Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 12/21/15

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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 how the next big management ideas will arise, self-storage goes upscale, eight tech trends to watch in 2016, the worst reason women don’t get promoted, and closing the skills gap one apprentice at a time.

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 Amy Bernstein: How the Next Big Management Ideas Will Arise

“Does management thinking still matter? Is there anything new left to say?”

From Julie Winkle Giulioni: Supervision Means Having to Say…

“What about the supervisors who retain employees? The supervisors for whom employees are consistently willing to go the extra mile? These supervisors send messages of trust, authenticity, candor, and support… and they speak phrases that many other leaders don’t. They’re not afraid or uncomfortable saying:”

From Julian Birkinshaw and Jonas Ridderstråle: Adhocracy for an agile age

“Academic studies show that information overload at the individual level leads to distractedness, confusion, and poor decision making.1 These problems beleaguer organizations, too, as we have seen from working with many large companies and through many interviews and workshops with senior executives in a range of sectors and geographies. Our experience reveals frequent cases of analysis paralysis (gathering more and more information rather than making a decision), endless debate, and a bias toward rational, scientific evidence at the expense of intuition or gut feel. These pathologies can have a deleterious impact on the functioning of companies. They can lessen the quality and speed of decision making and engender a sterile operating environment in which intuitive thinking is quashed. As a result, many companies end up standing still, even as the world around them is speeding up.”

Industries and Analysis

From Nick Graham: If It’s a Race to the Bottom, Then Who Really Wins?

“To put it mildly, the current retail climate, both meteorogically and financially, has to be one of the most dynamic we’ve ever seen. The forces of nature, distribution, and global conflict have created a new consumer behavior without historical precedent.”

From Jennifer Lewington: Self-storage goes upscale

“The Ottawa-based company is one example of an evolution under way in self-service storage, with upscale options a new niche market. Increasingly, some businesses and homeowners are prepared to pay a premium for climate-controlled, concierge-style services in suburban and downtown locations.”

From Wharton: Keeping Golf Courses in the Green

“One wouldn’t normally talk of golf and water preservation in the same breath. But containing water costs is becoming the very factor that will keep golf courses in the green. The United States Golf Association (USGA) is using GPS technology and targeted horticulture to help golf courses cut water consumption and related costs, as they seek to reverse their flagging fortunes. It is also working on attracting more players.”

Innovation and Technology

From Amy Webb: 8 Tech Trends to Watch in 2016

“In order to chart the best way forward, you must understand emerging trends: what they are, what they aren’t, and how they operate. Such trends are more than shiny objects; they’re manifestations of sustained changes within an industry sector, society, or human behavior. Trends are a way of seeing and interpreting our current reality, providing a useful framework to organize our thinking, especially when we’re hunting for the unknown. Fads pass. Trends help us forecast the future.”

From Nathan Furr: How Lunatics, Experts and Connectors Help Drive Innovation

“Hackers and hipsters may be behind the innovative success of today’s startups, but established companies require a different skillset.”

From Greg Satell: We Need To Accelerate Innovation. Here’s How

“It is the unlikely partnership between academia, the public sector and private enterprise that allow us to navigate the path from discovery, to innovation, to transformation. The process, however, can be unwieldy, taking as much as 70 years to go from from primary discovery to a measurable impact on society. Unfortunately, most efforts to accelerate innovation focus on just one facet, such as giving tax breaks for innovation, increasing investment for research and helping start-up companies find funding. Nevertheless, these approaches ignore the fact that innovation is a complex process, requiring us to integrate a variety of efforts. That’s where we need to put our focus now.”

Women and the Workplace

From Karin Hurt: The Worst Reason Women Don’t Get Promoted

“The room was filled with successful, competent, middle-aged women. We’d just finished a powerful workshop where each of them had identified ways they could make a bigger impact in the their organizations, in the world and in the women leaders coming up behind them. Then over lunch, Laura turned to me and confessed, ‘Karin, I’m still having trouble with your confident humility model. I think most women have way too much humility and that actually gets in the way of their success.'”

From Quora: The 3 Things Sheryl Sandberg Says Men Should Do To Support The Growth Of Women In Tech

“We quite simply can’t afford to miss out on the contributions of half the population. The numbers of women in tech are plummeting: women were 35% of CS majors in 1985, but only 18% today. Women are missing out on high-impact, flexible, well-paid, and exciting careers, and the industry is missing out on their ideas. By 2020 the United States will have 1 million unfilled roles in computer science and engineering — if women majored in CS at the same rate as men we could cut this gap in half.”

From Rena Cohen-First: Women in Business: Tales From Hecate, The Goddess of Magic

“I have always been enthralled with how the various aspects of any sales process align with the behavioral strengths that women in business naturally have. Those behavioral types manifest themselves universally in business. Carl Jung believed that every archetype, every personality, and every character that has ever existed has assumed a role that is borrowed or worn, like an article of clothing, and then returned to the wheel of time. As a sales coach, I write about female business archetypes, metaphorically as Greek Goddesses, and incorporate the various techniques and competencies in a sales role to tell the story of how to create an authentic sales process.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Mark C. Crowley: Employee Engagement Isn’t Getting Better And Gallup Shares The Surprising Reasons Why

“Perhaps the biggest reason engagement hasn’t budged is because many organizations are under the illusion that they’re already succeeding.”

From China Gorman: Work and Workers Are Changing

“While attending the SHRM Foundation’s most recent Thought Leader Retreat in the fall, I picked up this nifty piece of thought leadership from 2014: What’s Next: Future global Trends Affecting Your Organization; Evolution of Work and the Worker. Published in partnership with The Economist Intelligence Unit, this report discusses the outcomes of ‘a rigorous process of surveys, expert-panel discussions and analysis’ to identify key themes that look at What’s Next in the evolution of work and the worker. The executive summary lists nine key findings – some are just what you’d expect in considering how work is changing and how the role of workers is changing. Some, however, might be surprising to you:”

From Steve Minter: Closing the Skills Gap One Apprentice at a Time

“A nationally recognized apprenticeship program at MTU America’s plant in Aiken, S.C. is helping create a stream of talented young employees as American manufacturing combats a severe skills gap.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

How to be successful even if you’re smart

Being smart is great, but it can be a liability and it’s never enough.

By and About Leaders: 12/15/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Jessica Herrin, Lyndon Rive, Kevin Cole, Luke Kanies, and Robert Mondavi.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 12/16/15

Pointers to posts by Chris Edmonds, Karin Hurt, Lolly Daskal, Steve Roesler, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 12/18/15

Pointers to stories about Blackberry, Avon, Mattel, Hasbro, Disney, Bratz, and Plaza Pizza.

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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