: Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age by Greg Satell
Women and the Workplace
“In the U.S., since 1970, 26% of the growth in GDP has been directly attributable to having more women in the workforce. Hiring women has clearly been beneficial, but the benefits don’t stop with a mere headcount. Companies are in need of strong individuals in key leadership positions. Women are a huge and largely untapped resource that is often not recognized. Vik Malhotra, a senior partner at McKinsey and Co., has said, ‘For women, the corporate talent pipeline is leaky and blocked.’”
“Although their numbers are increasing, women are still far less represented in executive ranks and in business school classrooms than men. They still make less money. And they are subject to tougher standards than their male colleagues.”
“This has been the year of ‘brave’ women. And I’m getting sick and tired of women having to be so brave.”
Book Suggestion: Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead by Sheryl Sandberg
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“There used to be a joke at IBM that the company acronym stood for ‘I’m By Myself.’ The software giant was once a model for telecommuting, saving significant operational costs by allowing many employees to work from home. But IBM recently gave thousands of its remote employees an ultimatum: Return to the office or find a new job.”
“The world is changing more rapidly than ever and technology is the key enabler driving this transformation.”
“The Atlantic, The Economist, and the New York Times have all hosted conferences during the last two years exploring work’s evolution, as have consultancies PwC, Deloitte, and McKinsey; the Aspen Institute and Brookings Institution; and Citrix, Xerox, and Adobe. Software companies Slack and Box have their own, similar events on the calendar.”
Book Suggestion: The Future of Work: Attract New Talent, Build Better Leaders, and Create a Competitive Organization by Jacob Morgan
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
If it’s not specific, it’s not a good goal. This is just one of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
Goals are powerful, but they can be powerful for good or evil. Here’s the story of how I chased the wrong goal until I realized my mistake.
Pointers to posts by Michael McKinney, Mary Jo Asmus, Harold Jarche, Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, and Kevin Eikenberry.
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.