Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 10/24/16

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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 mastering the mechanics of reason and emotion, a data-driven guide to becoming an effective boss, six reasons why cross-functional innovation teams fail, and the organization man and woman.

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 McKinsey & Company: Leadership and behavior: Mastering the mechanics of reason and emotion

“A Nobel Prize winner and a leading behavioral economist offer common sense and counterintuitive insights on performance, collaboration, and innovation.”

From Steve Hawk: A Data-Driven Guide to Becoming an Effective Boss

“Most leadership advice is based on anecdotal observation and basic common sense. Stanford Graduate School of Business professor Kathryn Shaw tried a different tack: data-driven analysis.”

From Wharton: The Key Leadership Skill that Steve Jobs and Ben Franklin Share

“At the McNulty Leadership launch, Isaacson wove a tale of two famous figures who at first glance appear to have little in common: Steve Jobs and Benjamin Franklin. What leadership lessons can be drawn from their lives?”

Industries and Analysis

From Shan Li: Why do customers flock to one dress and ignore another? Stores turn to heat mapping to figure out.

“When Combatant Gentlemen opened its first permanent location in Santa Monica Place in July, the store had many elegant touches: a sleek design, spacious fitting rooms, even an on-site tailor. It also boasted a modern tool invisible to the average shopper: cameras equipped with heat mapping software.”

From Ken Fireman: The malling of America may be history

“Is the great American suburban shopping mall a dinosaur? If you visit the site of Northland Center in suburban Detroit, you come away thinking so, because Northland was a trend-setter throughout its life cycle. It was the world’s largest shopping center when it opened in 1954, just as the postwar suburban sprawl hit full stride. It was completely enclosed 20 years later to match the retailing zeitgeist of that era. Last year, after a long decline, it shut its doors.”

From the Economist: Jump-start

“A giant of the console industry has lost a generation of gamers to smartphones. Can it reclaim them?”

Innovation and Technology

From Christopher Mims: Your Next Friend Could Be a Robot

“Amazon’s engineers didn’t anticipate this. But soon after the Echo’s release in November 2014, they found people were talking to it as if it were a person.”

From Paul Sloane: Six Reasons Why Cross-Functional Innovation Teams Fail

“Once you have identified a great idea for a new product or service innovation what do you do? Many firms put together a cross functional team (XFT) and tell them to bring the product to market. It seems like a good approach. They have budget, people and empowerment. What could possibly go wrong? Lots of things. Here are six common reasons why XFTs fail to deliver.”

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

“Despite technology’s starring role in business and everyday life, many observers openly question whether it has really had much of an impact on the global economy. Their skepticism is misplaced.”

Women and the Workplace

From Sally Helgesen: The Organization Man and Woman

“I was struck, yet unsurprised, by a new survey featured in the Financial Times showing that women view ‘workplace culture’ as the biggest impediment to their careers by a significant margin. Although work–life balance continues to monopolize public discussion, the number of female respondents reporting that a workplace designed by and for male advancement was the primary barrier to their own advancement was nearly double that citing the difficulty of balancing work and family. Of course, the two barriers are fundamentally linked.”

From Jena McGregor: This might help explain why corporate boards are still an old boy’s club

“Yet according to a new report, men in the boardroom don’t yet seem to buy the idea. A survey released Tuesday by PwC of more than 800 corporate directors found that just 24 percent of the male respondents believed board diversity improves corporate performance, while an overwhelming 89 percent of female directors believe it does. Meanwhile, just 38 percent of the men said it improves board effectiveness, while 92 percent of women agreed that it does.”

From Sallie Krawcheck: Press Attention Can Actually Hurt Women’s Careers

“Looking back at those very public accolades, Krawcheck writes about how landing in the spotlight can actually endanger a woman’s career. As Jennifer Reingold noted in her recent story examining why women disappear from the top ranks of corporate America, the attention brings extra external scrutiny. It can also rock the boat internally, upsetting that delicate ‘not too tough, not too soft’ balance many women work so hard to achieve.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Ravin Jesuthasan, Tracey Malcolm, and George Zarkadakis: Automation Will Make Us Rethink What a “Job” Really Is

“As businesses enter the unchartered waters of machine intelligence – where machines learn by experience and improve their performance over time – researchers are trying to predict its impact on jobs and work. Optimists suggest that by taking over cognitive but labor-intensive chores the intelligent machines will free human workers to do more ‘creative’ tasks, and that by working side by side with us they will boost our imagination to achieve more. Experience with Robotic Process Automation (RPA) seems to confirm this prediction. Pessimists predict huge levels of unemployment, as nearly half of existing jobs appear prone to automation and, therefore, extinction.”

From Neil Irwin: How Did Walmart Get Cleaner Stores and Higher Sales? It Paid Its People More

“Can the answer to what ails the global economy be found in the people in blue vests at your neighborhood Walmart?”

From Jennifer Pellet: How Leaders Can Align Talent with Opportunities in the 21st Century

“In adapting to new technologies, CEOs need to transform their workforces along with their companies.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Danger: Focus on Short-Term Shareholder Value is Toxic

Most US companies are fixated on short-term earnings. That’s not a good thing.

Book Review: Peak

My review of Peak: Secrets from the New Science of Expertise by Anders Ericsson and Robert Pool.

By and About Leaders: 10/18/16

Pointers to pieces by and about David Novak, Bethenny Frankel, John Legere, Jeff Goodby, and Sebastian Hauptmann.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 10/19/16

Pointers to posts by Anne Perschel, Karin Hurt, Lolly Daskal, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 10/21/16

Pointers to stories about St. Louis Area Maps, Walmart, Amazon, Chick-fil-A, and General Mills.

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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