Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 3/14/16

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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 strategic planning that produces real strategy, the future of retail, rolling with the changes in R&D, why Millennial women are burning out, and how a radical shift left Zappos reeling.

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 Mark Judah, Dunigan O’Keeffe, David Zehner and Lucy Cummings: Strategic Planning That Produces Real Strategy

“When we asked nearly 300 global executives to rate their company’s planning process, only one in three said that the strategy it produced met three vital criteria: bold ambition, adaptability in the face of changing market conditions and concrete guidance for management and the front line.”

From Robert A. Burgelman: Creating Corporate Longevity (10 Minute Video)

“Strategic leadership can shape a business to go the distance.”

From Jo Faragher: Managers have higher opinion of themselves than their teams, finds Penna

“Managers rank their own performance more highly than their direct reports, a survey by HR consultancy Penna has revealed.”

Industries and Analysis

From Suzette Parmley: Online companies get physical retail as retail stalwarts shrink

“They’re the switch hitters of retail – players with a growing presence on the other side of the selling field.”

From the Economist: Shops to showrooms

“Bricks-and-mortar stores are in the throes of an identity crisis. The growing threat from online shopping has spurred some physical retailers to do more than just sell goods. Lululemon lures shoppers with both yoga clothes and yoga classes; Louis Vuitton displays fine art beside its frocks. Among the most interesting models to emerge, however, are chains such as Bonobos, whose outlets have no stock to sell.”

From Werner Reinartz: In the Future of Retail, We’re Never Not Shopping

“Most retail outlets — whether conventional brick-and-mortar shops, digitally enhanced stores like Macy’s in the U.S. or Burberry in the UK, or online stores — assume a traditional three-stage consumption model. The customer experiences a need, shops to satisfy the need, and then consumes or uses the product purchased (I need shoes, I buy shoes, I wear them).”

Innovation and Technology

From Matt Palmquist: Rolling with the Changes in R&D

“A study describes how companies can adopt a flexible innovation strategy that is responsive to changes in rapidly shifting markets.”

From Hilke Plassmann: Brain Imaging Triggers Marketing Breakthroughs

“The holy grail of marketing—a universal predictor of customer behaviour—may be closer than ever, thanks to recent advances in the field of neuromarketing.”

From the Economist Technology Quarterly: After Moore’s law

“After a glorious 50 years, Moore’s law—which states that computer power doubles every two years at the same cost—is running out of steam. Tim Cross asks what might replace it.”

Women and the Workplace

From Isabel Fernandez-Mateo: Gender parity: the pipeline problem

“The term ‘glass ceiling’ was coined more than 30 years ago. The idea is that the barriers become higher the higher you go up the organisation. But work from Isabel Fernandez-Mateo, Associate Professor of Strategy and Entrepreneurship at London Business School, shows the glass ceiling starts much earlier in the chain.”

From Adam Gale: Women will achieve workplace equality – in 2065

“Research says closing the digital skills gap could be crucial, but it might take a while.”

From Kelly Clay: Why Millennial Women Are Burning Out

“The trend of young women burning out by the age of 30 is very real and unfortunately common. A study by McKinsey shows that women account for 53% of corporate entry-level jobs, but women only hold 37% of mid-management roles. That number drops to 26% for vice presidents and senior managers, indicating a major gender disparity higher up the corporate ladder. As only 11% of women choose to leave the workplace permanently to have children, the other reason for this gap can be traced to high expectations that companies place on their employees in always-connected work environments.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Jena McGregor: The worst kind of boss is not the one who’s always a jerk

“A new study finds that employees are less stressed and have more job satisfaction when their bosses are always unfair than when their boss is unpredictable.”

From Nathaniel Popper: The Robots Are Coming for Wall Street

“When Daniel Nadler woke on Nov. 6, he had just enough time to pour himself a glass of orange juice and open his laptop before the Bureau of Labor Statistics released its monthly employment report at 8:30 a.m. He sat at the kitchen table in his one-bedroom apartment in Chelsea, nervously refreshing his web browser — Command-R, Command-R, Command-R — as the software of his company, Kensho, scraped the data from the bureau’s website. Within two minutes, an automated Kensho analysis popped up on his screen: a brief overview, followed by 13 exhibits predicting the performance of investments based on their past response to similar employment reports.”

From Jennifer Reingold: How a Radical Shift Left Zappos Reeling

“The shift to holacracy, combined with a wildly ambitious software project called Super Cloud—not to mention a reconceived business strategy—has left employees confused, demoralized, and whipsawed by the constant pace of change. Over the past year, in part owing to a buyout offer, 29% of the staff has turned over.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

4 Things you should know about great work teams

Most of us do most of our work in teams. Here are four important things you should know that make a core work team effective.

Book Review: The Coaching Habit

If you’re a manager who wants to be a better manager because of how you coach your teammates you should buy and read The Coaching Habit.

By and About Leaders: 3/8/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Andy Katz-Mayfield, Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Eric “Winkle” Brown, Howard Schultz, and Henry Engelhardt.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 3/9/16

Pointers to posts by Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Karin Hurt, Chris Edmonds, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 3/11/16

Pointers to stories about Hewlett-Packard, Easy Caulk, InFocus, Ford, Amazon, and Radio Flyer.

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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