Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 4/27/15

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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 how to beat the transformation odds, Silicon Valley marks 50 years of Moore’s Law, the imagination gap, how women will now lead two of the country’s biggest accounting firms, and what Harvard Business School has learned about online collaboration from HBX.

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 Manny Maceda, Michael Garstka and Charles Ormiston: Choreographing a Full Potential Transformation

“In the wake of the historic ‘dotcom’ bull market that redefined the brokerage business in the late 1990s, Charles Schwab & Company found itself stuck in the middle when the technology bubble burst in 2000. As the financial services industry scrambled to lure shell-shocked investors back into the market, Schwab was caught between traditional full-service brokers like Merrill Lynch at the top and a new breed of technology-enabled discounters like E*Trade attacking from below. Over the next three years, the San Francisco firm lost 60% of its commission revenue, leading to an 80% plunge in market value.”

From McKinsey: How to beat the transformation odds

“Transformational change is still hard, according to a new survey. But a focus on communicating, leading by example, engaging employees, and continuously improving can triple the odds of success.”

From William Troy: Proactive Leaders Are Essential to a Sustainable, Successful Culture of Quality

“CEOs can play a key role in the quality of their organization’s products and services, yet only 60% of respondents to a new ASQ survey say their leaders unequivocally support the quality vision and values—key components of a successful quality culture.”

Industries and Analysis

From Eric Boudier, Martin Reeves, Anders Porsborg-Smith, and Amin Venjara: Escaping the Doghouse: Winning in Commoditized Markets

“Commoditization is often seen as the kiss of death for an industry. Boding ominously for profit margins, it brings slowing growth, falling prices, and increasing competition. In recent years, the process of commoditization has accelerated. Company life cycles have halved in the past 20 years: markets mature faster and incumbents are more and more at risk of commoditization”

From Joe Palca: 3-D Printers Are Changing The Way People Think About Manufacturing

“At the Oak Ridge National Laboratory in Tennessee, the future of manufacturing is taking shape. At the lab, 3D printers offer some unique design opportunities as well as interesting challenges.”

From Pete Carey: Silicon Valley marks 50 years of Moore’s Law

“Computers were the size of refrigerators when an engineer named Gordon Moore laid the foundations of Silicon Valley with a vision that became known as ‘Moore’s Law.'”

Innovations and Technology

From Paul Hobcraft: Seeking Innovation Alignment Conversations

“Innovation stands in service to the strategic goals of our organization, or it certainly should!”

From Jeffrey Rothfeder: The Imagination Gap

“Business leaders in at least 16 sectors are still not fully prepared for the digital transformation of their industries.”

From the Economist: Now and then

“IN THE 19th century, inventors were heroes. The likes of Stephenson, Morse and Goodyear were the shock troops of the Industrial Revolution. Their ideas helped drag humanity from agrarian poverty to manufactured plenty. These days, though, inventor-superstars, while not absent, are fewer and farther between.”

Women and the Workplace

From Menaka Shroff: Tech women want meritocracy and the end of ‘manterrupting’

“Most women in tech don’t want special treatment but simply to be rewarded based on their abilities and accomplishments. Here are the steps that tech executive, Menaka Shroff says she and her peers are advocating for women and for companies.”

From Lillian Cunningham: For first time, women will now lead two of the country’s biggest accounting firms

“Doughtie and Engelbert have served at their firms for three decades before reaching the top spot, starting a year apart from each other in 1985 and 1986, respectively. Both women also have seen their firms transform over the years from workplaces dominated by men to ones that consistently rank high among the country’s best employers for women.”

From Caroline McMillan Portillo: Could this tool be the answer to getting more women on corporate boards?

“As advocates and executives alike grapple with the low percentage of women on corporate boards in the U.S., a group of Tampa Bay’s leading female executives may have created a tool that could change the equation.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Bharat Anand, Jan Hammond, and V.G. Narayanan: What Harvard Business School Has Learned About Online Collaboration From HBX

“In June 2014, Harvard Business School launched HBX, its new online education initiative. At the time, the norm, increasingly, in many online courses was to create a ‘lean back’, individualized experience where students would primarily watch streamed video lectures that centered on experts. Stimulating lectures with star professors, perhaps, but lectures nonetheless — with a passive, individualized learner experience. We wanted to change that.”

From Harold Jarche: cooperation makes us human

“Automation of procedural work is accelerating. What was considered knowledge work yesterday will be routine tomorrow, and workers will be replaced by software and machines. At the same time, access to real-time data is making individuals more powerful, and managers obsolete.”

From Ana Campoy: Match Game: Companies Push Training to Close Skills Gap

“Well-paying jobs abound in Houston area. Qualified workers, not so much.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Leading yourself: A Baker’s Dozen of Things to Master

You can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself. Here is a baker’s dozen of things to master to be the best leader you can be.

By and About Leaders: 4/21/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Patrick Dillingham, Sean Koffel, Mark Bertolini, Lynda Weinman, Jimmy Smith, and Maria Bartiromo.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 4/22/15

Pointers to posts by Karin Hurt, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Michael Bungay Stanier, Mary Jo Asmus, Anne Perschel.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 4/24/15

Pointers to stories about CEMEX, Studio Dental, Open English, IBM, and Curriculum Associates.

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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