5/26/14: 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 and learning now and in the future. Highlights include three ways to improve strategy making, the newspaper business:, incremental innovation, the 2014 Forbes Women’s Summit, and less flexible companies for workers.

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 Louis V. Gerstner, Jr: Can strategic planning pay off?

“In an article from the McKinsey Quarterly archives, Louis V. Gerstner, Jr., proposes four guidelines to help strategic planners make the crucial leap from plans to decisions.”

From Anne D’Innocenzio: CEOs: The changing role at the top

“Used to be that CEOs were hired for their knowledge of the industry, years of experience and the ability to lead with a tight fist. But the role of the top job has changed dramatically over the last several years.”

From Roger Martin: Three Quick Ways to Improve Your Strategy-Making

“The standard strategy processes at most companies share three common characteristics: 1) you wait until the annual strategy review to revisit your strategy; 2) you put together a SWOT analysis as input to the start of the strategy process; and 3) you start the strategy process with a long and arduous exercise to wordsmith a mission/vision statement or organizational aspiration. These activities are, no doubt, reassuring and familiar. They are also almost completely useless.”

Wally’s Comment: There’s similar advice and lots more about crafting a potent strategy and executing it well in Stephen Lynch’s book, Business Execution for RESULTS. Check it out, then take a moment and vote to help it win a Small Business Book Award.

Industries and Analysis

From Matthew Kish: Nike sheds 100,000 factory workers, ‘manufacturing revolution’ intensifies

“Nike has shed more than 100,000 contract factory workers in the past year, according to a report the athletic footwear and apparel company released this month. It’s a development that has global implications.”

From Justin Bachman: Carnival’s CEO Explains the Cruise Industry’s Biggest Problem

“About 21.7 million people are expected to take a cruise this year, with Americans making up more than half the industry’s passenger count. But highly public ‘voyage disruptions’–the industry term for a nightmare cruise that garners nonstop cable TV coverage–and the reality of a mature market have cruise lines struggling to stoke new demand in the world’s largest market.”

From The Economist: The newspaper business: Read it and leap

“NEWSPAPERS once lived in a pre-Copernican world, with the print edition at the centre of their cosmos. Today they are questioning long-held beliefs about what should orbit what. A leaked internal review by the New York Times provides a remarkable glimpse of an industry in the midst of a revolution.”

Innovations and Technology

From Matt Palmquist: The Collective’s Crystal Ball

“This type of crowdsourcing—where companies eschew their own in-house data mining or analysis techniques in favor of inviting large groups of people outside the firm to weigh in—has become more common in recent years. As the Internet increasingly enables rapid exchanges of information, firms have begun embracing the concept that making sense of big data occasionally requires the help of external experts and their fresh perspectives, untainted by internal biases, entrenched viewpoints, or conflicts of interest between corporate divisions.”

From Troy Wolverton: Big Data meets big-time basketball

“As of this year, every NBA team has access to sophisticated tracking data that can tell them the position of the ball and every player on the court for every second of every game of the season. The data, provided by a system of cameras developed by a company called SportVU and installed in every NBA arena, is starting to revolutionize professional basketball, influencing everything from game strategy and player conditioning to how fans interact with the sport.”

From Doug Cameron: Boeing CEO Wants Incremental Innovation, Not ‘Moon Shots’

“Boeing Co. Chief Executive Jim McNerney said the plane maker aims to emulate the product strategy of Apple Inc. by developing future passenger jets in incremental steps, rather than once-a-generation ‘moon shots’ that carry too much risk.”

Women and the Workplace

From Ellen Grasso: A Behind-The-Scenes Look At The 2014 Forbes Women’s Summit

“As  Executive Producer of this year’s  Forbes Women’s Summit,  I had the privilege of working closely with a plethora of fabulous women over the many weeks and months leading up to the May 15  th  gathering.    And since no one-day event can fully capture all the depth and meaning that goes into shaping it, I thought I would take this opportunity to share with you some of my top ‘behind-the-scenes’ takeaways – these are moments that will likely stay with me for a lifetime.”

From Selena Rezvani: Three Tricks To Step Up Your Self-Promotion Skills

“I recently attended a women’s leadership dinner and heard a young woman ask the speaker—a corporate woman executive—her best strategy for promoting her accomplishments.  Coolly, the executive responded, ‘Have others do it for you.’ Ever since, I’ve been turning this advice over uncomfortably in my head.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Tara Siegel Bernard: For Workers, Less Flexible Companies

“Many employers say they offer telecommuting and flexible work hours to employees, but in fact are cutting back on time for child leave or to care for an ill parent.”

From Phanish Puranam: Are Bosses Becoming Extinct?

“Hierarchy is often viewed as hindering innovation, but getting rid of hierarchy carries risks of its own. Savvy organisation design can help you strike a successful balance.”

From Travis Hessman: Robots, Reshoring and the Promise of the 21st Century

“When it first hit the market, the Roomba – the tiny, autonomous robot vacuum created by Brooks’ first major startup, iRobot – represented the pinnacle of high-tech, ultra-modern life. It was the first definitive sign that the sci-fi future we’d been promised for the new millennia was starting to come true. However, there was one part of it that didn’t quite live up to the promise: manufacturing.”

Wally Bock’s Curated Leadership Posts from Last Week

5/20/14: By and About Leaders

Pointers to posts by and about Rob Gough, Jessica Simpson, Elon Musk, Marc Andreessen, and Rob Heyvaert.

5/21/14: From the Independent Business Blogs

Pointers to posts by Karin Hurt, Steve Roesler, Lisa Rosendahl, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Mary Jo Asmus.

5/23/14: Stories and Strategies from Real Life

Pointers to stories about Lorenzo Zambrano, Rebecca Minkoff, MN8 Foxfire, Sony, and Ziebart.

Looking for a leader?” and “Words” were popular posts on my blog last week.

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