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 improving engagement, a companywide transformation model, reshaping business with artificial intelligence, how automation will rescue middle management, how women are paid at Google compared with men, rethinking hierarchy in the workplace, and why abusive supervision matters and how to handle it.
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
“An engaged employee is a difference maker, yet the number of actively disengaged employees far exceeds the number of engaged ones, notes James Heskett. What do you think is key to firing up the workforce?”
From Phillipe Dume: Improve your Performance with this Distributed, Companywide Transformation Model
“How do you improve an organization that is already performing well and knows it? That was the dilemma faced in 2015 at the services unit of Alstom Transport (Romania), which maintains the rolling stock for Metrorex, the Bucharest subway system. When Metrorex awarded the 15-year contract in 2004, Alstom took over the city’s four maintenance sites and the associated staff from the previous vendor. When the next contract is awarded in 2018, a competitor could replace Alstom and rehire the current workers. So with the future secure for workers but not the company, a sense of urgency was needed where little existed.”
“The strategy meeting was running smoothly. For days, the senior management team had been preparing intensely for their final presentations about a planned corporate transformation to the CEO. He was quite unpredictable. Would he go for their plan, or shoot them down?”
Book Suggestion: Leaders, Fools and Impostors: Essays on the Psychology of Leadership by Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries
Industries and Analysis
“The roster of banks supporting UBS’s big blockchain initiative has swelled with the addition of Barclays, HSBC, State Street, Credit Suisse, MUFG and the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. The banks join UBS, Deutsche Bank, Santander, BNY Mellon and the financial services firm NEX in working on the so-called ‘utility settlement coin’ (USC), which is intended to smooth the way for inter-bank settlements.”
“To say that digital commerce is killing off physical stores is lazy thinking and a half-truth. On the contrary, pure-play online shopping is the imperiled model, evidenced by the lack of e-commerce-only retailers — save for Amazon and eBay — that have gained any meaningful heft and influence.”
“If you have a few spare hours, you can divert yourself by going to the local multiplex and watching a mindless but diverting movie. Or, if you’re so inclined, you can get an upfront view of a business trying to disrupt itself by reacting to several large-scale economic trends: the replacement of labor with machines, the migration of content to smaller screens, the preference for experiences over goods, the growing trend toward higher levels of foodiness, and the persistence of remarkably low inflation.”
Book Suggestion: Blockchain Revolution: How the Technology Behind Bitcoin Is Changing Money, Business, and the World by Don Tapscott and Alex Tapscott
Innovation and Technology
From Sam Ransbotham, David Kiron, Philipp Gerbert, and Martin Reeves: Reshaping Business With Artificial Intelligence
“Disruption from artificial intelligence (AI) is here, but many company leaders aren’t sure what to expect from AI or how it fits into their business model. Yet with change coming at breakneck speed, the time to identify your company’s AI strategy is now. MIT Sloan Management Review has partnered with The Boston Consulting Group to provide baseline information on the strategies used by companies leading in AI, the prospects for its growth, and the steps executives need to take to develop a strategy for their business.”
“We have all seen or heard the sensationalized headlines about Initial Coin Offerings, or ICOs. But what exactly are these events? Will they really disrupt venture capital as a means to fund development? Are they a sign of an economic bubble, or is there something truly worth considering under the surface? In this paper, we review the fundamentals of ICOs that have taken the market by storm.”
“The rise of AI has sparked worldwide fears that technology will soon become advanced enough to replace human workers on a grand scale. If you share those fears, I have good news and bad news for you.”
Book Suggestion: Life 3.0: Being Human in the Age of Artificial Intelligence by Max Tegmark
Women and the Workplace
From the London School of Economics: How the rise of the service sector boosted the demand for women workers
“The historical growth in the service sector has created jobs for which women have a natural comparative advantage, write Rachel Ngai and Barbara Petrongolo”
From Hannah Riley Bowles, Bobbi Thomason, and May Al Dabbagh: Research: When Men Have Lower Status at Work, They’re Less Likely to Negotiate
“It’s become a popular explanation for the gender-wage gap: Women are less likely than men to self-advocate for a pay raise. It has an appealing logic. If we can get women to negotiate more like men, then the gap will shrink. This is in part why there has been a surge in negotiation trainings for women. For example, in 2015, Boston Mayor Marty Walsh launched a five-year partnership with the American Association of University Women (AAUW) to offer free salary negotiation workshops to women in the city of Boston. These trainings are now offered across the nation.”
“A spreadsheet created by employees to share salary information shows pay for women is falling short of what men make at various levels.”
Book Suggestion: Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Concerned that robots and automation are disrupting huge swaths of the U.S. economy? You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”
“Flat structures, research shows, can create more functional teams.”
“Results of a survey indicate that 10-16 percent of workers experience having a ‘bad boss’ (Tepper, Duffy, Hoobler, & Ensley, 2004). It is predicted that this number will only continue to rise.”
Book Suggestion: The Asshole Survival Guide: How to Deal with People Who Treat You Like Dirt by Robert I. Sutton
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
You can learn lessons from an awful boss. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
The worst boss I ever had was a walking, talking example of what not to do. That’s important, but it’s not enough if you want to be a great leader.
Deadlines don’t have to torment you. They shouldn’t surprise you, either.
Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Engie, S&P Global, KLX Aerospace, Microsoft, and Priceline.
Pointers to posts by Kate Nasser, Kevin Eikenberry, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Mary Jo Asmus, and Tanveer Naseer.
The 347 tips in my ebook can help you Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
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.