Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 1/30/17

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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 pulling the triggers that pull companies, why manufacturers need a Chief Transformation Officer, virtual reality’s uncertain picture, becoming data-driven, lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative and workers feel trapped by “rigid” workplaces.

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 Ashley Merryman: Leaders are more powerful when they’re humble, new research shows

“The most humble rarely describe themselves as humble (that seems arrogant to them), but studies have shown that they aren’t embarrassed, humiliated or ashamed. No, they’re secure in their identity and higher in well-being. The humble are doing just great, thank you very much.”

Thanks to Adam Grant for pointing me to this article.

From Paul Leinwand: Pulling the Triggers That Pull Companies

“In fact, with every one of the highly capable companies we studied, the leaders of the company pulled a ‘trigger’ — a signal, loud and clear, of the need for change. The leaders thus pushed their companies to abandon conventional wisdom and build the long-lasting, capabilities-based advantage they needed. These triggers are available to you as well; you can use them to generate the confidence (and sometimes the desperation) needed to invest everything in developing a strategy that works.”

From Bruce Temkin: Rapid Pace of Change Demands Modernized Leadership

“Over the past decade, the pace of change has accelerated through technology, and we’ve developed a much deeper understanding of what drives human behaviors and business success. But these new realities have not been fully translated into how leaders run their companies.”

Industries and Analysis

From Craig Guillot: Why Manufacturers Need a Chief Transformation Officer

“As manufacturers continue to explore digital technologies to drive efficiency and product & process improvement, they’re discovering that strategy and implementation can be almost a full-time role.”

From Harold L. Sirkin, Justin Rose, and Rahul Choraria: Honing US Manufacturing’s Competitive Edge

“Direct manufacturing costs in the US are finally at parity with those in China, giving the US an opportunity to boost manufacturing competitiveness.”

From Alana Semuels: America Is Still Making Things

“Micropulse is an example of the type of manufacturing that’s not going to disappear anytime soon from United States. It makes high-value products that would be difficult to make overseas because they are constantly being updated and are highly regulated. Many of these products are made by machines, but Emerick still needs workers to run and program those machines and to inspect the products once they’re completed.”

Innovation and Technology

From Daniel Eckert and Matthew Lieberman: Virtual Reality’s Uncertain Picture

“The seemingly constant launches of virtual reality headsets, hardware, and content is triggering a blend of headlines and hype familiar to any experienced observer of the tech and media scene. As engineers and creators figure out how to marry the real and virtual worlds, the future of augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), and mixed reality (MR), which are often used interchangeably, seems to be now.”

From Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Becoming a Data-Driven Business: Challenges and Opportunities

“It’s very hard to anticipate the consequences of disruptive innovations. Even harder is predicting when the impact will be felt across the economy and society. It’s often been said that truly transformative innovations are overhyped in the short term but under-hyped in the long term. Think of electricity and automobiles, the Internet more recently and now big data.”

From the Oregonian: Amazon sees super-drones, blimp warehouses in its future

“Amazon.com scientists have dreamed up a scheme straight out of ‘Voltron,’ a 1980s animated show for kids where several vehicles joined together to form an evil-fighting super-robot. In this case it’s a super-drone.”

Women and the Workplace

From Joann S. Lublin: Women Make Gains Toward Winning CEO Job

“Women represent the strongest internal contenders for the corner office at a small but growing number of major U.S. companies. Their ultimate success could produce an unprecedented number of female chief executives.”

Ms Lublin’s recent book is Earning It: Hard-Won Lessons from Trailblazing Women at the Top of the Business World

From Melissa Wylie: Sallie Krawcheck on the untapped power of women in business

“There’s so much talk about empowering women, which means to be given power. Women don’t need to be empowered – women have lots of power. I walk through how we direct 80 percent of consumer spending, how we control $5 trillion in investable assets, how we are more than half the workforce. But we weren’t able to use that power historically because we didn’t have this information. We didn’t have enough options. But that’s changing.”

From John Rogers: No more nerds, sex bombs: Female animators draw away clichés

“The California Institute of the Arts was created partly by Walt Disney’s desire to bring more top-flight animators into the profession. And it has during its 47 years, though for a long time almost all were men.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From the Economist: Lifelong learning is becoming an economic imperative

“Technological change demands stronger and more continuous connections between education and employment, says Andrew Palmer. The faint outlines of such a system are now emerging.”

From Jo Faragher: Workers feel trapped by “rigid” workplaces

“More than half of UK workers feel trapped by the rigid structure of their workplace, according to a survey by the Institute of Leadership and Management.”

From Katie Johnston: Open for business: companies letting workers see all

“When employees walk through the lobby of Apptopia Inc., a mobile-app market analytics firm in Boston, they pass a bank of 55-inch monitors displaying the kind of data that many companies guard tightly: monthly revenues, client numbers, customer churn. When employees log in to their computers, they can see even more, down to the status of every deal in the works. Chief executive Eliran Sapir sees this transparency as a ‘silent motivator’ for employees to keep the company moving forward.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Boss’s Tip of the Week: Touch base a lot

It’s the most important single thing you can do.

The Paradox of Leadership Control

Question: How can you empower people if you don’t have control in the first place?

Book Review: The Hard Thing About Hard Things

If you’re planning to start a company or if you’re going to be someone in charge of anything in any kind of a company, read this book.

Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 1/24/17

Articles about leaders and strategies in real life. This week it’s Craig Zoberis, American Greetings, Ringling Brothers, Joe Guith and Brenda Barnes.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 1/25/17

Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Suzi McAlpine, Joanie Rufo, Lolly Daskal, and Ed Batista.

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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