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 reflections on the development of implementable, winning strategies simple rules for business strategy, the auto industry’s real challenge, overcoming hurdles to scaling innovation, when women need to act more like men at work, and is hierarchy really necessary?
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
“I recently read an article by strategy consultant and writer Ken Favaro which nicely explained how to best think about strategy in today’s business environment. ‘Many business leaders subscribe to the classic definition of strategy as a set of actions designed to achieve an overall aim,’ wrote Favaro in The Trouble with Putting Goals Ahead of Strategy, published in strategy+business in 2015. ‘In other words, they believe strategy starts with a goal. But for companies that have implemented winning strategies, that’s not how it typically happens.’ Goals and strategies serve very different purposes.”
“No slide deck, online course or workshop will change someone overnight. Only habitual reflection can lead to change.”
“The book Simple Rules by Donald Sull and Kathleen Eisenhardt has a very interesting chapter on strategy, which tries to answer the following question: How do you translate your broad objectives into a strategy that can provide guidelines for your employees from day to day?”
Industries and Analysis
“While automakers pour millions into winning the autonomous vehicle race, they run the risk of ignoring the more imminent threats that could sink them before the technology becomes pervasive.”
From Klaus Neuhaus and Michael Schertler: How Industrial Machinery Makers Are Capturing the Digital Opportunity
“New digital technologies are changing the way businesses operate in nearly every industry. However, few industries will be transformed as thoroughly as industrial machinery, where digital technologies are not merely changing the way products are sold, but how companies operate. Products themselves are being dramatically altered—in some cases expanding from a piece of machinery needing only occasional maintenance and upgrades to a complete service both requiring and taking advantage of automatic updates to improve performance.”
From Thomas Baker, David Gee, Christopher Millican, and Lee Pearson: Rewiring Utilities for the Power Market of the Future
“Utilities are under intense disruptive pressure. In the 20th century, successful utilities typically operated as integrated, centralized monoliths catering to a captive customer base that had few alternatives for power. They enjoyed high demand growth and focused on long-term capital investments to expand their networks. But in the past few years, sweeping market changes have upended this traditional model. In the future, utilities will have to contend with a portfolio of decentralized and intermittent energy sources, as well as with stagnant demand, a slew of new technologies, and consumers whose interactions with other industries have accustomed them to a higher level of service and responsiveness. This dizzying array of changes is the result of at least six distinct factors:”
Innovation and Technology
From Olaf Rehse, Stefan Hoffmann, and Christoph Kosanke: Tapping into the Transformative Power of Service 4.0
“Service companies lag far behind industrial companies in applying technology to improve their operational efficiency and to enhance customer satisfaction.”
“Five years after its Jeopardy! victory, IBM’s cognitive computing system is through playing games. It’s now a hired gun for thousands of companies in at least 20 industries. A Q&A with the Watson boss.”
“To put it simply, everyone has good ideas — and some have great ideas. But the imperative of any innovation program is in its ability to scale and realize its financial promise. We call this ‘crossing the chasm.’”
Women and the Workplace
“Diversity and gender equality programmes are now a well-established feature of leading employers’ human resources strategies. Supporting women to remain in the workplace and achieve senior leadership positions is regarded increasingly as not just ‘right’ but also profitable – there is a business case for creating and maintaining a diverse workforce. However, the focus in these discussions and strategies is predominantly, if not exclusively, on women in the workplace. My research highlights the importance of complementing this with the experience of women who, more often than not, are of less interest to workplaces: that is, those women who have left their jobs, and specifically after having children.”
From Allyson Zimmermann: The more men know about work gender inequality, the more they act as advocates
“In the workplace and society, being male has innate advantages, even though this ‘male privilege’ can be difficult to see and recognise. This privilege is rooted in organisational talent management systems, which may be biased in ways that disadvantage women and promote people who mirror the current senior leadership team. It can be hard for men to accept that they are in a privileged position by virtue of their gender.”
“I recently had the chance to interview a lot of women who made it to the C-Suite. In doing so, I found myself reflecting on how their journey compared to my own. While our industries and personal paths have been very different, there are some common themes in our rises to the top. Here are the five most prevalent things I’ve observed thus far regarding what women need to do to make it to the C-suite:”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“In two previous pieces, we looked at the groundbreaking research of Frederic Laloux into the history of organizational evolution and his identification of a revolutionary new organizational model he calls the ‘Teal’ organization. This new model is a radical departure from all prior organizational forms because it eschews the traditional top-down hierarchy and prefers instead the dynamics of the peer-to-peer network.”
“After taking a job with Mavens, a Chicago-based company that builds cloud-based software for health care companies around the globe, Dunford was allowed to travel Europe and North America looking for the place he wanted to call home, working remotely every step of the way.”
“In our work, we found that an ‘owner’—either a loyal employee or customer who takes responsibility for improving relationships, products, and processes as well as referring new employee candidates or customers—can be worth more than a hundred ‘renters—’those who are only involved with the organization to complete one or more transactions.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
School hasn’t changed much in the last fifty years. That’s very scary.
My review of the classic, Up the Organization: How to Stop the Corporation from Stifling People and Strangling Profits by Robert Townsend.
Pointers to pieces by and about Leonard Lauder, Mark Jansen, Jim Whitehurst, Mary Mack, and Randall Stephenson.
Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Suzi McAlpine, Kevin Eikenberry, Lolly Daskal, and Mary Jo Asmus.
Pointers to stories about Coca-Cola, Facebook, Mavens, Samsung, and Google.
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.