Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 2/2/15

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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 Apple’s big lesson for business leaders, Danny Meyer’s strategy for growing Shake Shack, brewing goliaths struggle to fit in at craft beer party, transforming the business through social tools, fostering women leaders, the global workplace of 2030, and real-time metrics for improved business operations and agility.

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 Steve Tobak: Apple’s Big Lesson for Business Leaders

“Looking back on it, when Apple launched the Think Different ad campaign in 1997, it didn’t just mark the return of Steve Jobs, a new philosophy to reignite a beat-down culture, or the beginning of the greatest turnaround in corporate history. It forever changed our definition of what couldn’t be done.”

From Jena McGregor: Danny Meyer’s strategy for growing Shake Shack

“It took Danny Meyer, founder of the soon-to-be-public company Shake Shack, nearly 10 years after opening his first restaurant, in 1985, to open his second one. And after he launched the first permanent Shake Shack location in New York’s Madison Square Park in 2004, it was almost five more years before he opened another. He told the New York Sun back in 2008: ‘I am not generally the greatest engine of growth in our company, because I really believe in honing and refining and working at something.'”

From Steven Krupp: Strategic Agility: A Leadership Imperative

“Today’s volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous (VUCA) world threatens CEOs who don’t adapt. Still, many fight fires, exploit immediate gains and set plans as if the business landscape was stable—though it’s clearly not. To create sustainable value amid the high stakes of uncertainty, it’s imperative that leaders take a disciplined approach to honing their strategic agility.”

Industries and Analysis

From Mike Hughlett: Cargill trying to get more of the fish feeding frenzy

“Of course, fish need to eat, and that’s an opportunity for Cargill — one of the world’s largest animal feed producers. The aquaculture business is still small compared with Cargill’s feed mainstay, the traditional livestock and poultry industries. But it’s growing about twice as fast.”

From Anjali Athavaley and Philip Blenkinsop: Brewing goliaths struggle to fit in at craft beer party

“While the majors still make three-quarters of all beer drunk in the United States they face a continued decline of market share. Their efforts in the last few years to push into richer flavoured craft beer, which can easily sell at a 50 percent premium to standard lager, is failing to compensate.”

From the Economist: Publishing: Spotify for books

“Authors and publishers may constrain the rise of e-book subscriptions”

Innovations and Technology

From McKinsey & Company: Transforming the business through social tools

“The effect of social technologies in customer-facing processes is already significant. Our survey finds that while overall adoption of these tools has plateaued, companies can do more to measure and then capture social’s benefits.”

From the Economist: Cheap and cheerful

“VICTOR HUGO once said that ‘nothing can stop an idea whose time has come’. He failed to add that a lousy product launch can delay it. In the first decade of this century it seemed that frugal innovation’s time had indeed arrived: to meet surging demand from new consumers in emerging economies, innovative firms in those countries were stripping products of their fripperies and cutting their cost drastically. The new world had at last produced a big, new management idea.”

From David S. Linthicum: Real-time Metrics for Improved Business Operations and Agility

“Businesses need mechanisms to gather and process data about system performances, information produced by a variety of devices, metrics around the use of social media, and much more. Many apply traditional data analytics to these problems. The reality, however, is that newer and more sophisticated approaches are required to get value from these real-time metrics in order to provide better business operations management. And companies must be able to integrate real-time operational metrics directly into business processes and applications.”

Women and the Workplace

From Lareina Yee: Fostering women leaders: A fitness test for your top team

“The challenges are well known: women in business continue to face a formidable gender gap for senior-leadership positions.1 Moreover, there are fewer and fewer women at each step along the path to the C-suite, although they represent a majority of entry-level employees at Fortune 500 companies and outnumber men in college-graduation rates.2 Increasingly, the barriers too are well known: a mix of cultural factors, ingrained mind-sets, and stubborn forms of behavior, including a tendency to tap a much narrower band of women leaders than is possible given the available talent pool.”

From Ludo Van der Heyden: What’s Keeping Women From the Corporate Heights?

“Why women find it so difficult to access top jobs and why the change takes so long.”

From Kieran Snyder: The women who ‘make it’ in tech

“Several years ago, I was working at a major software company. One day, in a meeting about a new mobile app, the product manager used a phrase that comes up a lot in software reviews: ‘Will it work for your mom?'”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From BCG Perspectives: The Mobile Revolution: How Mobile Technologies Drive a Trillion-Dollar Impact

“Mobile technologies have transformed the way we live, work, learn, travel, shop, and stay connected. Not even the industrial revolution created such a swift and radical explosion in technological innovation and economic growth worldwide. Nearly all fundamental human pursuits have been touched, if not revolutionized, by mobile. In less than 15 years, 3G and 4G technologies have reached 3 billion subscriptions, according to Ericsson, making mobile the most rapidly adopted consumer technology in history.”

From Steve Johnson: Will our smart gadgets become trusted or oppressive companions?

“As we turn more of our decision-making over to the devices, they will evolve into our personal confidants and counselors, determining everything from the time we wake up and clothes we wear to the music we listen to and route we take to work. In the process, experts say, our reliance on these interconnected tools will far surpass today’s dependence on smartphones.”

From China Gorman: The Global Workplace of 2030

“CBRE and Genesis recently released a report ‘Fast Forward 2030: The Future of Work and the Workplace,’ which provides meaningful insight on the behaviors, ideas, and trends, that will shape work and the workplace in 2030. Their report analyzes responses from 220 experts, business leaders and young people from Asia Pacific, Europe and North America who shared their views on how the current workplace is evolving. That report’s focus was to look towards the future and identify trends that will change the way we work over the next 15 years globally, with a key focus on China and Asia. CBRE and Genesis aimed to capture the thoughts and aspirations of this next generation by holding focus groups, instead of traditional surveys or interviews, in 11 cities worldwide, where ‘more than 150 corporate youth between the ages of 23-29 gave their frank opinions about current work practices, and in particular, what is and isn’t working for them and more importantly how they would like this to change in the future.'”

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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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