Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 2/6/17

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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 from autocrat to catalyst: how CEOs have changed, along with the businesses they run, three ways to get ahead of the digital competition, the secrets of retail’s repeat top performers, beating back the creeping tyranny of big data, McKinsey’s global view of workplace gender equality, how technology can help close the gender gap, the future of work, and Here’s what happened when Deloitte dumped the annual review.

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 J. P. Donlon: From Autocrat to Catalyst: How CEOs Have Changed, Along with the Businesses They Run

“For 40 years, Chief Executive magazine has witnessed—and chronicled—the ways in which changes in leadership style, shareholder value, technology and globalization have framed the CEO’s world—and how they have adapted to it.”

From Ed Batista: What Do Great Leaders Do?

“When I hear the term ‘great leader,’ I’m reminded of two passages from management literature that have influenced my thinking about leadership and my approach to coaching leaders.”

From Liri Andersson: Three Ways to Get Ahead of the Digital Competition

“To thrive in the digital age, business leaders need to accept that competition, like technology, has transformed. It is no longer primarily direct, of the same size, or from predictable geographical locations; nor does it come from firms with similar value propositions and cost structures.”

Industries and Analysis

From Michael Dart and Robin Lewis: Is Bigger Better?

“For Ken, the retail industry being in the midst of transition is nothing new. ‘It’s always been in transition,’ he said. ‘First it was mom and pops, and then it was department stores, then specialty, then discounter, then big.-box, now the internet. We’ve gone through a number of transitions, and people always worry that the new thing is going to kill everything that preceded it. Malls were going to kill mom and pops; big boxes were going to kill the mall. Retail is an industry of continual transition. We’re in a business that constantly evolves and reinvents itself. It’s not like we’ve never seen this before. We’ve seen it and managed through it multiple times. Each time, you think your whole business is going to go away.’”

From Aaron Cheris, Darrell Rigby and Suzanne Tager: Holiday Recap and 10 Trends to Embrace in 2017

“Retail sales in November and December grew squarely in line with Bain’s forecast. Sales rose 3.8% over the holiday season, with sales of health and personal care products and furniture and home products growing most rapidly. E-commerce sales posted 16% to 19% growth. In this issue we recap the results from the holiday season and share the most important trends that retailers should embrace in 2017.”

From Ketil Gjerstad and Greg Papp: The Secrets of Retail’s Repeat Top Performers

“During the past decade, the global retail industry established a solid record of very strong value creation. For the five years from 2011 through 2015, the industry’s performance declined somewhat in both absolute and relative terms. Still, it continues to deliver better value than most other industries. An examination of the industry’s repeat top performers over the past decade reveals clear patterns. The best value creators over time are those that are insulated from e-commerce, capitalize on the growth of emerging markets, and continually evolve their business model.”

Innovation and Technology

From the Economist: Finding a voice

“Computers have got much better at translation, voice recognition and speech synthesis, says Lane Greene. But they still don’t understand the meaning of language.”

Wally’s Comment: This is the lead article in the Economist’s Technology Quarterly

From Mark Buchanan: Beating Back the Creeping Tyranny of Big Data

“There is a dark side to big data, and computer scientists warn that we’ll need a lot more transparency if its revolution is really to work for all of us.”

From John Gallagher: Why we aren’t ready for self-driving cars – yet

“In the push to put autonomous vehicles on the nation’s roads, the most challenging aspect might be with the roads themselves, and the bridges, tunnels and other infrastructure.”

Women and the Workplace

From Google: McKinsey’s global view of workplace gender equality

“Gender parity at work is an issue everywhere, not just in a few specific countries. The McKinsey Global Institute suggests that aiming for progress, rather than perfection, by looking to neighbors for best practices may lead to quicker solutions.”

From Fabrizio Freda, William P. Lauder, Dan McCarthy, and François-Henri Pinault: Straight talk about gender diversity in the boardroom and beyond

“In these interview excerpts, leaders describe their efforts at promoting gender equality on boards and explore the challenges that still linger.”

From Sallie Krawcheck: How Technology Can Help Close the Gender Gap

“Emerging tools are giving women a host of new ways to empower their professional lives. The implications for companies are significant, as women amass the means and the resources to dramatically change the game. After all, women now control massive resources: In the U.S. they direct 80% of consumer spending and control $5 trillion in investable assets. They jointly control another $6 trillion, according to the Center for Talent Innovation. Women make up just over half of the workforce.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Adam Van Brimmer: The Future of Work | A Q&A with Jeanne Meister and Kevin Mulcahy

“Today’s global economy evolves at breakneck speed, with technology, consumer trends and generational shifts constantly reshaping the business landscape. The labor force is changing, too, and has now reached a tipping point in terms of what employees expect from work, according to HR experts Jeanne C. Meister, founding partner of the consulting firm Future Workplace LLC in New York City, and Kevin L. Mulcahy, a business professor at Babson College in Babson Park, Mass.”

From Kathleen Christensen: Here’s What Happened When Deloitte Dumped the Annual Review

“This professional services organization tackles the burdensome problem of performance reviews with a program that provides more frequent opportunities to check in — with more effective results.”

From John Sumser: The Future of Work Is People (and so is Soylent Green)

“Today (Jan 24, 2017), Googling ‘Future of Work’ produces 47 Million Results. It’s likely that you’ll agree that there is a consensus view. It’s something like this: People will become increasingly irrelevant as machines of various types and intelligences take away work that is currently performed by humans. The future of work is digital. The future of work is machines. The
future of work is not human. The future of work is not work.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Boss’s Tip of the Week: Don’t sugar-coat

Sugar-coating legitimate criticism robs it of nutritional value.

How to avoid becoming an awful boss

Nobody sets out be an awful boss, so how do you keep it from happening to you?

Every day in some small way you can get better and better

My ebook, Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time will help you make the kind of daily improvements that add up to big success.

Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 1/31/17

Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Fogo Charcoal, P&G, Sharon Daniels, ING. and Clif Bar.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 2/1/17

Pointers to posts by Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Lolly Daskal, Karin Hurt, Steve Keating, and Jesse Lyn Stoner. Plus coaching resources from 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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