Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 12/22/14

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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 using predictive analytics to clone your best decision makers, women are changing the face of venture funding, frugal innovation, global workforce gender diversity, and automation, jobs, and the future of work.

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 Greg Satell: 5 Business Lessons From The Debacle At The New Republic

“Leadership is a tough business, especially in the digital era. In earlier times, managers paid their employees to perform tasks and directed them how, where and when to do them. These days, however, professionals are paid to solve problems and create things, like products, strategies and new technologies.”

From Michael C. Mankins and Lori Sherer: Decision Insights: Using predictive analytics to clone your best decision makers

“In the middle of the spectrum, however, lies a vast and largely unexplored territory. These decisions—both relatively frequent and individually important, requiring the exercise of judgment and the application of experience—represent a potential gold mine for the companies that get there first with advanced analytics.”

From Ken Favaro: The Truth About Breakthrough Strategies

“Ford, Apple, Netflix, Starbucks, and Google struck gold with these breakthrough strategies, and changed the game in their respective industries:”

Industries and Analysis

From BCG Perspectives: TMT Value Creators: Productivity and Growth

“Disruption surrounds us. There are more mobile devices than people in the world. By 2020, more than 50 billion connected Internet of Things devices will likely be in service. Smart cities, smart homes, autonomous vehicles, and cognitive computing are quickly becoming realities. New business models built around smart devices, high-speed networks, cloud computing, and data analytics are rapidly emerging. Traditional sources of advantage are rupturing, while new sources of value are forming.”

From John Zegers: Manufacturing Technology, Capital Spending Point to Landmark Year in 2015

“The lower costs associated with reshoring are driving more local manufacturing activity; technological developments are drastically changing the way plants operate; and capital investments are on the rise. The result will be a landmark year in 2015 for U.S. manufacturing.”

From the Economist: Technology firms: Frothy.com

“A new tech bubble seems to be inflating. But when it pops, it should cause less damage than the dotcom crash of 2000”

Innovations and Technology

From David Shaffer: Biofuel innovators look for a breakout

“In a northeast Minneapolis laboratory, veteran chemical engineers think they have found a better way to produce biodiesel from waste grease.”

From Navi RadjouJaideep Prabhu: What Frugal Innovators Do

“For our upcoming book, we studied the leaders of over 50 companies in the U.S. and Europe that are trailblazing frugal innovation. These pioneering leaders are not only radically changing their company’s business model (the hardware) but also changing the mental model of their employees (the software) in order to embed frugality into the corporate DNA. From these pioneers, we have gleaned five valuable lessons for CEOs who want to foster a frugal culture in their own organization:”

From Quentin Hardy: Cisco’s Networks Will Analyze Us

“Cisco Systems announced Thursday what it calls ‘connected analytics,’ a mix of hardware, software and services based on sensor data. The idea is to offer rapid analysis of fast-changing information, like the people moving through a store, or beer sold in a stadium, so that companies can respond in time.”

Women and the Workplace

From Kristen Frasch: For Women, ‘Assertive’ Still Means ‘Mean’

“We really haven’t come that far, fellow females. Not when recent polls show too many women in business — whether by their own fault or by their being mislabeled — are still being perceived as too gruff, too assertive, too downright mean when they’re in positions of authority.”

From China Gorman: Global Workforce Gender Diversity: It’s Not Happening

“Focusing on diversity in the workplace is an essential step in building a great culture. Advancing gender diversity is a key focus area that organizations should look to, armed with the knowledge that there is still significant progress to make before most workplaces achieve true gender equality. Women are still significantly underrepresented at all levels in the workforce worldwide. Mercer’s 2013 Human Capital Report found that only 60%-70% of the eligible female population participates in the global workforce, while male participation is in the high 80’s. In a recent diversity study by Mercer based on 178 submissions from 164 companies in 28 countries covering 1.7 million employees, Mercer explores this issue and proposes solutions. Three key facts emerged from Mercer’s data:”

From Caroline McMillan Portillo: Women are changing the face of venture capital. Here’s how — and why it matters

“The dearth of women in tech has been the elephant in the room for decades. But as dismal diversity statistics have trickled out of some of Silicon Valley’s biggest companies, the issue has drawn more attention — and outcry. The diversity problem is especially pronounced in the world of venture capital, where even promising advances with firms and female startup founders have come with a catch.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From McKinsey & Company: Automation, jobs, and the future of work

“A group of economists, tech entrepreneurs, and academics discuss whether technological advances will automate tasks more quickly than the United States can create jobs.”

From Steve Johnson: Hidden devices scrutinize employees

“Employers are rushing to embrace the Internet of Things, with its array of smart gadgets, to keep watch on their workers. Studies contend that these devices help reduce theft, boost productivity and weed out lazy, incompetent or abusive employees.”

From BCG Perspectives: Creating People Advantage 2014-2015: How to Set Up Great HR Functions

“This report, the eighth in The Boston Consulting Group’s Creating People Advantage series, explores key trends in people management by considering ten broad HR topics and 27 subtopics. We looked at each subtopic’s future importance, companies’ current capabilities with regard to the subtopics, the levels of effort invested in them, and how urgently each subtopic needed action. We also explored the link between people management capabilities and economic performance.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Project planning lessons from home renovation

I’m in the midst of a big home renovation project this week and re-learning some important project planning lessons.

By and About Leaders: 12/16/14

Pointers to pieces by and about Travis Dale, Matt Ehrie, Umberto Angeloni, David Carr, and Sally Smith.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 12/17/14

Pointers to posts by Lolly Daskal, Kate Nasser, Art Petty, Chris Edmonds, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 12/19/14

Pointers to stories about shared office space, company stores, Long Island boomer entrepreneurs, Deliv, and the Citizens Bank of Weir.

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