Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 10/26/15

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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 putting the “we” in leadership, how drivers reap benefits of trucking boom, how design thinking uses story and prototyping, five great pieces of advice from Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, and integrating work and life.

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 Theresa Johnston: Mark Leslie: Putting the “We” in Leadership

“Within the first minute of meeting a CEO, Mark Leslie says he can get a pretty good idea of what kind of culture a company has. If the CEO’s vocabulary is all “I, me, mine,” then the organization is based on a proprietorship model; it’s focused on making its executives rich, famous, and successful, he says. If the vocabulary is “we, us, ours,” the company is based on a stewardship model, where the leaders and employees work toward a common goal and then share the financial and psychic rewards.”

From Philipp Gerbert, Christoph Gauger, and Sebastian Steinhäuser: The Double Game of Digital Strategy

“Digital is often compared to electricity. Both are pervasive, and each has been a fuel for broad-based economic transformation. But the comparison is misleading.”

From Elizabeth Doty: Finding the “Herbie” in Your Change Initiative

“For many companies, the biggest threat today is not complacency, but over-reaching. When too much change is happening at once, competing initiatives undermine one another and disconnected priorities put the core business at risk. As one executive recently told me, ‘Our biggest challenge is helping employees remember the names of all the change initiatives under way.'”

Industries and Analysis

From Robbie Whelan and Brian Baskin: Drivers Reap Benefits of Trucking Boom

“Average pay is up 17% in less than two years, as freight haulers fight to meet hiring needs”

From Katherine Peralta: Buying groceries online: A niche market, or the future of shopping?

“As more of us buy books, clothing, even furniture online, will more of us starting buying our groceries that way too? Grocers are betting we will. Walmart, the world’s largest retailer and Charlotte’s biggest grocer by market share, this week started offering free store pickup for online orders in eight cities nationwide, including Charlotte. Harris Teeter has offered it for 15 years. Representatives of Publix and Food Lion told me this week they’re studying the possibility.”

From Suzette Parmley: As pets live longer, business booms

“Pet owners such as Rothrock are a big reason why the pet-care industry is booming. They are projected to spend about $60.6 billion this year on food, toys, grooming and boarding, among other things – up from $58 billion in 2014 – according to the American Pet Products Manufacturing Association, which tracks the industry. Nearly half of this year’s total – $27 billion – will be spent on pet health care, including veterinarian visits, vaccinations, shots, and pills.”

Innovations and Technology

From Paul Sloane: What Should Kodak Have Done?

“Business commentators and writers commonly quote Kodak as an example of a company that was destroyed by disruptive innovation. The usual message is that the big company was just too slow and complacent to react to the obvious tsunami that digital photography represented for the film industry. The facts are dramatic. The company was founded by George Eastman in 1888. It rose to a totally dominant position and was much admired as a technology and business leader.”

From McKinsey & Company: Cracking the digital code: McKinsey Global Survey results

“Most companies have yet to realize digital’s full value, and leadership and talent are among the biggest hurdles to success. Those making headway are reshaping strategies, devoting their best people to digital, and keeping them engaged.”

From Chad McAllister: How Design Thinking Uses Story and Prototyping

“While Design Thinking is typically described in 5 steps – empathy, definition, ideation, prototyping, and testing – the approach is best thought of as the dance between storytelling and prototyping. This is the perspective shared by Mark Zeh, former IDEO design leader who is now contributing to innovation at Bose, the audio technology powerhouse. In my interview with Mark, he shared the critical mix of storytelling and prototyping in Design Thinking.”

Women and the Workplace

From Kara Sprague: Wanted: More women in technology

“The founder of Girls Who Code discusses the need for gender diversity in technical fields and ways companies can begin to achieve it.”

From Jena McGregor: Five great pieces of advice from Fortune’s Most Powerful Women

“Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Summit wrapped up Wednesday in Washington, where some 450 executives ranging from General Motors CEO Mary Barra to Gates Foundation CEO Susan Desmond-Hellmann came together to swap stories, ideas and secrets about their careers, their industries and their lives. Of course, they also shared advice to the women in attendance about lessons they learned along the way about getting ahead, taking advantage of opportunities and leading others.”

From Liz Boardman: A winning combination

“Diversity is critical for societal and business reasons in elite sports, some of the last, perceived men’s worlds that have been slow to change.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Jamie Anderson and Ayelet Baron: Achieving “Lifework”

“Jamie Anderson and Ayelet Baron venture beyond the workplace, broadening out the definition of what it means to be successful.”

From Julie Coffman, Priscilla Schenck and Melissa Artabane: Integrating work and life

“For years the conventional wisdom has been that women value career path flexibility more than men. Men just want to get to the top; women want more. But a recent national study by Bain & Company of 1,500 young MBA students and graduates from the country’s top business schools turns those assumptions on their head. Work-life balance is no longer only a woman’s issue. Nearly equal numbers of women and men on the MBA track now plan to prioritize nonwork commitments over career progression (see Figure 1). And both women and men view the tradeoff between their career progression and other life priorities as the biggest obstacle to reaching their career goals (see Figure 2).”

From Lewis Beck: Smart Workplace 2040: The Future of Work

“The world of work has undeniably changed in the last 25 years. Imagine taking a look into the future of the workplace, 25 years from now.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

5 Rules for getting below the surface

Sometimes you need to get below the surface and get to the root of an issue. That’s when you need these five rules.

By and About Leaders: 10/20/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Jeff Immelt, Edward Fenster, Carlos Brito, Brad Hewitt, and Lars Dalgaard.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 10/21/15

Pointers to posts by Michael Bungay Stanier, Karin Hurt, Anne Perschel, Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, and Steve Roesler.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 10/23/15

Pointers to stories about WalMart, Target, Zillow, Borgward, and Volkswagen.

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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