Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 3/7/16

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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 the biology of corporate survival, a rust-belt revival, the mindset needed for digital change, why male-founded startups are receiving more venture capital, and making collaboration across functions a reality.

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 Jesse Sostrin: Your Margin of Power

“The most overlooked factor in effective leadership is capacity: the time, attention, and energy that you, as an individual leader, can give. You cannot manage people, projects, or priorities without it. You cannot remain engaged in the development of others without it. And leadership capacity is a necessary enabler for completing all of the elusive and important tasks on your plate, as well as for influencing others over whom you have no authority, navigating complexity, and dealing with the unexpected.”

From Martin Reeves, Simon Levin, and Daichi Ueda: The Biology of Corporate Survival

“Companies operate in an increasingly complex world: Business environments are more diverse, dynamic, and interconnected than ever—and far less predictable. Yet many firms still pursue classic approaches to strategy that were designed for more-stable times, emphasizing analysis and planning focused on maximizing short-term performance rather than long-term robustness. How are they faring?”

From Tammy Erickson: Organising to optimise intelligence

“Today, much of our most important and differentiating work depends on the creativity and initiative of individuals. The companies that will become icons of this century will be those that find ways to leverage both human and machine-based intelligence effectively – harnessing small units of knowledge, detecting patterns, providing new insights or innovating to create new capabilities. Companies that excel at optimizing intelligence will look very different from those constructed in the industrial model to optimize scale.”

Industries and Analysis

From Tracey Lien: Commercial carpooling (although it’s illegal) is growing in L.A., Uber and Lyft say

“A bill legalizing commercial carpooling stalled in the California Legislature last summer, but that hasn’t stopped Californians from embracing the transportation option now offered by companies such as Uber and Lyft.”

From Jack Torrance: How ecommerce is changing the logistics industry

“Consumer demand is making the busy world of logistics ever more sophisticated. From same-day services to drones, we track where the delivery industry is headed.”

From the Economist: A rust-belt revival

“Mercifully, not everyone is a doom-monger. In his annual letter to shareholders of Berkshire Hathaway, on February 26th, Warren Buffett noted that ‘for 240 years it’s been a terrible mistake to bet against America, and now is no time to start.’ The March issue of the Atlantic magazine has a cover story by James Fallows on ‘How America is putting itself back together’. The author undertook a three-year journey across the country in a single-engine plane and saw signs of reinvention and renewal wherever he went—and not just in trendy tech hubs. A new book by Antoine van Agtmael, who coined the phrase ‘emerging markets’, and Fred Bakker, a Dutch journalist, called ‘The Smartest Places on Earth’, argues that the rust belts of the rich world, especially in America, are becoming hotspots of innovation.”

Innovation and Technology

From Wharton: How Microsoft’s ‘Garage’ Keeps Its Innovative Spark Burning

“How does a company as large as Microsoft keep its innovative spark alive? At the ‘Strategies for Success in the New Era of Connected Ecosystems’ conference hosted by Wharton’s Mack Institute for Innovation Management, Todd Rawlings, the senior quality manager for corporate business excellence at Microsoft, expounded on the new models for institutionalizing innovation. Afterwards, he spoke to Knowledge@Wharton about how the technology giant makes sure to stay on the cutting edge of innovation.”

From Annet Aris: The Mindset Needed For Digital Change

“The world’s going digital, but is your company ready to make the change? Sometimes having the technology is not enough.”

From Eilene Zimmerman: Baba Shiv: Failure is the Mother of Innovation

“Startups may embrace the ‘fail-fast’ mantra, but many leaders are risk-adverse.”

Women and the Workplace

From Kent Hoover: Women-owned businesses and small businesses as a whole get more contracts than ever from federal government

“Small businesses received a record-high 25.8 percent of federal contracting dollars last year, and, for the first time ever, the government hit its goal of awarding at least 5 percent of its contracts to women.”

From Anthony Noto: LumiFi CEO: Why male-founded startups are receiving more venture capital

“It’s easy to see that there are plenty of female-founded startups cropping up across the country, but trying to explain why they receive so much less venture capital than male-founded companies is baffling.”

From Silicon Republic: 40 powerful women leading tech around the world

“With less than a week to go to International Women’s Day, we’re celebrating the powerful women leaders in tech from all over the globe.”

Thanks to Stephanie Neal for pointing me to the above story.

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Ruben Schaubroeck, Felicita Holsztejn Tarczewski, and Rob Theunissen: Making collaboration across functions a reality

“Fast-changing global markets put a premium on simplifying processes radically and breaking through silos.”

From the New York Times: The Post-Cubicle Office and Its Discontents

“But these days, to lament cubicles is to miss the point. Looking at the most sophisticated office spaces is to see that the lessons of Roethke and Bartleby — the design lessons, at any rate — have been learned.”

From Rebecca Greenfield: The Office Hierarchy is Officially Dead

“These organizations are moving away from the top-down hierarchies, inherited from the industrial age, suggests a Deloitte survey, released Wednesday, of more than 7,000 companies. Traditionally, jobs were organized by function—sales people worked with sales people; marketing people with marketing—and success meant moving up the chain. But in a modern workplace, people have less-defined jobs and move laterally from project to project, said Deloitte’s Josh Bersin, who worked on the study. ‘We’re now operating businesses as networks of teams,’ he said. Companies that haven’t already made this shift are thinking about it—92 percent of those surveyed cited organizational redesign as the top priority.”

Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

The Irwin Hoffman World Book Day Challenge

Today is World Book Day and I’m remembering my English teacher from my freshman year in high school. Thank you, Mr. Hoffman.

Leadership book clubs

Leaders are readers and some of the best reading happens in leadership book clubs.

By and About Leaders: 3/1/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Marvin Ellison, Gary Friedman, Tim Cook, John Repenning, and Alfred E. Mann.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 3/2/16

Pointers to posts by Tanmay Vora, Anne Perschel, Kate Nasser, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 3/4/16

Pointers to stories about Walt Disney Company, TurboTax, GD Copper, Snapchat, and Publix.

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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