Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 2/27/17

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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 six ways to be a better manager, how strategy is evolving (and remaining the same), mastering complexity through simplification, technology trends in 2017, the best data scientists get out and talk to people, time for a new gender-equality playbook, the future of the corporate university, and how the org chart has given way to the network and why it matters.

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 Bill Snyder: Six Ways to Be a Better Manager

“Kill consensus and beware the false negative, says one Stanford GSB professor.”

From McKinsey & Company: Discussions on digital: How strategy is evolving–and staying the same–in the hypergrowth digital age

“Strategy is evolving in unexpected ways, as Silicon Valley thought leaders discuss in McKinsey’s latest Discussions on Digital podcast.”

From Jaap Backx, Christoph Hilberath, Reinhard Messenböck, Yves Morieux, and Henning Streubel: Mastering Complexity Through Simplification: Four Steps to Creating Competitive Advantage

“In their attempts to reduce uncertainty and reestablish control amid this new complexity, companies tend to introduce new reports, new rules, and new processes. Such reactions, however, simply translate external complexity into internal ‘complicatedness’—the counterproductive proliferation of cumbersome structures, processes, and systems.”

Industries and Analysis

From Jesse Newman and Patrick McGroarty : The Next American Farm Bust Is Upon Us

“Shrinking role in global grain market coupled with a strong dollar and higher costs for seeds drives U.S. farmers out of business; overflowing bunkers.”

From Ouriel Lancry, Ryan Morrissey, Tom Shannon, Andy Bankert and Lucy Cummings: Digital Strategy for a B2B World

“It’s easy to see why so many view companies like Uber, Amazon and Google as the business models of the future. They’ve redefined their industries. They’ve rewired the customer experience. They’re not afraid to fail fast, learn from mistakes and make the changes necessary to stay well ahead of the market.”

From the Economist: Mass entertainment in the digital age is still about blockbusters, not endless choice

“Technology has given billions of people access to a vast range of entertainment.”

Wally’s Comment: the article above is part of the Economist Special Report on Mass Entertainemnt.

Innovation and Technology

From Accenture Tech Vision: Technology Trends 2017

“Technology changes are all around us, and coming faster than ever. But no longer are we waiting and wondering how the latest digital technology innovations will change things; rather, we’re taking control and shaping technology to fit our needs, large and small. Digital disruption has a new direction. We’re using technology to disrupt ourselves.”

From Irving Wladawsky-Berger: The Competitive Value of Data: From Analytics to Machine Learning

“A recent article by NY Times reporter Steve Lohr discussed the rising importance of data as a major competitive differentiator. The article noted that regulators, policy makers and academics in Europe and the US are increasingly concerned that the vast data assets of digital giants could become a competitive barrier to startups and innovation.”

From Thomas C. Redman: The Best Data Scientists Get Out and Talk to People

“You can be a good data scientist by sitting at your computer. After all, the job description involves poring through huge quantities of often disparate data to find insights that may prove helpful in every aspect of a business, including marketing, logistics, and human resources. It also includes cleaning data, dealing with gaps, and sifting through incomplete poor definitions. But great data scientists know they must do more.”

Women and the Workplace

From Catalyst: 3M—I’m in. Accelerating Women’s Leadership

“3M’s global initiative I’m in. Accelerating Women’s Leadership (‘I’m in’) comprises a variety of talent management and leadership development components, including networking, mentoring, talent development, work-life and workplace flexibility programs, and external community efforts. I’m in has positively impacted people, the work environment and company culture. While the initiative focuses on the advancement of women in the pipeline and across the organization, communications and programs engage and include all 3M people worldwide.”

From Kathleen Buse: Strengthening the Ability of Women in Manufacturing Leadership

“Leaders can help women develop a belief in themselves to achieve by supporting mentors and sponsors. They can encourage employee resource groups, especially those that support women’s advancement.”

From McKinsey & Company: Time for a new gender-equality playbook

“The old one isn’t working. We need bolder leadership and more exacting execution.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Benjamin Kessler: The Future of the Corporate University

“Phil Parker, INSEAD Chaired Professor of Management Science, sees things differently. He envisions a future where digital technology enables B-schools and corporate universities, working together, to expand their combined reach as never before.”

From Michael Arena: How the Org Chart has Given Way to the Network and Why it Matters

“In response, experts such as Babson University professor Rob Cross (and companies such as General Motors, Juniper, Cisco and Booz Allen) have noted the need for organizations to more fully leverage their social capital and act as a network (see charts). Two primary aspects of social capital—group cohesion and brokerage—are particularly relevant to organizational practices.”

From the London School of Economics: The hidden cost of downsizing: demotivating the remaining employees

“There may be substantial costs associated with the ‘survival syndrome’ phenomenon, write Frank Drzensky and Matthias Heinz.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Boss’s Tip of the Week: Don’t make it a contest

One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time. This one’s about having better conversations

3 Secrets of Better Performance Conversations

Here are three ways you can take a lot of the discomfort out of performance conversations and make them more effective, too.

Book Review: Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford

My five-star review of Messy: The Power of Disorder to Transform Our Lives by Tim Harford.

Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 2/21/17

Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s articles about a CEO who just got a tattoo, a successful circus, and more.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 2/22/17

Pointers to posts by Bob Burg, Art Petty, Kevin Eikenberry, Julie Winkle Giulioni, and Jesse Lyn Stoner.

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.

The 347 tips in my ebook can help you Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.

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HW   |   27 Feb 2017   |   Reply

Like the links, especially on use of data.

Wally Bock   |   27 Feb 2017   |   Reply

Thanks for the kind words.