Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 4/24/17

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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 mastering the three dimensions of growth in the digital age, the power of and, how swapping life stories can make you a better leader, fixing Big Data’s blind spot, focusing on what works for workplace diversity, why the future of robots is all too human, and why it’s time to redefine “work.”

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 Kabir Ahuja, Jesko Perrey, and Liz Hilton Segel: Invest, Create, Perform: Mastering the three dimensions of growth in the digital age

“Growth winners think about growth in new ways and pursue it across multiple dimensions.”

From Eric McNulty: The Power of And

“There’s a word that is unlikely to join this list, though it accurately captures and communicates the essence of today’s leadership challenges. It is the common conjunction and.”

From the London Business School: How swapping life stories can make you a better leader

“Professor Nigel Nicholson on why executives should explore their own timeline and take interest in other people’s experiences.”

Industries and Analysis

From Henrik Naujoks, Florian Mueller and Nikos Kotalakidis: Digitalization in Insurance: The Multibillion Dollar Opportunity

“The business of property and casualty insurance—assessing risk, collecting premiums and paying claims—hasn’t changed much since 1861, when a group of underwriters sold the first policies to protect London homeowners against losses from fire. Recently, though, the insurance industry has embarked on a radical transformation, one spurred by a series of digital innovations whose widespread adoption is just a few years away. Bain & Company and Google have identified seven key technologies—namely, infrastructure and productivity, online sales technologies, advanced analytics, machine learning, the Internet of Things, distributed ledger and virtual reality—that have already begun to disrupt the industry and whose impact will accelerate in the next three to five years. These new technologies are likely to be a boon for consumers, bringing more choice, better service and lower prices.”

From Phanish Puranam: Imagining a Leaner, Meaner University

“If we had to redesign higher education from scratch, what would it look like?”

From the Economist: How Germany’s Otto uses artificial intelligence

“A GLIMPSE into the future of retailing is available in a smallish office in Hamburg. From there, Otto, a German e-commerce merchant, is using artificial intelligence (AI) to improve its activities. The firm is already deploying the technology to make decisions at a scale, speed and accuracy that surpass the capabilities of its human employees.”

Innovation and Technology

From Ian Chipman: Fixing Big Data’s Blind Spot

“Athey wants to help machine-learning applications look beyond correlation and into root causes.”

From the London School of Economics: Beware Big Brother in the family room?

“The IoT has great potential, but also troubling vulnerabilities, writes Ken Fireman.”

From Roman V. Yampolskiy: What Will Happen When Your Company’s Algorithms Go Wrong?

“When you’re ready to incorporate artificial intelligence technologies in your business, the analysis you should perform is this: What can possibly go wrong? What is our product or service expected to do? What happens if it fails to do so? Do we have a damage mitigation plan?”

Women and the Workplace

From Sharlyn Lauby: Want to Retain Your Women Leaders? Look Beyond Maternity Leave

“Organizations need to focus their engagement and retention strategies toward women. And I’m not just saying that because I’m a woman. According to the U.S. Department of Labor, women represent 51.5 percent of all professional and managerial jobs. And a large percentage of these women are also working mothers. So, if businesses are saying to themselves, ‘Where can we have the most impact?’, it only seems logical and good business sense to consider the largest group.”

From McKinsey & Company: Focusing on what works for workplace diversity

“For faster progress, companies need to draw on the power of design, rethink their assumptions, and use data to inform decision making.”

From Paola Cecchi-Dimeglio: How Gender Bias Corrupts Performance Reviews, and What to Do About It

“The annual performance review already has many strikes against it. Harried managers end up recalling high and low points on the fly; employees often get unclear direction. Here’s another flaw: Women are shortchanged by these reviews.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Greg Satell: The Future Of Robots Is All Too Human

“Since 2000, the US has lost 5 million manufacturing jobs. Some say that the loss is due to foreign competition, primarily from China. Others say that it is due to higher productivity from automation and factories simply don’t need as many workers. Historically, those two trends, globalization and automation, have reinforced each other. Yet a study by Boston Consulting Group suggests that they are starting to diverge.”

From the London School of Economics: Work 4.0: How Germany is shaping the future of work

“Personal employment accounts, insurance and life-long learning are some of the initiatives under discussion, writes Silke Breimaier.”

From Paul Fitzpatrick: It’s Time to Redefine “Work”

“Take a moment and think about a time when you were your best at work. What made it so great?”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Boss’s Tip of the Week: Touch base a lot

A simple behavior that opens the door to many good things. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.

Becoming a Great Boss: Where to Start

If you could do only one thing on the way to becoming a great boss, what would it be?

Book Review: Pre-Suasion by Robert Cialdini

Read this review to discover why Pre-suasion: A Revolutionary Way to Influence and Persuade, by Robert Cialdini isn’t worth your time or money.

Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 4/18/17

Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s articles about Marc Andreessen, Jane Yuen-Lin Mahowald, Brian Chesky, Dan Rooney, and Robert W. Taylor.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 4/19/17

Pointers to posts by Mary Jo Asmus, Kate Nasser, Kevin Eikenberry, Ken Downer, and Ed Batista

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.

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