Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 1/12/15

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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 what really matters in leadership, predictions for 2015, the myth of the tech whiz who quits college to start a company, lessons on women and power dressing, and counter-intuitive findings on the use of technology at work.

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 Roy Ling: Unlock Your Leadership Passion

“Shedding your natural advantages can liberate you and unlock your passion.”

From Claudio Feser, Fernanda Mayol, and Ramesh Srinivasan: Decoding leadership: What really matters

“New research suggests that the secret to developing effective leaders is to encourage four types of behavior.”

From Louise Gregory: 3 Ways to Boost Revenue Through Increased Employee Engagement

“Company performance can be directly linked with employee engagement, with new data in an Aon Hewitt survey suggesting that higher levels of engagement breed improved worker performance. The survey also revealed that employers and businesses with the highest quantifiable levels of workers outperform average companies by 6% in sales growth, 4% in operating margin and 6% in total shareholder return.”

Industries and Analysis

From David Pitt: Piano stores closing amid declining interest from kids

“When Jim Foster opened his piano store 30 years ago, he had 10 competitors selling just pianos. When he closed Foster Family Music in late December, not one was still selling pianos in the Quad-Cities area of Iowa and Illinois.”

From Rick Montgomery: The gift card economy is so simple and yet so mysterious

“The U.S. economy has functioned just fine on gift card currency since Christmas. These last several days, wise consumers wasted no time redeeming that IOU from Best Buy or Home Depot, courtesy of cousin Carl.”

From Jan Rogers Kniffen: The Past as Prologue

“I recently spent some time looking 25 years into the future of retailing. Coincidentally, I played this game almost 25 years ago, exactly. I think it was July of 1989 when I was an executive at the May Department Stores Company.”

Innovations and Technology

From Shama Hyder: Top 10 Business Predictions for 2015

“2015 is poised to be an exciting year for business. There are so many changes on the horizon, and if you heed my predictions, you can gain an advantage over your competition.”

From Jon Swartz: Samsung CEO sees big things for Internet of Things

“Samsung Electronics CEO BK Yoon put it simply: The Internet of Things is ‘ready to go.'”

From Michael Goodwin: The Myth of the Tech Whiz Who Quits College to Start a Company

“There are three common myths about tech founders: they are extremely young, they are technically trained, and they’ve often graduated from a prominent local university. The logic then follows that to accelerate the growth of a local tech sector, cities need to actively cultivate people who fit this profile and encourage them to start a business. But on all three counts, the data tell a different story.”

Women and the Workplace

From Katie Kuehner-Hebert: Manufacturers Are Targeting Women to Fill Jobs

“Companies such as Harley Davidson Motor Co. in Milwaukee, Illinois Tool Works Inc. in Glenview, Ill. and Essve Tech Inc., a manufacturer of corrugated steel pipes in Alpharetta, Ga., are actively recruiting women to fill the shortage caused by a growth spurt in U.S. manufacturing due to lower energy costs, reshoring a more competitive labor market as Baby Boomers continue to retire. The U.S. Department of Labor estimated last spring that 241,000 factory jobs remained unfilled.”

From Lisa Miller: Lessons on Women and Power Dressing

“Sometimes I count the ways in which I am blessed, and one of them is that I get to wear jeans and a T-shirt to the office. I’m a writer, not a member of Congress, so the bar is low — anything better than fleece and I’m dressing for success. Still, I settled on my work uniform for the same reasons that other professional women settle on theirs: It’s reliably flattering; it’s comfortable; it meshes with my work environment; and the various components can be endlessly mixed and matched, which means I don’t have to expend a single extra brain cell figuring out what to wear during that heinous morning hour when I’m also walking the dog, packing lunch, making breakfast, hustling a child out the door, consuming my morning news, and returning all the email that came in overnight.”

From Mukesh Eswaran: Why we think the way we do about men and women and work

“Gender differences in behavior have economic consequences. To some extent, these differences have evolutionary origins and, therefore, may be considered innate. But to a larger extent than most of us recognize, those differences also stem from culture and socialization. Consider the plow.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Bob Sutton: My Organizational Behavior Class: The Current Iteration

“The first time I taught an introductory organizational behavior class was in 1980 or 1981. I was a second-year doctoral student in organizational psychology at The University of Michigan. I had no teaching experience (except for one guest lecture I had given to a large undergrad class — it was terrible; harried and dull). Yet that didn’t stop the the Michigan Business School from giving me the chance to teach the class to some 60 students. I sure learned a lot that year.”

From China Gorman: Use of Technology at Work: Counter-intuitive Findings

“A recent Pew Research Center report examines the impact that technology has on workers and provides some counter-intuitive data. ‘Digital Life in 2025: Technology’s Impact on Workers’ looks at a representative sample of adult Internet users and the role or impact of digital technology on their work lives.”

From James R. Hagerty: The $140,000-a-Year Welding Job

“Justin Friend ’s parents have doctoral degrees and have worked as university lecturers and researchers. So Mr. Friend might have been expected to head for a university after graduating from high school in Bryan, Texas, five years ago. Instead, he attended Texas State Technical College in Waco, and received a two-year degree in welding. In 2013, his first full year as a welder, his income was about $130,000, more than triple the average annual wages for welders in the U.S. In 2014, Mr. Friend’s income rose to about $140,000.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

3 Questions to help you analyze performance problems

Diagnosing performance problems is part of every boss’s day. Here are three questions to help diagnose performance problems quickly and fairly

By and About Leaders: 1/6/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Christopher Nassetta, Christian Rudder, Patrick Niemann, and Maynard Webb. Plus productivity tips from CEOs.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 1/7/15

Pointers to posts by Steve Roesler, Julie Winkle Giulioni, Harold Jarche, Chris Edmonds, and Jesse Lyn Stoner

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 1/9/15

Pointers to stories about Galeria Kaufhof, Michael Jeffries, Wasslers, Little Pete’s, and Timberland.

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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