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 building capacity to weather change. how artificial intelligence will redefine management, how Target and Amazon are changing the rules of retailing, and the productivity problem.
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
“Change is a constant in every industry. It’s indisputable that the number of factors any business must contend with on a daily basis, and the velocity at which they appear, is greater than ever before.”
“You’ve probably heard people compare the Fortune 500 from a few decades ago with today, noting how fallen greats like Sears, American Motors, and Zenith Electronics have been eclipsed by innovators. The reason seems clear enough. We’ve seen considerable technological and regulatory change over the past 50 years, so the rules of the game keep changing in business and there appears to be no end in sight. In fact, globalization may even be accelerating the rate of change we see around us.”
From Vegard Kolbjørnsrud, Richard Amico, and Robert J. Thomas: How Artificial Intelligence Will Redefine Management
“How can managers — from the front lines to the C-suite — thrive in the age of AI? To find out, we surveyed 1,770 managers from 14 countries and interviewed 37 executives in charge of digital transformation at their organizations. Using this data, we identified five practices that successful managers will need to master.”
Industries and Analysis
“Big box retailers are getting smaller. Some are being compelled to do so by the market: Circuit City and Sports Authority liquidated. Others are shutting down less-trafficked locations. And some are doing so by design. Literally.”
“Wharton’s Peter Fader and Syracuse’s Amanda Nicholson discuss recent moves by Target and Amazon.”
““Friction” is a buzzword probably created by some tech-geek or nerdy consultant. And every time I hear or read the word I feel … well, friction, so much so that I want to throw up. I hate these buzzwords, all coming out of the technology and digital driven world we now live in. The “last mile” is another one, describing the last part of delivery or shipping fulfillment. Using these terms in discussing commerce is considered cool. In fact, I know of some millennials who toss techie buzzwords into presentations simply to force older executives, like myself, to reveal their lack of coolness by having to ask what the hell the words mean.”
Innovation and Technology
“Organizations of all shapes and sizes are investing heavily in data and analytics, yet few trust the resulting findings.”
“Shifting from physical to virtual data platforms can reduce companies’ costs and improve sustainability.”
“But the reality is that our relentless focus on the importance of big data is often misleading. Yes, in some situations, deriving value from data requires having an immense amount of that data. But the key for innovators across industries is that the size of the data isn’t the most critical factor — having the right data is.”
Women and the Workplace
“More than half of investors surveyed said that an entrepreneur’s commitment to diversity was the least of their concerns when deciding whether to fund a company, according to the nationwide survey of more than 600 LinkedIn members. And 70 percent of startup founders said their company has no program in place to increase employee diversity.”
“For those who have never attended this conference, it is difficult to describe the inspiration that is GHC. Our world is changing rapidly. Technology influences every aspect of our lives. Fifteen thousand people from more than 80 countries who attended this year’s conference offered an amazing view into the incredible roles that women play in technology across the globe, and underscored the importance of building a diverse and inclusive environment in technology.”
“She isn’t the only one put off by the idea of gender quotas. As The Washington Post reports, many American businesswomen believe that quotas could lead to women being perceived as “token” board members, rather than having attained the position solely by merit.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Work as strictly business is an outdated idea: office friendships serve a growing number of functions in our lives, write Amy E. Colbert, Joyce E. Bono and Radostina (Ina) K. Purvanova”
“As economist Robert Gordon explains in The Rise and Fall of American Growth, productivity growth soared between 1920 and 1970, but has sputtered since then. What’s more, he predicts that the productivity picture will get even worse in the decades to come, making it even harder to raise living standards.”
“The first US bank to install an automatic teller machine (ATM) was a branch of Chemical Bank on Long Island in 1969. After relatively slow growth during the 1970s, there were about 100,000 ATMs across the US by 1990, a total that has now risen to about 400,000. So here’s the question: During the rise of ATM machines in US banking, did the number of bank tellers rise or fall?”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Our discussions of leadership have begun to sound like theological debates.
Kevin Ashton’s book, How to Fly a Horse, starts out strong, but then tries too hard to be original and the only voice of truth.
Pointers to pieces by and about Randall Stephenson, Indra Nooyi, Jim Beckman, Bill McDermott, and Austin McChord.
Pointers to posts by Art Petty, Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Karin Hurt, Mary Jo Asmus, and Lolly Daskal.
Pointers to stories about Wells Fargo, Whole Foods, Newell Brands, Tome, and Apple.
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