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 problem with saying “My door is always open,” how forty years has changed the CEO post, eleven leadership guidelines for the Digital Age, myths to avoid if you want to innovate, why you don’t understand disruption, why Silicon Valley is so awful to women, how to accelerate learning on your team, moneyball for engineers (what the semiconductor industry can learn from sports) and taking stock of what’s changed since Kiplinger’s debuted in 1947.
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
“Leaders often have an inflated idea of how easy it is for others to speak honestly to them. Our two-year research study, including interviews with over 60 senior executives, as well as workshops and case studies, illuminates a glaring blind spot: We simply don’t appreciate how risky it can feel for others to speak up.”
“Every aspect of the CEO role—including titles and duties—has endured wrenching redefinition since 1977.”
“Ten years ago, when we would ask senior executives or company directors what ‘digital’ meant to them, their response would usually be something related to social media. Today, it might be apps, Big Data, 3D printing, ‘the cloud’ or another current example of digital technology. All such answers are equally correct – and equally in error. More important than the specific innovations introduced by the digital revolution is their earth-shaking cumulative impact on business and on organisations. There is no border anymore between the pre- and post-digital worlds. Digital is business and business is digital.”
Industries and Analysis
“Kiplinger’s magazine is celebrating its 70th anniversary. The economy and markets have gone through plenty of twists and turns since 1947. Booms and busts. Bull and bear markets. I called up Janet Bodnar, editor of Kiplinger’s, to ask what struck her about personal finance through the eras.”
From Eoin Leydon, Ernest Liu, and Bill Wiseman: Moneyball for engineers: What the semiconductor industry can learn from sports
“R&D leaders can boost productivity by using advanced analytics to create stronger, faster engineering teams.”
“Electric vehicles and batteries are expected to create huge demand for copper and cobalt”
Innovation and Technology
“The unicorn is perhaps unique among myths in that the creature doesn’t appear in the mythology of any culture. The ancient Greeks, for all of their centaurs, hydras and medusas, never had any stories of unicorns, they simply believed that some existed somewhere.”
“It’s not that big companies are bad at inventing; it’s that they’re bad at organizational shifts.”
“One of the theoretical advantages of software, artificial intelligence, algorithms, and robots is that they don’t suffer many human foibles. They don’t get sick or tired. They are polite — or rude — to everyone in equal measure. They follow orders. The reality, of course, is different.”
Women and the Workplace
“Kathryn Baisley, a junior studying to be a mechanical engineer at the Milwaukee School of Engineering, remembers walking into her physics class in her freshman year and noticing that only four out of about 25 students were women. She often found herself working with what she called the ‘girl group’ during her labs.”
“Tech companies are spending hundreds of millions of dollars to improve conditions for female employees. Here’s why not much has changed—and what might actually work.”
Thanks to Miki Saxon for pointing me to this post.
“Financial literacy is important for all people, but especially for women because of their longer life spans, weaker earning power and bigger gaps in employment as they quit to take care of young kids or aging parents. ‘We’re paid less. We go in and out of the workforce. We live longer. We have fewer dollars, but more years [of retirement] to pay for,’ says Carrie Schwab-Pomerantz, board chair and president of the Charles Schwab Foundation. Technology could help alleviate some of these problems, allowing women to work remotely and thus have flexible work schedules, adds Shannon Schuyler, chief purpose officer and U.S. corporate responsibility leader at PwC, as well as president of the PwC Charitable Foundation. Men also play an important role by giving women a leg up the corporate ladder and sharing more responsibilities at home.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Businesses need to create a commercial culture in which capital is more patient, work is more multiform and entrepreneurship is more mainstream, says Jules Goddard”
From the London School of Economics: Employees v. entrepreneurs: Have the two categories become irrelevant?
“The distinction between entrepreneurs (or freelancers) who work for themselves, and employees who sell their work hours to somebody else used to be clear-cut. Entrepreneurs and freelancers were adventurous people, gaining control over time and space at work by sacrificing security and stability. On the opposite, employees favoured the comfort of salaried work, at the expense of personal freedom and the ability to choose the way they work. Yet it seems that the lines between these two categories are blurring faster than ever. The old distinction makes less and less sense.”
“Many leaders want to accelerate learning on their teams. They know that in a knowledge-driven economy, continuously developing new competencies is the key to sustainable advantage. But in practice, there never seems to be enough money or time. Why is it so difficult to get our teams learning at scale? In my experience, the central challenge is that leaders tend to think of learning too narrowly — equating it with training, mentoring, or ‘constructive feedback’ during performance reviews. But all of these are inputs that may or may not correlate with the results we want to create.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Thinking big isn’t always the right choice. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
If you’re in business you can learn a lot from the game of basketball and March Madness.
If you’re a boss, you should read The Progress Principle: Using Small Wins to Ignite Joy, Engagement, and Creativity at Work and then put it to work.
Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Jeff Weiner, Daniel Lamarre, Vishal Sikka, Kon Leong, and Mohammad Ali
Pointers to posts by Mary Jo Asmus, Ed Batista, Kevin Eikenberry, Art Petty, and Ken Downer.
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.