Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 4/25/16

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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 three great articles about disruption, key lessons from the Smart Manufacturing Summit, how companies are using big data and analytics, five things to promote gender equality at and why co-working is the future.

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 McKinsey & Company: Digital strategy: Understanding the economics of disruption

“Responding to digital disruption isn’t about creating a list of digitization priorities; it’s about identifying where you are vulnerable and where you can create value.”

From Daniel Gross: Go Disrupt Yourself

“A jet airplane is the definition of meticulously designed, highly engineered, performance-tested, mission-critical machine poised to weather the elements. The engine is its beating heart, without which it literally couldn’t stay aloft or move forward. And for all our technological brilliance — we can refuel planes easily and maneuver them by autopilot, use computers to control routes, and deliver Internet connectivity 36,000 feet above the earth — there are a couple of things humans have yet to figure out how to do: (1) deliver edible food on long-haul flights; and (2) swap out an engine while a jet is on the go.”

From Chris Outram: 10 Principles for Digital Disruption

“The massive transformation of the business landscape in recent years has been driven by ‘Digitalisation’, mostly inspired by ‘pure plays’, companies that only have online activities and are not encumbered by either the assets or the organisational inertia of most incumbent, traditional companies. In many sectors, traditional organisations can’t hope to compete effectively unless they embrace the digital economy… and its rules. At the same time, many of today’s pure digital plays have a lot to learn from traditional strategy.”

Industries and Analysis

From Gavin Parker, Thomas Jensen, Lodewijk van Meeuwen, Bill Urda, and Kate Cormack: Help Your Shelf: The Moves Mainstream Grocers Must Make Now

“In market after market worldwide, an increasingly popular breed of retailers is proving an old credo wrong. Stores such as Aldi, Lidl, Trader Joe’s, and Mercadona, which offer more targeted assortments than traditional grocers do, are showing that shoppers don’t have to choose between value and quality.”

From Jennifer Pellet: Key Lessons from the Smart Manufacturing Summit

“CEOs are racing to adopt new technology and develop the talent they need to lead a Manufacturing Renaissance.”

From Marie Driscoll: It’s Time for a Department Store Renaissance!

“It has been reported that we are experiencing the twilight of the department store. Critics suggest that this once glorious edifice to consumerism is no longer a relevant fixture in American suburbia or urban culture. The story goes that department stores are merely relics of a bygone age when families religiously ate dinner together, when being part of the middle class didn’t require two-earners per household, when there were only a handful of television stations to choose from, and when an outing to the mall was on par with a trip to the local amusement park.”

Innovation and Technology

From Martin Reeves, Daichi Ueda, Philipp Gerbert, and Tamim Saleh: The Integrated Strategy Machine: Using AI to Create Advantage

“Technology, no matter how advanced, does not guarantee competitive advantage. To enhance strategy, technology and people must coordinate to form an ‘integrated strategy machine.’”

From McKinsey & Company: How companies are using big data and analytics

“Just how do major organizations use data and analytics to inform strategic and operational decisions? Senior leaders provide insight into the challenges and opportunities.”

From Darrell K. Rigby, Jeff Sutherland, and Hirotaka Takeuchi: The Secret History of Agile Innovation

“You hear a lot about ‘agile innovation’ these days. Teams using agile methods get things done faster than teams using traditional processes. They keep customers happier. They enjoy their work more. Agile has indisputably transformed software development, and many experts believe it is now poised to expand far beyond IT. Ironically, that’s where it began — outside of IT.”

Wally’s Comment: Jeff Sutherland’s book, Scrum was one of the five best business books I read in 2015. You can find my review of it here.

Women and the Workplace

From Christine Exley, Muriel Niederle, and Lise Vesterlund: New Research: Women Who Don’t Negotiate Might Have a Good Reason

“You’ve just received a salary offer. Being a woman, you know that women on average earn less than men, and that women’s reluctance to negotiate could contribute to this differential. So – should you negotiate?”

Wally’s Comment: The Cost of Leaning-in” from HBS Working Knowledge is another article about the same research.

From Valentina Zarya: There Are No Women on PayPal’s Gender Equality Panel

“What makes this particular poster so noteworthy is not so much what is on it, but what is not: women. For a panel on gender diversity, the lineup—which consists of five men—is decidedly not gender diverse.”

From Lindsay Pattison: Five things to promote gender equality at work

“The good news is that leaders can improve equality at their business and reap the manifold rewards of diversity, if they are willing to walk the talk. Here are some practical tactics to consider, as well as specific programmes we’ve implemented at media agency Maxus.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Rich Rao: Three Ways Google Predicts Your Smartphone Will Change The Future Of Work

“When people imagine machine learning, they tend to think about talking cars or humanoid robots—the stuff of sci-fi fantasy, or else dystopian fiction. But machine learning is neither, and it’s already changing what computers can do. In the near future anyway, it’s going to transform the way we work—starting with that smartphone in your pocket.”

From Andrew Khouri: The new corporate workplace: Beers on tap, bring your dog to work and a short-term lease

“Long the domain of tech start-ups and individual workers, large companies such as FactSet, Delta Air Lines and home builder Lennar Corp. are now leasing co-working offices. And many are looking to do so for the same reason start-ups find the concept attractive: a hip environment and the lack of commitment a short-term lease offers.”

From Mark Corbett: Where startups lead, corporates follow – why co-working is the future

“So what’s changed since C-base, or early hubs? And how will it continue to evolve? Co-working providers are continuously fighting to leverage the next must have feature – more amenities, from faster Wi-Fi and showers, through to free beer and ping pong. Is that all it comes down to, though? I believe co-working harks back to the coffeehouse environment of 17th and 18th century enlightened thinking.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

6 things to remember about mistakes

Mistakes. Everybody makes them. Most of them don’t matter. Here are six things to remember about mistakes.

Book Review: Winning Well

Winning Well: A Manager’s Guide to Getting Results–Without Losing Your Soul will help you become the manager people want to work with.

By and About Leaders: 4/19/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Elon Musk, Jim Davis, Mike Ableson, Joel Kurtzman, and Terry Lee and other top Indianapolis leaders.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 4/20/16

Pointers to posts by Mary Jo Asmus, Mick Yates, Julie Winkle Giulioni, Lolly Daskal, and Jesse Lyn Stoner.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 4/22/16

Pointers to stories about Seaworld, Across The Board, Apple, Tesla, ATS Corp, and IKEA.

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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What People Are Saying

Joseph Lalonde   |   26 Apr 2016   |   Reply

Wow, great resource Wally! I especially liked the quote you shared from McKinsey and Company on how we need to find where we can create value. That’s a huge component of business success.

Wally Bock   |   26 Apr 2016   |   Reply

Thanks for the kind words, Joseph.