Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 11/23/15

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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 five lessons in leadership from Sir Alex Ferguson, creative disruption in retail design, why smart people struggle to be innovative, a CEO’s guide to gender equality, and the five traits Google found that its most successful teams have in common.

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 Jim Hemerling, Diana Dosik, and Shaheer Rizvi: A Leader’s Guide to ‘Always-On’ Transformation

“Welcome to the era of ‘always-on’ transformation. Across virtually all industries, unprecedented disruption and market turbulence—due to globalization, technological innovation, changing regulations, and other factors—are challenging established business models and practices, and requiring organizations to launch more frequent transformations in response. To keep up, companies need to undertake many different types of transformation. (See Exhibit 1.) Any one of these, or several, can be under way at a company at any given time. BCG’s research shows that 85 percent of companies that have undertaken transformations over the past decade have pursued more than one type, with the most common being organizational, operational, and rapid financial improvements.”

From Walter Frick: Are Successful CEOs Just Lucky?

“A series of recent papers help answer that question, by quantifying the roles of luck, ability, and experience in CEOs’ success. Together they suggest two conclusions: first, no single trait or skill seems to explain CEO performance; and second, luck plays a very large role.”

From Bill Snyder: Five Lessons in Leadership from Manchester United’s Former Manager

“A retired Scottish footballer and a Silicon Valley venture capitalist don’t seem like the likeliest of friends and collaborators. But Alex Ferguson, the long-time manager of the ultra-successful Manchester United team, and Michael Moritz, the chairman of Sequoia Capital, have more in common than you might suspect.”

Industries and Analysis

From the Economist: A sticky situation

“American forces are freeing a Canadian icon from captivity.”

From John Schmid: Wisconsin’s century-old model of forestry comes under pressure

“During the past decade, Wisconsin’s business-driven model of renewable forestry, along with the methodical replanting and regeneration that fueled it, has begun to unravel on multiple fronts:”

From Anthony Robins: Creative Disruption in Retail Design

“As the digital tsunami continues to upend traditional notions of retailing, brick-and-mortar retail survives, and in many cases thrives, among the swirling waters of change. It is now pureplay ecommerce brands that are threatened by more nimble omnichannel retailers. Alibaba’s recent $4.6B investment in electronics retailer Suning and its earlier investment in department store operator Intime Retail Group are recent defensive reactions to this changing environment. But as omnichannel retailing becomes the dominant model, the role of the store is being redefined. And with the ease of buying online anytime, anywhere, one has to ask, ‘What is a store for?'”

Innovation and Technology

From Jane Williams: Disruptive Innovation in Mature Industries

“Unable to compete with startups on focus and speed, large established organisations are considering ways to integrate new disruptive innovation with their core assets. Whether this is best done through acquisition, corporate incubators and accelerators or venture capital funds, depends on a corporation’s makeup, but as a panel of four very different CEOs at INSEAD’s recent Global Business Leaders Conference in Abu Dhabi agreed, no matter how successful the company or stable the industry, firms that don’t prepare themselves for disruption risk extinction.”

From Chris Thomason: Why Smart People Struggle to be Innovative

“You must have a level of knowledge and expertise in something that your employer values – which is why they offered you a job in the first place. Unfortunately, it’s this knowledge and expertise that’s often stopping you from being innovative.”

From Kobi Gershoni: Analytics for Innovation: Why You Need to Read the External Signals

“How can you use big data to increase your chances of success at the fuzzy front-end through big data analytics? At the recent IE Product Innovation Summit in Boston, we shared our firm’s learnings to date and showed how it can work in a case study on Keurig.”

Women and the Workplace

From Jessica Grose: Children don’t ruin women’s careers — husbands do

“A new study of Harvard Business School graduates from HBS’s Robin Ely and Colleen Ammerman and Hunter College sociologist Pamela Stone shows that high-achieving women are not meeting the career goals they set for themselves in their 20s. It’s not because they’re ‘opting out’ of the workforce when they have kids, but because they’re allowing their partners’ careers to take precedence over their own.”

From Melissa Wylie: The Business Journal’s recent survey shows more women millennial women are becoming business owners

“When it comes to increasing the number of women business owners, millennials are making strides. A recent survey from The Business Journals showed 45 percent of millennial owners of small to mid-size business are women, compared to 25 of baby boomer owners.”

From McKinsey & Company: A CEO’s guide to gender equality

“The case for gender equality is strong. Why is progress so slow?”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Andrew Woods: The Humanity of High Tech: Re-Connecting the Workplace

“From the phone in our pocket to the laptop on our desk to the proliferation of pads, screens and devices, the technologies at play speak to an ever greater potential for connectedness and innovation. Putting those technologies to good use is another matter entirely—and one which has seen technology too often cast as the nemesis of workplace productivity.”

From Rich Feloni: Google has found that its most successful teams have 5 traits in common

“Following the success of Project Oxygen, an internal study of what it takes to be a top manager at Google that started in 2008 and whose findings are still used today, the company undertook another study, this one of team dynamics.”

From Brigg Patten: Infuse New Life into Employee Training with Microlearning

“Want to propel yourself far ahead of your competition? Then it’s time to make use of new training methods for both yourself and your employees. This includes mastering microlearning to ensure training programs are effective and engaging. Microlearning reorganizes training programs into several short courses. These bite-size lessons help employees train for specific jobs and implement skills immediately. The possibilities of new learning techniques are immense and can be cost effective. Even better, mobile is the perfect platform for microlearning”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Workforce for pointing me to this story

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Delegation: Doing it right

Delegation is only one of the ways you can assign work to your team members. It’s not for everyone or every situation.

By and About Leaders: 11/17/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Karen Firestone, Bruce Roberts, Gene Amdahl, Colleen Moorehead, and Mark Parker.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 11/18/15

Pointers to posts by Anne Perschel, Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Art Petty, Nina Simosko, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 11/20/15

Pointers to stories about Blue Nile, Front Edge Publishing, Saladworks, Intuit, and b. good.

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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