Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 12/1/14

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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 every executive needs to know about design, video games are getting respect, forget innovating if you want to create great products, the case for women-only business networks, the post-PC CEO, and learning new things means getting up from your desk.

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 Prashant Agarwal, Mahin Samadani, and Hugo Sarrazin: What every executive needs to know about design

“Meeting ever-increasing consumer expectations requires senior executives to place design at the center of business strategy.”

From Joel Trammell: 3 Top Obstacles Blocking CEO Success

“CEOs have less time than ever today to prove themselves. The average CEO tenure in the U.S. is about five years (according to Challenger, Gray & Christmas), and the Center for Creative Leadership says that 40% of CEOs are fired within their first 18 months on the job.”

From the Economist: The tyranny of the long term

“Let’s not get carried away in bashing short-termism”

Industries and Analysis

From Hayley Tsukayama: Video games are getting respect — as big business, entertainment, creative discipline

“In May, a tournament run by the Electronic Sports League filled Frankfurt’s 35,000-seat Commerzbank-Arena to watch a ‘Defense of the Ancients 2’ tournament — complete with color commentary, star players and a grand prize of more than $200,000. It may be hard to imagine such a thing happening in the United States. But, in fact, 60 percent of Americans play video games, according to the Entertainment Software Association, an industry trade group. That’s more than the percentage of Americans who tuned into the last Super Bowl , pay for cable or subscribe to Netflix.”

From Jessica Distler, Javier Fernandez-Seara, Holger Gottstein, Volker Haemmerle, Stefan Rasch, and Stefan Rohrhofer: Apparel at a Crossroads: The End of Low-Cost-Country Sourcing

“Cheap labor is becoming a rare commodity, and the number of low-cost countries is dwindling. Apparel makers need to get ahead of this trend by assessing what they can do in their existing facilities to generate sustainable efficiency gains, improve their speed to market, and take the pressure off labor cost management.”

From Joerg Niessing and James Walker: Retailers: Who Needs Black Friday When You Have Big Data?

“Arbitrarily slashed prices don’t necessarily win greater wallet share. Retailers need to bring ecosystem thinking to the store shelf.”

Innovations and Technology

From Wharton: Nurturing Innovation: Does Geography Matter?

“Hardly a day goes by without a company or regional government announcing an innovation center. But this may not be the best way to kindle creativity, writes Roopa Unnikrishnan. Unnikrishnan is the founder of Center10 Consulting, which focuses on innovation, strategy, talent and organizational change. She has more than 15 years’ experience in roles at Fortune 500 companies.”

From Wharton: IBM’s Brad Becker on the Promise of Cognitive Computing

“Knowledge at Wharton spoke with Brad Becker, chief design officer for IBM Watson, about current and future applications of cognitive computing and how he hopes to make computers ‘more humane.’ An edited version of the conversation follows.”

From Wharton: Want to Create Great Software Products? Don’t Try to Innovate

“Ben Galbraith, vice president of global products for Walmart, is surprised at how many people still believe that the best way to come up with new software is to ‘get a bunch of nerds and put them in a room until they produce a product.’ In reality, he said at the recent BizTech(@)Wharton conference, successful software development requires active involvement by business leaders”

Women and the Workplace

From Caroline McMillan Portillo: Lynn Tilton of Patriarch Partners, Peggy Wallace of Golden Seeds and Joy Marcus of BlogLovin and Gotham Ventures about the state of female-owned businesses and venture capital

“The first annual Women’s Entrepreneurship Day launched Wednesday at the United Nations headquarters in New York, during Global Entrepreneurship Week, and a number of powerhouse businesswomen took a stand on business issues when they took the stage. In particular, the last panel of the day dealt with financing for women-owned companies and how to create more gender equality in the business world. Here are comments from three of the women, all major players in the venture capital community nationwide:”

From Peggy Drexler: Status As The Boss’ Daughter is Different Than The Boss’ Son

“The great strides female heirs have made in business have come with some of the same baggage that has hampered male business heirs but I wouldn’t be quick to seek lessons in family dynamics from some of the Shakespearean households of megalomaniacal commercial icons. But daughters do founder on some of the same rocky shoals as sons. It’s another slice of a new era of female accomplishment — from the corridors of power in Washington to the helms of the family enterprise.”

From the Guardian: The case for women-only business networks

“It’s 14 years since Andrea Osborne gave up her job in IT to set up Cushion the Impact, a concierge and life-management business. Having decided that it would be useful to attend a business networking meeting, she vividly recalls what happened: ‘The meeting was full of middle-aged men in grey suits. There were no other women there. I walked in, and they all turned round and looked at me – it was like in the films when a stranger walks into the pub, and everyone stops talking. I really did feel like a lamb going to the slaughter.'”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Steven Norton: The Post-PC CEO: No Desk, No Desktop

“Starwood’s Frits van Paasschen Turns to Smartphones, Tablets as Primary Work Tools”

From Jacob Morgan: The five trends shaping the future of work

“If there’s one thing we can all agree on, it’s that the world of work is changing…quickly. The way we have been working over the past few years is NOT how are we are going to be working in the coming years. Perhaps one of the most important underlying factors driving this change is the coming shift around who drives how work gets done.”

From Brad Power: Learning New Things Means Getting Up From Your Desk

“But while there’s no question that the exponential growth in the volume, variety, and detail of data can help boost productivity, improve customer experiences, and enhance decision-making, it can also stifle managers, turning them into detached, desk-bound decipherers of information.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

5 Natural Laws of Parties for Leaders

Tis the season of parties. Here’s how to come out unscathed and perhaps a little ahead of the game

By and About Leaders: 11/25/14

Pointers to pieces by and about Harland Stonecipher, Paul Rollinson, John McDonald, Lisa Kornstein, and Alastair Mitchell.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 11/26/14

Pointers to posts by Karin Hurt, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Art Petty, Paul Hebert, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 11/28/14

Pointers to stories about Harman Kardon, Which Wich, Canard Winery, Catullo Prime Meats, and BMW.

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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