Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 1/18/16

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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 the real reason good managers are so rare, five that retailers are suffering in a changing retail world, four ways for CEOs to boost innovation, the more women earn, the less healthy they feel, and three trends in e-learning that can help businesses craft better training programs.

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 Sally Blount: The Real Reason Good Managers Are So Rare

“The MPW Insider network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question:What’s the most difficult part of being a leader? is written by Sally Blount, dean of Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management.”

From Martin Reeves, Simon Levin, and Daichi Ueda: The Biology of Corporate Survival

“Drawing on their research at the intersection of business strategy, biology, and complex systems, BCG’s Martin Reeves and Daichi Ueda, along with Princeton biologist Simon Levin, describe six principles that confer robustness in what’s known as “complex adaptive systems”—principles that are directly applicable to business.”

Wally’s Comment: The same authors have a similar article with the same title on the Harvard Business Review site.

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story on the HBR site.

From Laurence Capron: AB InBev’s Acquisition Formula

“The beer giant applies three core principles to swallowing its competitors.”

Industries and Analysis

From the Economist: To the Maxx

“THE downtown Manhattan store of T.J. Maxx, with its dreary fluorescent lighting and haphazard displays, is about as glamorous as the average petrol station. Yet to retail analysts, and bargain-hunters, it is thrilling. At the end of one bedraggled rack, a red jacket offers a hint of the store’s appeal. The coat, from Michael Kors, an American designer, is on sale at $99.99. A comparable coat would cost $140 elsewhere, the label boasts.”

From Robert Spector: Seattle: America’s Capital of Retail

“What do Nordstrom, Starbucks, Amazon, Costco, and Recreational Equipment, Inc. (REI) have in common? They are all world-class retailers based in Seattle.”

From Hadley Malcolm: These 5 retailers are suffering in a changing retail world

“More shoppers are mining their phones and the web for deals and flocking to off-price chains to save a buck. They’re also choosing stores that can turn around stylish merchandise fast and favoring specialty merchandise such as comfortable and stylish athletic gear. The shift is making business challenging for some traditional retailers. Even as stores typically on solid footing, including Macy’s and Nordstrom, have scrambled to keep up with the shift in shopping habits, they’re finding it difficult to maintain an edge. Here are five retailers facing challenges in 2016:”

Innovation and Technology

From Dale Buss: 4 Ways for CEOs to Boost Innovation

“Innovation has become a leading strategy for corporate growth, and increasingly CEOs must figure out how their companies can do it better, quicker and faster. That was the conclusion of the tenth annual global survey of the State of Innovation by the Boston Consulting Group. In it, 79% of respondents ranked innovation as either the top-most priority or a top-three priority at their company, the highest percentage since the firm began asking the question in 2005, when 66% said innovation was such a priority.”

From Mike Dalton: What’s the Strategy Driving Your Innovation?

“Here are six key questions to ask in order to create a clear market-driven new product strategy for your company’s innovation efforts.”

From Rebecca Smith: Demand for PCs drops by a record amount

“Shipments flagged for 2015 as smartphones reigned supreme, but PCs still have their place.”

Women and the Workplace

From Kelly Stickel: Remodista launches its 2016 list of women to watch in retail disruption

“With great enthusiasm, Remodista is launching a premier list of 80 top Women To Watch in Retail Disruption. An influential group of thinkers experimenting in online and brick-and-mortar retail, this list celebrates an extraordinary group of women who are solving business problems in the areas of operations, marketing, commerce, supply chain, logistics and globalization.”

From Abigail Tracy: Survey: 60% Of Women In Tech Report Unwanted Sexual Advances In The Workplace

“Stories and even court cases about the uphill battles women working technology face are nothing new. Now, a new survey puts data behind the challenges women in Silicon Valley face.”

From Meghan FitzGerald: The More Women Earn, the Less Healthy They Feel

“Are executive women gaining power at the expense of their health? Or do their high earnings and advanced degrees protect them from unhealthy outcomes?”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Frank Kalman: Building a Habitat Fit for SurveyMonkey

“Technology company SurveyMonkey designed its office to account for employees’ shifting preferences around flexibility, collaboration and fun.”

From Aaron De Smet, Susan Lund, and William Schaninger: Organizing for the future

“This coming digitization of the workforce—and the powerful economics of automation—will require a sweeping rethink of organizational structures, influence, and control. The current premium on speed will continue, to be sure, even as a new organizational challenge arises: the destabilization of the way people work.”

From Ryan Eudy: Three Trends In E-Learning That Can Help Businesses Craft Better Training Programs

“The reality is that most learning technologies have been around for a long time. The challenge for entrepreneurs and business owners is not finding the latest, hottest tech solution. The challenge is answering the question: Now that these technologies have matured, how can they be crafted into effective learning programs that achieve business goals? We can see how the industry is addressing that question through three technologies: gamification, short-form video and mobile learning.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Learning from sports (or not)

Sports are fun, but they’re different from business in some important ways.

The Five Best Business Books I Read in 2015

Here’s a list of the best business books I read in 2015.

By and About Leaders: 1/12/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Kent Thiry, Luvleen Sidhu, Rick Crossland, Joy Mangano, and Som Seif.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 1/13/16

Pointers to posts by Tanmay Vora, Susan Mazza, Karin Hurt, Julie Winkle Giulioni, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 1/15/16

Pointers to stories about Chipotle, Whole Foods, Joy Global, U-Bee-Well, and Finish Line.

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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