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 learning to apply data science to business problems, traditional mall anchors are fading away, robot helpers are on the rise, nice women finish first when they ask the right questions, and even millennials need middle managers.
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
“This past semester I was involved in an interesting course at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, – Analytics Labs (A-Lab). A-Lab’s objective is to teach students how to use data sets and analytics to address real-world business problems. Companies submit project proposals prior to the start of the class, including the business problem to be addressed and the data on which the project will be based. Students are then matched with the project they’re most interested in and grouped into teams of 3-4 students.”
“It’s no secret that digital technology has transformed the business landscape in ways few could have anticipated even five short years ago. What’s new is that the technologies and solutions that once seemed far-fetched are rapidly becoming table stakes in most industries.”
“Many organizations include the phrase ‘forward thinking’ in their core values or vision statements, but few have a formalized process for this practice.”
Industries and Analysis
“The American middle class is disappearing, and with it, the mall anchor store.”
“Lackluster demand for hauling freight curbs big-rig purchases; dealer inventories are bulging.”
“As anyone in manufacturing knows, digitization, automation, changes in customer demand, employee demographics, and expansion are transforming the industry. Collectively, these megatrends are referred to as ‘Manufacturing 4.0,’ and are considered no less than the next industrial revolution. What is less known is how poorly manufacturing leaders are keeping up with production system advances. Recently, I toured an enormous General Motors Company V6 and V8 engine assembly plant. The plant is fully loaded with high-tech robotics lifting and setting heavy engine blocks in place with ease, machine-to-machine communication capability, and real time data access for teams and their leaders.”
Innovation and Technology
“You may not have unwrapped a robot on Christmas, but your new year will be filled with artificial intelligence. Facebook, Google, Microsoft and other technology companies, large and small, are making rapid advancements with virtual personal assistants that can solve problems and even complete tasks.”
“Our cars, our homes, our appliances and even our toys: Things around us are going to keep getting smarter. In 2016, we’ll entrust even more of our lives and their intimate details to machines — not to mention the companies that run them. Are we ready for that?”
“Often when we think of innovation, we call to mind those projects that fly below the radar within the enterprise, only to surface at some point to loud applause, fully formed and functioning. These are the make or break innovations that change companies or industries. In the 20th Century, these innovations were kept well away from the core business as they could not be easily accommodated within the functions, structures and business models of the enterprise – and would only be brought into full view of the world when the conditions were right.”
Women and the Workplace
From Jena McGregor: The gender wage gap isn’t just unfair. It also ups the odds women get anxiety or depression.
“Studies have long shown that women are more likely to suffer from depression and anxiety than men. And attempts have long been made to explain it, citing everything from biological differences to the challenges women disproportionately face, such as balancing the additional child care and family responsibilities often expected of them with their own careers. But a new study by researchers at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health points to another possible culprit: The gender wage gap, and the potential underlying discrimination and biases that may go with it”
“Fran has the ultimate winning combination — she’s successful and nice. How did that happen? Here’s Fran’s answer to that question, in her words:”
“At the pace women are joining corporate boards, it could take a very long time for women to hold as many seats as men. How long? A recent study from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found that it could take four decades to reach parity on corporate boards, even if men and women immediately start joining boards at the same rate.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“There are two concepts guaranteed to divide HR opinion around the future of work. They are: the sharing or collaborative economy; portfolio careers. In theory they are both fine and dandy. The reality is something different.”
“Once again, middle managers appear to be on the wrong side of history. We constantly hear that millennials – already the most-represented generation in the U.S. labour force – abhor conventional bosses. Many millennials reputedly believe that they are already task-competent and can work autonomously, guided by their own internal sense of purpose.”
“Digital and robotic technologies offer us both a bounty of productivity as well as welcome relief from myriad repeatable tasks. Unfortunately, as our economy is currently configured, both of these seeming miracles are also big problems. How do we maintain market prices in a world with surplus productivity? And, even more to the point, how do we employ people when robots are taking all the jobs?”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
All kinds of companies are eliminating the annual performance appraisal. Then what?
My pick of the articles and posts peering through the fog into the future.
Pointers to pieces by and about Sam Dushey, Dilshad and Barinder Hothi, Rick Nini, Doug Boles, and Ann Cairns.
Pointers to posts by Ed Batista, Mary Jo Asmus, Marcella Bremer, Lolly Daskal, and Nina Simosko.
Pointers to stories about Whataburger, Battlefrog, Target, Lutron, and T-Mobile.
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