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 freeing your strategy from annual planning, the commercialization of space, the most innovative companies for 2014, The Global Gender Gap Report 2014, and analytics leaders discuss new trends.
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
“Growth initiatives fail for many reasons. The strategy may be flawed, or execution may fall short. Most often, however, initiatives fail because of people and organizational shortcomings. Companies neglect to rally their leadership behind the initiative. They don’t put the right people and capabilities in place. Or they don’t adjust structure and culture to the new initiatives.”
From Stanislav Shekshnia, Kirill Kravchenko, and Nadezda Kokotovic: The Importance of Leadership “Vision”
“Vision is an intangible but critical asset for a CEO to drive high performance.”
“Something happens to successful companies as they grow into behemoths ruling the corporate world: Their strategies are taken prisoner by bureaucratic planning processes, internal battles for scarce resources, external skirmishes to win market share, and intense short-term performance pressures. This creates a void that they fill with lofty statements about their vision, mission, purpose, and goals, while their people are left to grapple with the huge gap between such statements and their own everyday experience. Fifty years after strategy went mainstream in the corporate world, it seems to have lost its power to drive smarter, faster decision making and execution.”
Industries and Analysis
“The Internet has upended innumerable traditional business models. Travel agents. Retail stores. Newspapers (sigh). Yet online dating, which has ballooned into a $2.1 billion industry used by almost 40 percent of dating singles, hasn’t killed one of the most old-fashioned professions of all: matchmakers.”
“By selling a mix of novel and existing products, retailers can optimize their profits; to do so, however, managers must use their salespeople in the right way.”
“In light of the recent explosion of Orbital Sciences Corp.’s Antares rocket and the crash of Virgin Galactic’s SpaceShipTwo, even more attention and questions will be focused on the fledgling commercial space market.”
Innovations and Technology
“By 2030, according to the UN, there will be 41 mega-cities around the world with populations of greater than 10 million people. Not only will these mega-cities control the lion’s share of the world’s global economic and financial resources, they will also largely determine the future of innovation — and that could have a major impact on how we think about America’s hub-and-spoke model of innovation.”
“Three-quarters of the 1,500 global senior innovation executives we surveyed in 2014 reported that innovation is among the top three priorities for their companies. And 61 percent indicated that they are spending more on innovation this year than in 2013. While these numbers are largely consistent with those for 2013, important differences emerge when we look behind the averages at individual industries and countries. Notably, we see sharp shifts in the innovation stance of specific industries, a big change in the industry mix, and a heightened priority on innovation in rapidly developing economies (RDEs).”
Wally’s Comment: You can also link to an interactive guide to the most innovative companies and the full report, both from BCG Perspectives in PDF.
Women and the Workplace
“She noted that psychologists have found that more women than men suffer from something called ‘imposter syndrome’ in which they feel that even if they have achieved a senior role, they are not actually qualified for it or deserving of it.”
“The Global Gender Gap Report, introduced by the World Economic Forum in 2006, provides a framework for capturing the magnitude and scope of gender-based disparities around the world. The index benchmarks national gender gaps on economic, political, education- and health-based criteria and provides country rankings that allow for effective comparison across regions and income groups and over time.”
From SmartBlogs: Target’s Kim Strong: Promoting women leaders through mentoring, connecting and engaging
“Even in retail, an industry that might more often be associated with women rather than men, women executives are hard to come by. But Kim Strong has navigated her way to the top, becoming Target’s first vice president with diversity inclusion in the title.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“It’s one thing for a CEO to talk about empowering employees. It’s quite another for the CEO to embrace a process that intentionally takes some power out of his or her hands.”
“A new era of Taylorization has begun, thanks to the widespread penetration of technology at work. HR has evolved into people analytics, and talent management has become the organizational guinea pig for big data. The hope, at least for cutting-edge bosses, is that technology will enable them to measure, predict, and manage employees’ job performance, not just in call centers and manufacturing plants, but also in creative, complex, and knowledge-intensive jobs.”
“The discussion revolved around how organizations are deriving value from talent analytics, their use of methods, models and technologies, and trends for the future. Here is a recap of a few key themes from the discussion.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
If you’re a boss, a big part of your job is balancing competing priorities. They’re all important and there are always trade-offs.
Pointers to pieces by and about Emma Watts, Laurie Ann Goldman, Aaron Levie, Michelle Munson, and Bob Lutz.
Pointers to posts by Kate Nasser, Karin Hurt, Mary Jo Asmus, Chris Edmonds, and Steve Roesler
Pointers to stories about AIG, Feetures!, Google, Amazon, and Mars Inc
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