Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 11/9/15

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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 reinventing the company, reinventing the trucking industry, organizational models for breakthrough innovation, why women compete with each other, why flexible working is good for business, and why an “attitude of gratitude” isn’t enough.

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 the Economist: Reinventing the company

“NOW that Uber is muscling in on their trade, London’s cabbies have become even surlier than usual. Meanwhile, the world’s hoteliers are grappling with Airbnb, and hardware-makers with cloud computing. Across industries, disrupters are reinventing how the business works. Less obvious, and just as important, they are also reinventing what it is to be a company.”

From Shana Lynch: What Is It Like to Be Owned by Warren Buffett?

“A new survey reveals Berkshire’s management style.”

From Sarah Cliffe: “Leadership Qualities” vs. Competence: Which Matters More?

“There’s sometimes a disconnect between how we talk about leadership qualities (we tend to use words like authority, power, and emotional intelligence) and what we actually require from the people leading teams and other working groups (arguably, competence and a deep knowledge of the specific work that needs to get done). In a forthcoming Journal of Applied Psychology article, researchers from Stanford and Erasmus University explore which set of qualities matters most to team performance. The paper also looks at when power differences contribute to team success, and when they damage it.”

Industries and Analysis

From Kari Alldredge, Puneet Newaskar, and Kelly Ungerman: The digital future of consumer-packaged-goods companies

“After lagging behind other sectors with rocketing online sales, consumer-packaged-goods players are at an e-commerce tipping point. Here’s how they can succeed.”

From Jack Nicas and Laura Stevens: Startups Accelerate Efforts to Reinvent Trucking Industry

“Companies aim to leverage drivers’ smartphones to quickly connect them with nearby companies looking to ship goods.”

From Dave Merrefield: Getting Defensive

“When you’re under assault, build a bigger fortress. That’s what supermarkets in the U.S. are doing now as they come under siege from deep-discount stores, membership clubs and mass marketers on one front and upscale specialty stores on the other flank.”

Innovations and Technology

From Art Kleiner and Juliette Powell: Bran Ferren on the Art of Innovation

“A celebrated proprietor of R&D ateliers explains how companies can cultivate the rare people who create miracles.”

From Eric D. Brown: Start small with Big Data

“In fact, if your organization is just getting started in the world of big data, it makes sense to find a few smaller problems to try to solve. These small problems allow you to tweak your systems and processes to make sure you are gathering, storing and analyzing data correctly. These small problems also let you build up the appropriate skills within your teams to ensure when the big problems come along, your teams are ready to handle them.”

From Ralph Ohr: Organizational Models for Breakthrough Innovation

“As we have suggested earlier, innovation activities that are radical or disruptive in nature, should be separated from incremental innovation around a company’s established core business.”

Women and the Workplace

From Jena McGregor: How I learned to be more confident

“A conversation with GE’s first female vice chair, Beth Comstock.”

From Denise Graveline: How women can get past ‘meeting shutdown’

“Could there still be a lingering habit of trying to express our opinions in a certain way that doesn’t ‘offend’ or ‘scare’ men?”

From Emily V. Gordon: Why Women Compete With Each Other

“Women compete, compare, undermine and undercut one another — at least that is the prevailing notion of how we interact. It’s considered exceptional, or at least noteworthy, that famous women like Amy Schumer and Beyoncé and Taylor Swift acknowledge that other women are talented, and frequently work with those other women without, in most cases, being catty about it. This makes them feminist heroes. Feeling on guard around other ladies is normal for a lot of women, and it’s exhausting. I exhausted myself for years trying to understand how other girls could have gone from my closest allies to my scariest foes. I write an advice column and get a fair number of questions from women asking how to handle not trusting other women, so I know I’m not alone.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Hannah Marsh: Why flexible working is good for business

“Previously looked down on by those who value in-office presence over employee output, flexible working is becoming a popular option as businesses adapt to new ways of working. But why isn’t it more widespread?”

From Michael Collins: To Solve the Skilled Workforce Shortage, Manufacturing Executives Must Respect People Who Work With Their Hands

“Working with your hands — whether in highly skilled manufacturing jobs or the trades — includes a set of skills that should be honored and supported. To recruit the skilled workers they need, manufacturers should recognize that. But if manufacturers continue to offshore these jobs, my advice to young people is to look to the trades for a high paying, secure job that can’t be outsourced.”

From Manfred Kets de Vries: Finding Balance In Business Education

“To create responsible leaders of the future, business schools need to adopt a more holistic approach to education.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

The Practice of Gratitude

Gratitude is good for you, but an “attitude of gratitude” is not enough. You get maximum benefits if you spread it around.

By and About Leaders: 11/3/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Lesa France Kennedy, Dan Calista, Kris Duggan, David Littman, and John Sculley.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 11/4/15

Pointers to posts by Julie Winkle Giulioni, Anne Perschel, Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Kate Nasser, and Chris Edmonds.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 11/6/15

Pointers to stories about Gravity Payments, Target, REI, WebDAM, and Cielo.

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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