Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 10/17/16

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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 The Value Lurking in Your “Leadership Unconscious,” The Auto Industry’s Real Challenge, Why Technology Matters, The One Career Lesson My First Job Taught Me, What Went Awry at Wells Fargo? The Beaten Path of a Toxic Culture, and Melinda Gates new mission.

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 the Economist: Quick and dirty

“THERE are 68,000 firms listed around the world, most of which have little in common. Yet one thing unites bosses from Shanghai to San Francisco—the sense that capitalism has become too hyperactive, forcing them to take ever shorter-term decisions at the expense of their owners and of society. It’s as close to received wisdom as you can get in business. On September 28th a body called Focusing Capital on the Long Term (FCLT) announced its board of directors, now devoted to fighting myopia among investors and managers. Some mighty names have signed up, including BlackRock, the largest fund manager, and Unilever, a consumer-products firm.”

From Roger Lehman and Erik van de Loo: The Value Lurking in Your “Leadership Unconscious”

“The crucial components to decision-making dilemmas may exist outside of your conscious awareness.”

From Helen Mayhew, Tamim Saleh, and Simon Williams: Making data analytics work for you–instead of the other way around

“Does your data have a purpose? If not, you’re spinning your wheels. Here’s how to discover one and then translate it into action.”

Industries and Analysis

From Natalie Kitroeff: Self-driving trucks threaten one of America’s top blue-collar jobs

“Trucking paid for Scott Spindola to take a road trip down the coast of Spain, climb halfway up Machu Picchu, and sample a Costa Rican beach for two weeks. The 44-year-old from Covina now makes up to $70,000 per year, with overtime, hauling goods from the port of Long Beach. He has full medical coverage and plans to drive until he retires. But in a decade, his big rig may not have any need for him.”

From Pedro Caruso, Diego Garcia and José de Sá: Full Potential Oil Refining in a Challenging Environment

“While much of the upstream sector has struggled mightily since crude oil prices began collapsing in the summer of 2014, refiners have enjoyed a period of relative prosperity. Falling crude prices buoyed refiners’ margins, even as upstream producers trimmed costs and strained the capacities of their suppliers. But the easy times for refiners may be fading rapidly.”

From Evan Hirsh, John Jullens, and Ganesh Kalpundi: The Auto Industry’s Real Challenge

“While automakers pour millions into winning the autonomous vehicle race, they run the risk of ignoring the more imminent threats that could sink them before the technology becomes pervasive.”

Innovation and Technology

From Ely Portillo: Get ready for virtual reality in real estate

“The next time you buy a house, remodel something or rent a new office, your first view of it might be through a virtual reality headset.”

From Howard Rubin, Ralf Dreischmeier, Christophe Duthoit, and Hrishi Hrishikesh: Why Technology Matters

“More than a decade ago, writer Nicholas Carr caused a stir with a Harvard Business Review article titled ‘IT Doesn’t Matter.’ He argued that as costs fall for infrastructural technologies such as computers and the internet, the technologies would—like railroads, electricity, and telephones—become widely available commodities. Once a technology is ubiquitous and available to all—neither scarce nor proprietary—it no longer confers a lasting competitive advantage.”

From Kindra KTatarsky: The Role of IoT in the Evolving Retail Landscape

“For several years now, when the topic of ‘the store of the future’ arose, conversations quickly—and almost always—veered into technology and the Internet of Things (IoT). The idea of having items like merchandise, shopping carts, and display fixtures connected to the Internet was intoxicating, and retail professionals clamored for the vast amounts of data potentially available to empower better decision making. So what happened on the way to the store of the future?”

Bonus: Who are Chicago’s most innovative companies?

Women and the Workplace

From Jessi Hempel: Melinda Gates Has a New Mission: Women in Tech

“It’s personal. Gates got her start in tech. After graduating from Duke with a computer science degree (and an MBA), she spent a decade working at Microsoft. That was back in 1987, when just over a third of undergraduate computer science degrees went to women. Nearly 30 years later, fewer than one in five CS degrees are earned by women. That, according to Gates, constitutes a crisis. ‘This has got to change,’ she told me when we met to discuss her efforts last week.”

From Moira Forbes: The One Career Lesson My First Job Taught Me

“No matter your first job, entering the workforce for the first time inevitably entails a steep learning curve that can be as daunting as it is instructive. From sharpening skill sets to navigating the office politics and building your network, the takeaways from those early professional experiences often prove invaluable in shaping your career growth. I asked six trailblazing women to weigh in on the indelible lessons taught by their first job, and how they still draw on them as leaders today.”

From Leslie Picker: Hedge Fund Targets Companies’ Weakness: The Gender Gap

“Ides Capital, led by Dianne McKeever, aims to shake up boards at floundering firms, but it’s also tackling the ‘boys’ club’ mentality it says holds companies back.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From the London School of Economics: Working from home: idea that workers who aren’t visible are slacking off is outdated

“We need to embrace new ways of managing and relating in the digital workplace, writes Ella Hafermalz.”

From Richard Feloni: Facebook’s go-to management guide dispels a common myth about leaders and managers

“In regular conversation, we reserve the word ‘leader’ for the people who stand out at an organization. According to this logic, ‘manager’ is simply a role, and leadership must be earned. According to the management philosophy that Facebook runs on, however, managers and leaders are indeed profoundly different — but both are necessary.”

From Jon Picoult: What Went Awry at Wells Fargo? The Beaten Path of a Toxic Culture

“Employees at the bank and other companies that have been involved in scandals get their cues from what management signals, not what it says.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Thoughts on Retirement and Purpose

People need a purpose. Without purpose, there’s not much reason to get up in the morning.

Book Review: From Silk to Silicon

Why From Silk to Silicon: The Story of Globalization Through Ten Extraordinary Lives by Jeffrey Garten is worth buying.

By and About Leaders: 10/11/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Cindy Whitehead, Jack Bogle, Julie Wainwright, Scott Tariff, and Gavin Armstrong.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 10/12/16

Pointers to posts by Doug Thorpe, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Suzi McAlpine, and Tanveer Naseer.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 10/14/16

Pointers to stories about ImagineAir, Target, Twitter, McDonald’s, and Yuengling

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.

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