Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 12/8/14

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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 the big lie of strategic planning, improving apartment rental listings, the Economist’s innovation awards, women as negotiators, and the benefits of treating employees well.

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 David Streitfeld: To Gain the Upper Hand, Amazon Disrupts Itself

“Though the company’s third-quarter revenue fell short of forecasts, it is making moves to become a retail and entertainment one-stop shop.”

From Roger Martin: The Big Lie of Strategic Planning

“All executives know that strategy is important. But almost all also find it scary, because it forces them to confront a future they can only guess at. Worse, actually choosing a strategy entails making decisions that explicitly cut off possibilities and options. An executive may well fear that getting those decisions wrong will wreck his or her career. The natural reaction is to make the challenge less daunting by turning it into a problem that can be solved with tried and tested tools.”

From Martin Roll: Culture Can Make or Break Strategy

“Without a deep and accurate assessment of their organisation’s culture, boards and management teams will find it very challenging to initiate and implement strategic change.”

Industries and Analysis

From Sastry Chilukuri, Rena Rosenberg, and Steve Van Kuiken: A digital prescription for pharma companies

“Pharmaceutical and medical-device companies have been slow to adopt digitization. Here are five reasons they should get moving.”

From Tim Logan: Apps, sites aim to transform apartment rental listings

“For a long time, hunting for an apartment has meant wading through cryptic yard signs, inscrutable classifieds and frustrating games of phone tag. That’s finally changing.”

From Retail Wire: Four models for integrating digital into CPG organizations

“CPG brands are making new investments daily in the processes and capabilities necessary to integrate digital into their organizations. A key decision is whether to ‘incubate’ digital capabilities by centralizing them in what can be described as a ‘digital center of excellence’ (COE), or to ‘infiltrate’ the entire organization with the new capabilities.”

Innovations and Technology

From Michal Lev-Ram: Hershey, Palantir turn Kisses and Hugs into hard data

“Alexander Karp, chief executive of Palantir Technologies, and J.P. Bilbrey, CEO of Pennsylvania-based confectionery Hershey, are an unlikely duo. Palantir is a cagey Silicon Valley company whose software may or may not have helped track down Osama bin Laden. Hershey is the beloved maker of Kisses, Kit Kats, and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. On a sunny day at Palantir headquarters in Palo Alto, the two executives are engaged in animated conversation. Their not-so-secretive plan? Make global food distribution more efficient.”

From Michael Grebe, Olivier Morbé, and Sabine Döschl: Digitization and Simplification

“In the digital age, companies are expected to connect with customers and run IT in simpler, more agile ways. In addition, companies need to provide accessible new channels for customers and suppliers, develop applications quickly, and optimize their use of the cloud and their data. Although IT complexity can hinder these efforts, there’s a common perception that the problem resolves itself once a company starts down the digital path. Companies look at digital start-ups and see that they have managed to be nimble without simplifying. For many businesses, this begs a question: Is simplification still necessary in the digital era?”

From the Economist: Innovation awards

“Our annual prizes recognise successful innovators in eight categories. Here are this year’s winners”

Wally’s Comment: The Innovation Awards article is just one in the Economist’s Technology Quarterly

Women and the Workplace

From Caroline McMillan Portillo: Businesswomen at Fortune’s Most Powerful Women Next-Gen Conference talk, including Sam’s Club CEO Roz Brewer, former Lululemon CEO Christine Day and corporate board aficionado Gerri Elliot

“Dozens of powerful businesswomen took the stage at Fortune’s first ‘Most Powerful Women Next-Gen Conference’ this week. For everyone who didn’t attend, here’s a roundup of some of the best quotes from the event, based on Fortune’s coverage. We know you’ll be as inspired as we are:”

From Stephanie Castillo: Women In Business Negotiate With The Best Of Them, As Gender Roles Fall In The Office

“A new study analysis from the American Psychological Association finds that actually, women in business can hold their own during negotiations.”

From Lisa Schiffman: Women Entrepreneurs Act As The Role Models They Never Had

“Women start businesses at 1.5 times the rate of men and are at least half-owners of 46% of privately held firms. Yet, according to recent research, only 2% of women-owned businesses in the US break $1 million in revenue.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Alana Semuels: A New Business Strategy: Treating Employees Well

“While some companies squeeze staff to make more money, a growing number are testing the theory that they can have both profits and happy workers.”

From Kieron Monks: Tag your workforce, transform your business?

“Operation Room staff are being fitted with data-collecting RFID chips at the ‘Sunshine State’ Celebration Health facility. The chips, embedded in regular ID badges, track their movements and time management, feeding into a central database. The Operation Room is a new frontier for a scheme that started in 2011 with the hospital’s nursing staff, and has been spreading ever since. Management have been encouraged by the results.”

From Lynn Russo Whylly: Future Factory Work Stations Will Adjust to Each Worker

“What if factory workers could work flex hours, coming and going as they please, creating their own schedules and working independently to achieve a specific goal? That is exactly what we can expect in the factory of the future by the year 2030.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

It’s just not me

John became a great supervisor because he was willing to try things that worked for others.

By and About Leaders: 12/2/14

Pointers to pieces by and about Ana Patricia Botin, Richard Sheridan, Stephanie Soerens-Borkowski, and Roger Ferguson.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 12/3/14

Pointers to posts by Lolly Daskal, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Kate Nasser, Chris Edmonds. and Mary Jo Asmus

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 12/5/14

Pointers to stories about Airbnb, Netflix, Dreamworks Animation, Honda, and Budweiser.

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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