3/2/14: Leadership Reading to Start Your Week

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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 now and in the future.

Highlights include getting honest feedback, new business models for cell carriers, puzzling questions about innovation, stating the truth about work/life balance, and the state of the American workplace. There are fifteen articles from twelve publications.

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 Jim Kouzes and Barry Posner: To Get Honest Feedback, Leaders Need to Ask

“Most leaders don’t really want honest feedback, don’t ask for it, and don’t get much of it unless it’s forced on them. At least that’s what we’ve discovered in our research.”

From INSEAD: Breaking Bad Leadership Habits

“Leaders have to learn and practice new management techniques to overcome the habits that could be holding them back. In two articles, I examine the obstacles, and later, the factors that can help senior executives overcome them.”

From McKinsey: The organization that renews itself: Lasting value from lean management

“Applying lean principles to management, rather than just operations, can help large organizations reimagine how they work and unlock value through continuous improvement.”

Industries and Analysis

From the Wall Street Journal: How to Bring the Price of Health Care Into the Open

“Unlike other industries, prices for health care can vary dramatically depending on who’s paying. The list prices for hospital stays and doctor visits are often just opening bids that insurers negotiate down. The deals insurers and providers strike are often proprietary, making comparisons difficult. Even doctors are generally clueless about what the tests, drugs and specialists they recommend will cost patients.”

From the Kansas City Star: Amid shake-up, US cell carriers look to new models

“How’s this for gall? Take away hundreds of dollars in subsidies that cellphone customers have enjoyed for years. Then pass it off as an improvement.”

From the Economist: Snacks and drinks: Let my Fritos go

“Compared with most documents bearing a corporate letterhead, Nelson Peltz’s 37-page argument for the break-up of PepsiCo, published on February 20th, is a good read. The drinks and snacks firm has ‘lost its entrepreneurial spirit’ and is ‘shifting to a plodding, ‘big company’ mentality’, it claims. Its managers ‘may fundamentally misunderstand the business’. The answer is to spin off PepsiCo’s successful snacks division, Frito-Lay, from its battered beverages business. Each would recapture its competitive zeal and gain the freedom to act on it. It is a refreshing change from PepsiCo’s blather about driving choice in the ‘macro-snack universe'”

Innovations and Technology

From Michael Schrage: What Google “Glassholes” Reveal About Managing Innovation

“As digital devices go, Google Glass is ingeniously provocative. But does it also risk being innovatively insulting, as well? That fear explains why Google is publicly asking its lead users not to behave like ‘Glassholes’: ‘Respect others and if they have questions about Glass don’t get snappy….’ Google recently posted. ‘If you’re asked to turn your phone off, turn Glass off as well. Breaking the rules or being rude will not get businesses excited about Glass and will ruin it for other Explorers.'”

From Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Some Puzzling Questions about Innovation in the Digital Economy

“What is the essence of innovation in the digital economy and how does it differ from the industrial age innovation of the past two hundred years?”

From Lisa Bodell: Four Tips for Walking Your Innovation Talk

“If innovation could be achieved simply through vision statements, press releases, or rally cries, we’d all be successful at it. But developing a strategy and mind-set that enables creative thinking to percolate takes much more work than that. At the core of every truly innovative organization is a leadership team that invests and actively participates in the process of coming up with new ideas. Instead of paying mere lip service to the concept, these leaders are role models who reflect the behaviors they want to see from their staff.”

Women and the Workplace

From Alyssa Westring: New Research: A Supportive Culture Buffers Women from the Negative Effects of Long Hours

“As women continue to grapple with the new imperative to ‘lean in,’ courtesy of the mega-bestseller of that title by Facebook powerhouse Sheryl Sandberg, much of the pushback is coming from those who question the wisdom of nonstop professional overdrive.”

From Kathryn Heath: Office Politics: A Skill Women Should Lean Into

“Who says women don’t like office politics? Just about everyone: My clients. My colleagues. My mother. The sommelier at the French restaurant I ate lunch at last weekend. They’ve all complained about office politics. Some women claim they are not good at it, while others simply avoid certain hot-button business situations because they think playing politics is ‘sleazy.'”

From Jane Perdue: Give yourself permission to be that woman

“Seven businesswomen were onstage—all participating in a panel discussion for working women about being successful. The moderator’s first question was Please tell us your secrets for successfully managing work/life balance.  OMG…what a cringe-worthy way to start the evening.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From SAP Business Trends: The business end of the Internet of Things

“Modern manufacturing is a fast-moving, fascinating environment, full of innovation. As we discussed in the last blog, ‘The Rise of the Machines’, the latest advances aren’t just confined to the assembly line but can be found in the products themselves. Now let’s look more specifically at what this means for the ways smart machines can work and how this can help customers to be successful.”

From Gallup: State of the American Workplace

“The State of the American Workplace: Employee Engagement Insights for U.S. Business Leaders report highlights findings from Gallup’s ongoing study of the American workplace from 2010 through 2012. This is a continuation of Gallup’s previous report on the U.S. workplace covering 2008 through 2010. This latest report provides insights into what leaders can do to improve employee engagement and performance in their companies. It includes an overview of the trend in U.S. employee engagement, a look at the impact of engagement on organizational and individual performance, information about how companies can accelerate employee engagement, and an examination of engagement across different segments of the U.S. working population.”

From Josh Bersin: Why Companies Need a Chief Learning Architect

“The world of corporate learning has gotten very complicated lately.Learning management systems, MOOCs, simulation tools, content management systems, new content providers, social profiles, collaborative learning, video sharing, mobile learning, on-demand learning, new forms of assessment, and the use of Big Data are all changing rapidly. And companies are spending more money on training (up 15% this last year), they find skills gaps more daunting than ever, and they spend more than $130 billion on training.”

Posts on My Blog

If you enjoyed this post, you should check out my other curated posts. Here are the ones from last week.

2/25/14: By and About Leaders

This week I’m pointing you to posts by and about Satya Nadella, John Paul DeJoria, Satish Bagalkotkar, Nisreen Shocair, and John W. Rogers Jr.

2/26/14: From the Independent Business Blogs

Pointers to posts on Olympic stories, appetite for leadership, fostering humility, the power of gradual, and the trouble with servant leadership.

2/28/14: Stories and Strategies from Real Life

This week’s stories and strategies from real life are about OC&C, Ceres Imaging, Four Seasons Hotels and Resorts, and Lykins Oil Co.

Harbingers of Doom” and “How to pick bosses who are likely to succeed” were popular posts on my blog last week.

If you want to get a book done, improve your blog posts,
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If you’re a boss, you should check out my Working Supervisor’s Support Kit.

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