Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 3/23/15

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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 strategic agility, Millennial guys keen on style are reshaping the fashion trade, counting and communications technologies and how they have altered the structure and management of business, Cathy Engelbert on becoming Deloitte’s first female CEO, and the algorithm that tells the boss who might quit.

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 Kathleen Elkins: CEOs are only effective for 5 years — but most stay for almost 10

“A report released by the Conference Board shows that CEOs are sticking around longer than they should. The average tenure of a departing S&P 500 company CEO is 9.7 years. It hasn’t been that long since 2002, and a recent study by Temple University suggests that this number could be problematic for companies.”

From Vikram Bhalla, Jean-Michel Caye, Pieter Haen, Deborah Lovich, Mukund Rajagopalan, and Shailesh Sharda: Global Leadership and Talent Index

“Unlike other disciplines, such as corporate finance, leadership and talent management is a relatively undeveloped field in the application of data- and evidence-based approaches to value creation. Most companies do not address the most fundamental questions around leadership and talent development, despite huge expenditures—$40 billion annually by some estimates. Still, some companies get it right. Not surprisingly, these companies tend to be market leaders in their industries. The BCG Global Leadership and Talent Index (GLTI) is the first tool to precisely quantify a company’s leadership and talent management capabilities. It is the product of a multiyear effort that culminated in a recently completed study of more than 1,260 CEOs and HR directors at global companies.”

From Kayvan Shahabi, Antonia Cusumano, and Sid Sohonie: Agility Is Within Reach

“Many corporate leaders think their companies are agile. Surely, they assume, we possess that combination of speed, flexibility, nimbleness, and responsiveness that will enable us to turn on a dime as circumstances warrant. It often comes as a surprise, then, when a significant opportunity or challenge arises and the company can’t deliver.”

Industries and Analysis

From Chris Donkin and Yannick Binvel: Accelerating change: an automotive leadership wake-up call

“To better understand these trends and to help leaders shape talent strategies, Korn Ferry surveyed and interviewed more than 50 senior executives across the automobile industry. The results point to a fundamental shift in the leadership capabilities required to succeed. The winners will be those companies that can evolve most quickly, developing streamlined, adaptive talent organizations driven by a new breed of executives with different leadership skills”

From Shan Li: Millennial guys keen on style are reshaping the fashion trade

“Millennial guys in their 20s and 30s are transforming the menswear business, inspired by well-dressed male celebrities and TV shows such as ‘Mad Men’ that celebrate bygone eras when pocket squares were de rigueur.”

From the Economist: Attack of the bean-counters

“In recent years, clients have begun to rebel against the billable hour, and at being charged senior lawyers’ rates for work done by juniors. Some have started sending basic legal paperwork to cheap, offshore processing centres. But only now is a serious threat to the law firms’ cosy existence emerging.”

Innovations and Technology

From Melissa Harris: Virtual reality is disorienting but brings with it real potential

“The Samsung Gear VR headset transports me from a gondola ride in Venice to a helicopter ride over Hawaii to a frigid, serene seashore, waves gently lapping, somewhere on this planet. It was like being in Star Trek’s holodeck. Immersive. Radical. Transformational. And not yet in everyone’s hands because of one problem: If a game’s developers aren’t careful, all of this transporting will make many users vomit.”

From Steve Lohr: Data Capitalism: Counting and Communications Technologies and How They Have Altered the Structure and Management Of Business

“Since the Industrial Revolution, new counting and communications technologies have altered the structure and management of business. … Yet the guiding metric of management for decades has remained the same: finance. With improvements in communications and computing, financial performance can be measured faster and in greater detail than before. But it is still a fairly blunt, crude measurement—counting money, one factor of production and output of the enterprise. It is still financial capitalism. But big data promises to usher in a new phase in the practice of management.”

From Steve Olenski: Big Data Solving Big Problems

“Whether you’re involved in the business or tech industries, you’ve probably heard a lot of discussions regarding ‘big data.’ But, what exactly is big data and how is it being used to solve big problems?”

Women and the Workplace

From Lillian Cunningham: Cathy Engelbert on becoming Deloitte’s first female CEO

“When Cathy Engelbert started at Deloitte nearly 30 years ago, she was hard-pressed to find many female mentors among its top leadership ranks. Only 7 percent of Deloitte’s partners and principals were women at the time, a statistic that prompted the accounting firm to launch a major initiative several years later, in 1993, aimed at boosting its retention and advancement of women.”

From Hilary Burns: Here’s how you think men should help the tech industry’s diversity problem

“The gender gap in the tech industry is real and everyone agrees it needs to be fixed. But how do men fit into the equation? Should they stand alongside women and champion for the cause, or should they take a back-seat approach and support women from behind the scenes?”

From Samantha Cole: The Gender Wage Gap Is Much More Complex Than We Thought

“Movements need sound bites to spread widely. But in reality, the gender wage gap is much more complex than the single-figure ‘cents on the dollar’ stat that is commonly used as shorthand for the problem.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Rachel Emma Silverman and Nikki Waller: The Algorithm That Tells the Boss Who Might Quit

“As turnover becomes a bigger worry—and expense—in a tightening labor market, companies including Wal-Mart Stores Inc.,Credit Suisse Group AG and Box Inc. are analyzing a vast array of data points to determine who is likely to leave a post.”

From China Gorman: Deloitte’s HR Wake Up Call

“Deloitte recently released its 2015 Global Human Capital Trends report, their annual comprehensive study of HR, leadership, and talent challenges compiled using data from surveys and interviews taken by 3,300+ HR and business leaders in 106 countries around the world. The report identifies 10 major trends that emerged from the most current research, and cites the capability gap (measuring the distance between the importance of an issue and organizations’ readiness to address it) associated with each, as well as practical ideas for how to help organizations combat theses challenges.”

From Conor Dougherty and Quentin Hardy: Managers Turn to Computer Games, Aiming for More Efficient Employees

“BetterWorks is part of a growing office software niche that aims to whip workers into shape through compulsory competition and public scoring.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

“Fail fast and often” is really dumb advice

The idea that you should try to fail could be the most dangerous business advice of the decade.

By and About Leaders: 3/17/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Stephen J. Immelt, Elaine Bedel, Craig Underwood, Manny Ruiz, and Jack Prescott.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 3/18/15

Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Kate Nasser, Karin Hurt, Chris Edmonds, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 3/20/15

Pointers to stories about Under Armour, Kohl’s, Louis Hoffmann Co., 3D printing, Eric Martin, Peugeot, and Carlos Tavares.

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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