Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 4/11/16

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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 evolving leadership in the Digital Age, how the mall is evolving, design thinking meets lean startup for the enterprise, the time-consuming activities that stall women’s careers, and work-life balance is easier when your manager knows how to assess performance.

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

From Manfred Kets de Vries: Evolving Leadership in the Digital Age

“To have executives change character will always be an uphill struggle but they can learn to improve their behavioural reactions to difficult situations and develop greater emotional intelligence that will turn them into more effective leaders.”

From Peter Tollman, Andrew Toma, Fabrice Roghé, Yves Morieux, Steve Maaseide, Eddy Tamboto, and JinK Koike: A New Approach to Organization Design

“In a time of economic turbulence, disruptive technology, globalization, and unprecedentedly fierce competition, the priority concern for many business leaders is to adapt to the changing conditions in order to boost their company’s performance. For that purpose, they frequently turn to organization design for help. By driving a thorough organizational review and redesign, company leaders can change the trajectory of their business.”

From Tom Searcy: 3 Myths About Leading Organization-Wide Transformational Change

“Your company’s ability to implement transformational change directly impacts how quickly your company can grow. The faster your company is able to change and adapt to a customer’s needs or a changing market, the more quickly your company is prepared to boost sales growth. Yet some executive leaders limit their company’s growth by accepting commonly-held myths about transformational change.”

Industries and Analysis

From Rick Barrett: Farmers struggling even as markets overflow with milk, grain, livestock

“Simply put, what many farmers are paid for milk, grain or livestock now isn’t enough to cover their expenses. They’re taking out loans and tapping savings to remain in business, going to work every day knowing that it’s costing them money.”

From Suzette Parmley: How the mall is evolving

“Traditional, supersized anchors are struggling – Sears, J.C. Penney, and Macy’s among them – and are shrinking their real estate footprint amid the onslaught of online shopping. In their spaces are smaller stores with proven track records and a niche, such as Dick’s Sporting Goods; Legoland; Round 1, which is similar to Dave & Buster’s; and trendy European fashion retailers, such as Primark.”

From the Economist: Through the mill

“There are few parts of the rich world where steel remains a good business, however. Port Talbot’s woes are indicative of a global problem—especially in places where makers of unspecialised steel face competition from cheaper producers.”

Wally’s Comment: For another look at the same industry and company, check out “How Sanjeev Gupta plans to keep British steel alive.”

Innovation and Technology

From Wharton: ‘Geography of Genius’: Can a Place Spark Creativity?

“Travel writer Eric Weiner argues that creative genius can sometimes be closely tied to place. In his new book, Geography of Genius: A Search for the World’s Most Creative Places, from Ancient Athens to Silicon Valley, he takes readers on a journey to explore the times and places that have had ‘genius clusters.’ Knowledge@Wharton recently spoke with Weiner about his book.”

From Kaan Turnali: Design Thinking Meets Lean Startup For The Enterprise

“Recently, I met with Brant Cooper, co-founder of Moves the Needle, which brings an entrepreneurial spirit to the enterprise, and New York Times bestselling author of The Lean Entrepreneur. We spoke about two of my favorite topics: Driving innovation in the enterprise and applying design thinking as an enabler of forward-thinking ideas that spur growth and profitability.”

From Lee Vinsel and Andrew Russell: Innovation is overvalued. Maintenance often matters more

“Innovation is a dominant ideology of our era, embraced in America by Silicon Valley, Wall Street, and the Washington DC political elite. As the pursuit of innovation has inspired technologists and capitalists, it has also provoked critics who suspect that the peddlers of innovation radically overvalue innovation. What happens after innovation, they argue, is more important. Maintenance and repair, the building of infrastructures, the mundane labour that goes into sustaining functioning and efficient infrastructures, simply has more impact on people’s daily lives than the vast majority of technological innovations.”

Women and the Workplace

From Rebecca Shambaugh: The Time-Consuming Activities That Stall Women’s Careers

“Does this situation sound familiar? It’s a pattern I’ve seen again and again among many high-potential, talented female leaders: high aspirations turning into disillusionment. I believe it has something to do with how women spend their time, both inside work and out of it.”

From Xiaowei Rose Luo: Are Women’s Leadership Assumptions Holding Them Back?

“There has been a lot of discussion about the stereotypes contributing to the lack of women in the c-suite. But one of the biggest obstacles could be their own assumptions on what path they’re supposed to take.”

From Allison O’Kelly: 7 Tips for Recruiting Women

“Women dominate the workforce in sheer numbers, education and business performance. Still, just 22 companies in the Fortune 500 are run by women. So why aren’t there more women in leadership roles? A number of factors impede women’s progress into executive positions.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Daniel Gross: The Work of the Future

“If the machines are taking all the jobs, how come so many people are working? The unemployment rate is at 4.9 percent. There are 143.6 million Americans with payroll jobs, a record. The number of first-time unemployment claims (pdf) is down more than 10 percent from last year, and is bumping along at levels not seen since the 1970s. Oh, and the Bureau of Labor Statistics says there are 5.5 million job openings in America, close to a record.”

From Scott Behson: Work-Life Balance Is Easier When Your Manager Knows How to Assess Performance

“And that’s why the best thing managers can do for all their employees — and especially those facing work-family conflicts — is to do the hard work of actually evaluating performance, not chair time or face time.”

From Dan Schoenbaum: 5 Reasons CEOs Should Empower Teams to Develop a Collaborative Enterprise Workplace

“Workplaces today have a severe case of information overload. While email, instant messaging, conferencing and other communications solutions have improved our ability to stay in touch with coworkers, these additions have severely limited our productivity.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

One last time: how do you motivate people?

The title includes a trick question about motivation.

Book Review: Negotiating the Impossible

My review of Negotiating the Impossible: How to Break Deadlocks and Resolve Ugly Conflicts (without Money or Muscle) by Deepak Malhotra

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: Apple at 40 Edition

Pointers to stories about Apple as the company turns 40.

By and About Leaders: 4/5/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Jeff Bezos, Mary Lou Retton, Ed Catmull, Maurice Lévy, and Dottie Mattison.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 3/6/16

Pointers to posts by Dan Rockwell, Suzi McAlpine, Ellen Weber, Chris Edmonds, and Mary Jo Asmus.

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.

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