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 upper management’s role could be de-emphasized, pushing manufacturing productivity to the max, getting ready to battle grocery’s hard discounters, why some innovations stick, machine-learning promises to shake up large swathes of finance, a generation of female leaders strengthens GM, why so many women dropping out of the workforce, Microsoft’s new tool that tells the boss everything, and the missing half of training.
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
“Firms seeking higher performance should look to modern self-determination theory and encourage purposeful work, writes James Elfer.”
“While CEOs are typically considered to be the most important person in a company, there are plenty of examples of underlings being valued more than their bosses.”
“One of the biggest problems at work is the high performer confusion. Let me explain that out. In a hierarchy, the only way to make more money is to rise up 1-2 (or more) levels. There are a lot of flaws with hierarchy, and this is most assuredly one of them. It typically creates cultures where the people most concerned with money end up becoming managers. But here’s the confusion: they are not managers because they wanted to manage other human beings, they are managers because it was the only way to get a bigger salary. Good managers are often super rare in companies. Why? Start right here with this high performer confusion.”
Industries and Analysis
“Advanced analytics and lower-cost computing give companies a powerful tool for managing profitability on an hourly basis.”
“The roller coaster ride of the digital landscape is changing our world into something we’ve never seen before—and this is certainly the case for the retail industry. Amazon’s cross-industry success, the continued rise of artificial intelligence, and the evolution of e-commerce and omnichannel formats—these trends and more are convincing retailers to take a critical look at how every aspect of their business is impacted by digitalization.One of the best perks of my job is listening to firsthand accounts from the boardroom that illustrate how retailers are deeply vulnerable to technological shifts. Recently, I met with a former executive who shared his reflections on the demise of a retail brand. With his permission, I am sharing his story with you:”
“Prepare to see America’s grocery landscape change before your eyes. The same hard discount grocers that have shaken up Europe are accelerating their growth in the US, giving shoppers even more choice and creating new competition for traditional supermarkets and mass retailers. German discounter Aldi, which now operates 1,600 stores in the US, already has plans to open about 400 more stores by the end of 2018, while simultaneously embarking on a $1.6 billion remodeling effort to give existing stores a more upscale look. And we’re in the early days of Lidl’s big launch into the US market, which is likely to add as many as 500 locations in the next five years.”
Innovation and Technology
“Patent gatekeepers require truly original ideas to be stronger, but there’s a downside.”
“MACHINE-LEARNING is beginning to shake up finance. A subset of artificial intelligence (AI) that excels at finding patterns and making predictions, it used to be the preserve of technology firms. The financial industry has jumped on the bandwagon. To cite just a few examples, ‘heads of machine-learning’ can be found at PwC, a consultancy and auditing firm, at JP Morgan Chase, a large bank, and at Man GLG, a hedge-fund manager. From 2019, anyone seeking to become a ‘chartered financial analyst’, a sought-after distinction in the industry, will need AI expertise to pass his exams.”
“Greg Satell’s new book is Mapping Innovation: A playbook for navigating a disruptive age. In anticipation of the finished book, I sat down with Greg who has been a top contributor to Innovation Excellence since 2011, and spoke with him about his writing and work.”
Women and the Workplace
From Lisa Unwin and Deborah Khan: Ditch These Myths about Women in the Workplace — or Miss Out on Talent
“Every day in our work we encounter ambitious women who want to return to their once-bustling careers. Meanwhile, companies are struggling to fill job openings. Why the disconnect? One key factor is the persistence of six false stereotypes: prevalent myths that undermine this talented, experienced, hard-working group of candidates.”
“For half a century after World War II, women barreled into the job market in numbers that surged higher every year. They drove most of the rise in real household income for decades and boosted the economy’s total output at a time when men were dropping out of the job market. Then, all of a sudden, they stopped. Since 2000, the share of women working in their prime earning years has declined”
“Mary Barra is the tip of the iceberg. The first woman to be chairman and CEO of a global automaker, Barra is part of a generation of women leaders reshaping General Motors from the plant floor to the C-suite, jobs historically denied to them in the male-dominated auto industry.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“The training industry is based on models that were developed for the military. The Systems Approach to Training includes the ADDIE [analysis, design, development, implementation, evaluation] model, with variations used throughout industry. Robert Gagne’s Nine Events of Instruction inform much of instructional design. Gagne’s early work was in military training. Other models were developed in the second half of the 20th century but they mostly remained in line with their military roots. One model for instructional design that I promote is Cathy Moore’s Action Mapping. It’s a welcome change, but is focused on individual training. In the military there is much more training than individual, skill & knowledge-focused, course work. There is also ‘collective training’”
“It’s not about the bells and whistles and shiny new toys. E-learning today is about choosing the right solution to advance business goals in ways learners want.”
“While Microsoft unveiled a wide array of new software and services, one stood out as particularly prescient to employment and the future world of work. And it’s scary as hell. Think 1984 meets Office Space.”
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