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 why strategic change is all in the timing, how to make your company more innovative, Amazon as a conglomerate, the rise of machines and the evolution of industrial work, is big data doing more harm than good, why men call forceful women ‘hysterical’ and try to silence them, what women leaders have in common, and how to thrive in an automated workplace.
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
“CEOs and senior executives can employ proven techniques to create top-team performance.”
“Large organisations have many different heartbeats, and change managers need to listen to them all.”
“You are right to be wary of initiating a slew of innovation activity. It could very well be a giant waste of money, time, and energy. But you are also right to recognize the importance of innovation. It is the lifeblood of all companies. Without it, they get stuck in a zero-sum game, in which their gain can only be another’s loss. Fortunately, it is possible for big companies to be more innovative, if they instill three essential behaviors.”
Book Suggestion Team of Teams by Stanley McChrystal
Industries and Analysis
“CCTV, thermal-imaging cameras, EEG caps and other kit boost sales.”
“As young farmers in the state struggle to break into the industry, Minnesota introduces a first-of-its-kind law to lend a hand.”
“If there is any lesson from the last breed of industrial conglomerates, it is that there is a natural life cycle to most of them. The model begins like this: A company that is successful in one area turns itself into a conglomerate by using its free cash flow to finance the development or acquisition of businesses in other areas — at first, ones that are similar to their current business, and later often ones that are farther afield. And then the company does this again and again. When such an economic machine works, it works extraordinarily well. But when any one of the major levers in the machine breaks or even stalls, the entire enterprise comes under pressure. Shareholders start complaining that the sum of the parts would be worth more separately than together.”
Book Suggestion: Too Big to Fail by Andrew Ross Sorkin
Innovation and Technology
“The real world of manufacturing is full of situations that have little structure, predictability or definition. That’s a key reason skilled employees will continue to play a vital role in the operation of highly automated factories.”
“How the spread of computerized gizmos is shifting business models big and small.”
“Of course, the systems we rely on every day are not formal logical systems. They’re far more vulnerable. From flaws in the design of their hardware and software, to errors in how data is collected, analyzed and used to make decisions, real-world technologies are riddled with weaknesses.”
Women and the Workplace
“In a society that worships youth, older workers are often unfairly overlooked. But as we live longer, it’s time for recruiters and employers to think again.”
“But despite the vastly different cultural and political contexts that these women arose in—and the roughly 20 other female heads-of-state around the world—is there something deeper that they share? Answering that question could reveal not the fundamental, essential nature of female leadership, but how women in leadership are perceived around the world, and perhaps more importantly, the obstacles women continue to face in their quest for equal representation.”
From Kathy Caprino: Gender Bias At Work — Why Men Call Forceful Women ‘Hysterical’ And Try To Silence Them
“As one who coaches and trains hundreds of mid- to senior-level professional women every year, I can assure you that this is not an isolated experience – it’s a widespread global phenomenon. In my own professional life, I was hired at the level of vice president in a male-dominated organization, and I experienced being demeaned and negatively punished for being forceful and firm. In fact, throughout my 18 years in corporate life, there were numerous experiences of this. I’d been called a ‘buzz saw’ for getting things done expeditiously, a ‘bitch’ for being forceful, and other choice (negative) words for assertive behavior that was applauded and even rewarded in my male colleagues.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“A Stanford GSB expert shows how companies and employees benefit from workplace flexibility.”
“How can we increase people’s acceptance of and positive responses to the performance evaluation process? – if you deal with employees’ performance reviews in your professional practice, you have probably faced this question. Performance reviews (also known as performance appraisals or evaluations) are an integral part of HR systems in most company. They are essential for career development and for administrative purposes such as employees’ training plan design or making decisions about pay rises. At the same time, people often dread this practice and respond badly to it. In some instances, evaluation can even do more harm than good, especially when employees play only a passive part in the process.”
“To learn more, Fortune asked six humans—three executives, a researcher, an economist, and a futurist—how automation will impact society. Here’s what they said.”
Book Suggestion: Humans are Underrated by Geoff Colvin
Posts by Wally Bock
Check for understanding then check to make sure it turns into performance. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
Two rules for telling team members what to do, based on what happened at the Battle of Gettysburg.
The 4 Disciplines of Execution gives you a system that can help you improve your performance. I give the book five stars.
Great business books are built on great research. Great reputations and careers are built on great business books.
Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Andy Jassy, Roxanne Chihos, Mark Vergnano, Kevin Murphy, and John Betz.
Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Kate Nasser, Steve Keating, Kevin Eikenberry, and Karin Hurt.
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.