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 what you know that you don’t know can hurt you, how retail stores are using virtual reality to make shopping more fun, selling vinyl records, graphic novels, and Indian food via text message, Microsoft and Facebook tout equal pay, but there’s another issue, and good bosses create more wellness than wellness plans do.
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
“Strategic planning is one of the least-loved organizational processes. Executives at most companies criticize it as overly bureaucratic, insufficiently insightful, and ill suited for today’s rapidly changing markets. Some even argue that strategic planning is a relic that should be relegated to the past and that organizations seeking to prosper in turbulent times should instead invest in market intelligence and agility. Although the diagnosis is largely right, the prescription is wrong.”
“Good decisions are not constrained by biases. But breaking them is not easy.”
“It is convenient — and certainly tempting — to blame law enforcement and officials for failing to do their jobs and anticipate dangers in their midst. Such recriminations have been commonplace in disasters, including Pearl Harbor, 9/11, the Boston Marathon, plane crashes, and natural disasters. And although there may be some merit to this criticism, there is also something else at work in these incidents: In large enterprises, unknown knowns are legion — and, by definition, invisible. But ultimately they paralyze the ability to make good strategic decisions.”
Industries and Analysis
“The next item you try on at the mall might be a virtual reality headset. No longer relegated to video gamers, VR is coming to amusement parks, movie theaters and classrooms. But the technology presents a major opportunity for retailers as they try to lure fickle shoppers into their stores, particularly as consumers shift more of their buying habits online.”
“Where do rejected items bought online or at a brick-and-mortar store end up when returned? Is there a special return heaven in cyberspace? In retail parlance, it’s called reverse logistics.”
“What are the world’s energy experts talking about this year? Cheap oil, the landmark Paris agreement, tomorrow’s demographic trends and shifts in the energy mix, to name a salient few. Each year, IESE hosts an Energy Industry Meeting and publishes a report on the year’s top trends. Below we list four main trends to watch in the New Energy Order.”
Innovation and Technology
“The quest for ease of use of technology has made this pursuit its own worst enemy when it comes to making innovation commercially viable.”
“When a leading German engineering and electrics multinational wanted to design a new mobile app for use by its logistics staff, it didn’t hire specialist app designers or call on the company’s own IT staff. Instead, it put out a general call across the company to ask the staff for their ideas.”
From Dina Bass: These Startups Are Selling Vinyl Records, Graphic Novels, and Indian Food Via Text Message
“ReplyYes is one of a host of companies using ‘chat commerce’ to move the merchandise. Facebook and Microsoft are big believers, too.”
Women and the Workplace
From Kweilin Ellingrud, Anu Madgavkar, James Manyika, Jonathan Woetzel, Vivian Riefberg, Mekala Krishnan, and Mili Seoni: The power of parity: Advancing women’s equality in the United States
“Every state and city in the United States has the opportunity to further gender parity, which could add $4.3 trillion to the country’s economy in 2025.”
From Andrea Peterson and Jena McGregor: Microsoft and Facebook tout equal pay, but there’s another issue
“Last year, long-running tech career site Dice reported that men were much more likely to hold better-paying tech job titles than women. Average salaries for the top 10 tech positions held by men in 2014 ranged from $92,245 to $127,750; the top 10 roles held by women had average pay of $43,068 to $98,328. And both Facebook and Microsoft have far fewer women than men in leadership roles. Women make up 23 per cent of Facebook’s senior leadership, according to its latest diversity report. Microsoft’s diversity report shows an even larger gap, with women holding just 17.3 per cent of leadership roles.”
“Working women pay a high price simply for being female. Over the course of a 40-year career, a woman will earn upwards of $430,000 less than her male counterpart, according to a recent analysis. And that’s if she happens to be white. For African-American, Latina, and Native American women, the losses are even steeper.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“So what leads to employee happiness? A workplace characterized by humanity. An organizational culture characterized by forgiveness, kindness, trust, respect, and inspiration. Hundreds of studies conducted by pioneers of positive organizational psychology, including Jane Dutton and Kim Cameron at the University of Pennsylvania and Adam Grant at Wharton, demonstrate that a culture characterized by a positive work culture leads to improved employee loyalty, engagement, performance, creativity, and productivity. Given that about three-quarters of the U.S. workforce is disengaged at work — and the high cost of employee turnover — it’s about time organizations start paying attention to the data.”
“Where are we in 2016? How do we find the knowledge we need? Is it in our organizational filing systems and intranets, or rather on the Web or in our professional social networks? It’s a question of complexity.”
“Life in the new tech workplace is suspiciously like life in the old sweatshop.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
If you want to be as productive as you can be, you need enough sleep. But that’s not all.
Zero to One is Peter Thiel’s book about the first principles of successful startups.
Pointers to pieces by and about Jennifer Febre Boase, Katherine Manuel, George Akerlof, Jeff Bezos, and Tom Coughlin.
Pointers to posts by Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Tanmay Vora, Susan Mazza, Kate Nasser, and Bob Burg.
Pointers to stories about Hubert White menswear, Uber, Katz’s Delicatessen, DePuy Synthes, and WalMart.
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.