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 using history to motivate change, five lessons for leaders in turbulent times, how Google innovates, why ‘Artificial Intelligence’ has become meaningless, and being human in an automated workplace.
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
“How to change an organisation? The answer to this question is made surprisingly difficult by those who think that change is unnecessary, change is risky, and in any case it should be change exactly as they want it; nothing else will do. Using organisational history to promote a change effort is an old trick that makes a lot of sense, because it is a way of claiming that change is actually a return to a golden age. And history can be edited in many ways; managers use this trick of repurposing organisational history.”
“London Business School professor Dominic Houlder and former Nestlé executive board member Nandu Nandkishore have combined their expertise to draw up a list of tactics to help business leaders handle today’s volatile economic climate.”
“In an Army infantry unit packed with tough combat veterans, our sergeant major was the toughest. Built like a slab of concrete, he had completed multiple deployments with the elite 75th Ranger Regiment. As officers, my colleagues and I technically outranked him. But if he had told us to jump, we would not have hesitated to ask how high — and how soft we should land. The most impressive thing about this tough leader was how much he cared.”
Industries and Analysis
“As manufacturers work to keep up with technology, their leaders must keep up their knowledge as well.”
“Digital platforms let factories link data on inventories, maintenance, safety hazards.”
From Richard Jones, Felix Recht, Nick Santhanam, Xiaoran Tong, and Shekhar Varanasi: What’s Ahead for Industrials?
“To stay competitive, companies need to sustain momentum while developing new capabilities, offerings, and operating models.”
Innovation and Technology
“Steve Jobs built—and then revived—Apple by fusing technology with design. IBM has remained a top player in its industry for roughly a century by investing in research that is often a decade ahead of its time. Facebook ‘moves fast and maintains a stable infrastructure’ (but apparently doesn’t break things anymore).”
“Smart algorithms are as smart as the humans who develop them, writes Alison Holt.”
“What to make, then, of the explosion of supposed-AI in media, industry, and technology? In some cases, the AI designation might be warranted, even if with some aspiration. Autonomous vehicles, for example, don’t quite measure up to R2D2 (or Hal), but they do deploy a combination of sensors, data, and computation to perform the complex work of driving. But in most cases, the systems making claims to artificial intelligence aren’t sentient, self-aware, volitional, or even surprising. They’re just software.”
Women and the Workplace
“When former Uber engineer Susan Fowler went public with sexual harassment and discrimination allegations last month, social media erupted with shock and dismay. But many women were far from surprised. Silicon Valley’s dirty little secret: women throughout the male-dominated tech sector have stories just like hers. Stories of harassment, lesser pay and stalled careers. Stories of management turning a blind eye.”
“Studies show the majority of women believe confidence is key to effective leadership, but it’s something they struggle with themselves throughout their careers.”
From Margaret Ormiston and James R. Bailey: We Know Female CEOs Get Paid More, But We Don’t Know Why
“Last spring Equilar, an executive compensation firm, released a headline-grabbing study on gender and CEO pay. In a survey of 341 S&P 500 companies, it found that the 17 female chief executives in the group made nearly $8 million more on average than their 324 male counterparts. Some in the media responded with shock and excitement (Fortune called it, for example, ‘a reverse gender gap’), while others cautioned about the report’s small sample size. But these findings are supported by two rigorous academic studies: One found that women who hold, or are likely to hold, senior management positions earn up to 10% more than their male peers. Another found not only that female CEOs are paid more than male CEOs but also that nonwhite CEOs (African-American, Asian, Hispanic, and Native American ethnicities) are paid more than white CEOs.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Ever since the advent of industrialization over 200 years ago, there’ve been periodic fears about the impact of technology-based automation on jobs. In the 1810s, for example, the so-called Luddites smashed the new machines that were threatening their textile jobs. But each time those fears arose in the past, technology advances ended up creating more jobs than they destroyed.”
“Agility, adaptiveness, flexibility, creativity, innovation, critical thinking, collaboration, cooperation, communication, teamwork, risk-taking, networking, compassion, empathy, inclusiveness, knowing how to learn…these are the abilities needed by people in the automated workplace. The operational abilities sought after in the previous economy are no longer high on the list.”
“Workplace flexibility has been in the news a great deal over the past few years. The 2016 National Study of Employers provides an opportunity to check these media stories against the realities of organizations across the U.S. It also revealed four surprising trends.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Great bosses go for small wins. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
Instead of concentrating on what great leaders are, play attention to what they do and how you can do it, too. That’s the best way to become great.
Management in Small Doses by Russell Ackoff is a business book classic
Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Idoni, LEGO, Facebook, Under Armour, and Cronan.
Pointers to posts by Ed Batista, Art Petty, Lolly Daskal, Mary Jo Asmus, 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.