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 power of modesty in management, the future of manufacturing, organizing for innovation, Indra Nooyi on why women can’t have it all, and the holes in holacracy.
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
“Mulally, who became Ford’s chief executive in 2006 after a long career at Boeing, did indeed save Ford, in no small part by doing exactly what Barra hopes to do at G.M.: He changed Ford’s culture. The company went from losing $12.7 billion in 2006 to making $8.6 billion last year. On the eve of Mulally’s retirement — July 1 is supposed to be his last day — it seemed like a good idea to take a look back at how he did it. There might be some lessons for G.M.”
“Setting the right price is one of the most critical—yet least understood—elements of sustaining or improving the profitability of a business. Boston Consulting Group pricing expert Amadeus Petzke sat down with BCG colleague Felix Schuler to discuss an initiative he leads that uses ‘war games’ to help clients hone their pricing strategies. The games use an innovative cloud-based approach that aims to help companies gain insights into market mechanisms.”
“Author David Zweig discusses the true power of modesty in management.”
Industries and Analysis
“The concept of a never-ending journey, rather than an endpoint, serves as a powerful mantra for the U.S. manufacturing sector’s comeback.”
“Spain’s most successful fashion retailer, Inditex, has two ambitious local rivals snapping at its heels.”
“Outer space will be a seriously contested and congested place in the future, which I collectively term as ‘Space Jam.’ A combination of a plethora of new navigation satellite networks and services, new space faring nations (like Japan, India and China) and organizations (like Google and Facebook) entering the market and creation of R&D programs across various mass categories from micro- to heavy-satellites, as well as the trend of engaging commercial satellite platforms in dual applications (military and civil) will make this a very attractive ‘space’ in the future.”
Innovations and Technology
“Good organisation design can help companies become more innovative, but first you have to understand the nature of ‘new ideas’ and how to generate them.”
“Companies that only have access to ‘little data’ can still use that information to improve their business.”
“Aruba Network’s research found that 86% of respondents owned at least two connected devices (devices with the ability to connect to the internet). Non-traditional working hours and the option of flextime were also identified as highly important values to generation mobile people.”
Women and the Workplace
“The Aspen Ideas Festival is winding down its annual confab today, with speakers ranging from Harvard president Drew Gilpin Faust talking about what it takes to get into Harvard to Hillary Clinton sounding off about the Hobby Lobby Supreme Court decision. But we can’t let the week close without highlighting remarks from PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, who got pretty personal at the festival earlier this week, sharing how she manages work-life balance and why she believes women can’t really have it all.”
From Kathy Caprino: Why It’s So Damaging To Tell Women They Can’t Have It All (And Why I’m So Tired Of Hearing It)
“The latest trend in women’s leadership circles today is telling women they can’t have it all (at the same time), and they should stop trying. So many top female political and corporate leaders in a wide range of industries and arenas have been quoted in the past few years as saying ‘You can’t have it all – it’s a pipedream.’ For instance, Pepisco CEO Indra Nooyi shared her views recently, explaining her personal story that ‘having it all’ is an illusion that comes with painful sacrifices and compromises.”
“The lack of female technical talent is an issue that most tech companies have owned up to. Now, people everywhere, from Google to college admissions offices, are looking for ways the change that. And often, it seems, the proposed solution is simply to turn tech pink. But as Wheat sees it, the problem with techno-princess land is that it attempts to combat the stereotype that technology is a guy thing with stereotypes of what women want.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Even if your firm has a healthy employee base and a strong balance sheet, chances are good that it’s about to face a significant shortage of qualified managers. I reached that conclusion in 2007, after working with Nitin Nohria, the current dean of Harvard Business School, and colleagues at the executive search firm Egon Zehnder to gauge the effects of three factors – globalization, demographics, and leadership pipelines – on competition for senior talent in large organizations. We studied 47 companies, spanning all major sectors and geographies. The results were dire: Only 15% of the firms in the Americas and Asia, and less than a third of those in Europe, had enough people primed to lead them into the future. New survey and research data we have compiled show that the situation has grown even worse.”
“EVERY so often a company emerges from the herd to be lauded as the embodiment of leading-edge management thinking. Think of Toyota and its lean manufacturing system, say, or GE and Six Sigma excellence. The latest candidate for apotheosis is Zappos, an online vendor of shoes and clothes (owned by Amazon), which believes that happy workers breed happy customers. Tony Hsieh, its boss, said last year that he will turn the firm into a ‘holacracy’, replacing its hierarchy with a more democratic system of overlapping, self-organising teams. Until Zappos embraced it, no big company had taken holacracy seriously. Indeed, not all of Zappos’ 1,500-strong workforce are convinced that it can work.”
“Restaurants like Shake Shack and Boloco that offer their employees above-average pay say they have lower turnover and better customer service.”
More Curated Posts from Wally Bock
Pointers to pieces by and about Sundar Pichai, Jeffrey Immelt, Bob Farrell, Rodney McMullen, and Christopher Lofgren.
Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Lolly Daskal, Karin Hurt, Mary Jo Asmus, and Julie Winkle Giuloni.
Pointers to stories about about Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker, Skillshare, Instacart, Phantom Consulting, and Motif.
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.