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 where to spot strategy traps, the ‘New-Collar’ workers in manufacturing, how a digital factory can transform company culture, learning innovation in the digital age, how men can make sexual harassment unacceptable, and creating the office of tomorrow.
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
“These strategy traps might seem deceptively simple but they trip up executives time and again.”
“Every bold new business idea starts with a success story. Either it is a single organization or an aggregate sample that implemented a particular strategy and achieved outstanding results. That solid track record helps to convince others to adopt it, yet somehow the new management fad fails to deliver as promised. The problem is often one of survivorship bias. While it’s fairly easy to find an examples of those who were successful with a particular strategy, the ones who tried it and failed are often overlooked. Other times, a post hoc fallacy is at work. Just because someone implemented a particular strategy doesn’t mean that’s what led to success.”
“Fortunately for us all, the world re-runs experiments all the time, and often gets different results. Webvan failed. Now Amazon, Google, and others are delivering to your door. EachNet (and its acquirer, eBay) failed to make cash-on-delivery work in Chinese C-to-C e-commerce. Now Taobao’s cash-on-delivery system is thriving. The failures of Alta Vista, Excite, Lycos, and others led many to conclude that internet search could not be a business. Now, well, you know.”
Book Suggestion: Good Strategy Bad Strategy: The Difference and Why It Matters by Richard Rumelt
Industries and Analysis
“However, while collar color once made sense as a neat division of the workforce, it is a concept now hopelessly out of date. Modern manufacturing no longer thinks in terms of white or blue collar—the workers it needs now are ‘new-collar.'”
“Manufacturing companies are fast realizing that data and analytics can help tremendously in improving operational efficiencies and business processes, and in transforming business models — and they are investing heavily in it, says Jon Sobel, co-founder and CEO of Sight Machine, an analytics company focused on the manufacturing industry.”
“Companies are beginning to use digital factories as incubators of more agile ways of working, often filtering the best attributes of the factory culture back to the larger organization.”
Book Suggestion: The Toyota Way: 14 Management Principles from the World’s Greatest Manufacturer by Jeffrey Liker
Innovation and Technology
“The best creative teams pay attention to their technical toolkits. Pier Vittorio Mannucci explains.”
“As the workplace changes, so must education and training. Exciting experiments are under way—but are they enough?”
“Just about every AI advance you’ve heard of depends on a breakthrough that’s three decades old. Keeping up the pace of progress will require confronting AI’s serious limitations.”
Book Suggestion: Superintelligence: Paths, Dangers, Strategies by Nick Bostrom
Women and the Workplace
“Women will tell you they don’t know precisely when, or how, they become aware that a man is a sexual predator. Someone — almost always another woman — usually tells us, in ways explicit and implicit, to be careful around a man. To not show up to a meeting alone. To invite someone else to come to lunch. To never stay late or go to drinks or email in a manner that could be taken the wrong way. These ‘whisper networks,’ as they’re often called, are what women use to keep each other safe when normal routes of protection — HR complaints, direct confrontation, the police — simply won’t work, either because of a man’s power or because the burden of proof, when it comes to sexual harassment, is so heavy, and the price of becoming an accuser is so steep.”
Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story
“Everyone knew. But no one said anything. That seems to be the party line whenever sexually predatory behavior becomes public. Now in the wake of three recent high-profile cases – Bill Cosby, Roger Ailes and now Harvey Weinstein – there is much outrage about the men’s assaults of women but there are few answers about prevention.”
From the London School of Economics: Job satisfaction differs between men and women after they’re promoted to managers
“Women are seen as less legitimate leaders, their authority is diminished and managing people becomes more difficult, writes Daniela Lup.”
Book Suggestion: The Confidence Code: The Science and Art of Self-Assurance—What Women Should Know by Katty Kay and Claire Shipman
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“For millions of Americans who work as contractors, real careers are out of reach and each day brings reminders that they live in a different world than the employees sitting nearby.”
“History doesn’t exactly repeat itself, but it does run in cycles. One of the most robust theories of such cycles was articulated by economic historian Carlota Perez, in her influential book Technological Revolutions and Financial Capital: The Dynamics of Bubbles and Golden Ages (Edward Elgar, 2002). It suggests that humanity can get through the current period of upheaval and economic malaise and enter a new “golden age” of broad economic growth, if the world’s key decision makers act in concert to help foster one.”
Book Suggestion: The Sixth Kondratieff: The New Long Wave in the Global Economy by Leo Nefiodow and Simone Nefiodow
“Certain things seem to go out of fashion, only to come around again: suede and velvet clothing for men, vinyl records, the underhanded free throw in basketball. But Brian Walker, the CEO of furniture company Herman Miller, is convinced that the traditional office–with executives stuck behind closed doors and most everyone else assigned to a fixed workstation–is gone for good.”
Book Suggestion: The End of Loyalty: The Rise and Fall of Good Jobs in America by Rick Wartzman
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
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Why Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The Surprising Science Behind Why Everything You Know About Success Is (Mostly) Wrong by Eric Barker is a great book.
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Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Dollar Shave Club, Mark Vergnano, Brett Favre, GE, and Marc Benioff.
Pointers to posts by Ken Downer, Mary Jo Asmus, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Lolly Daskal, and Suzi McAlpine.
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.
The 347 tips in my ebook can help you Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.