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 happened when venture capitalists took over the Golden State Warriors, anticipating the future of the IT Industry, how manufacturers benefit from the Digital Thread, and Late-Night Work Email: Blessing or Curse?
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
“In my last post, I wrote about why distinctive customer targeting is a smart strategy. But over time, this strategy has to evolve. Consider two iconic companies, the National Football League and Walmart.”
“The MIT Media Lab encourages the unconventional mixing and matching of seemingly disparate research areas. Today, faculty members, research staff, and students at the Lab work in 24 research groups on more than 350 projects that range from digital approaches for treating neurological disorders, to advanced imaging technologies that can ‘see around a corner, ’to the world’s first ‘smart’ ankle-foot prosthesis. The Lab is supported by more than 80 members—including some of the world’s leading corporations—representing such diverse fields as electronics, entertainment, fashion, health care, and telecommunications.”
“Lacob was not the first venture capitalist to buy a franchise, but he is the first to operate one according to what might be called Silicon Valley precepts: nimble management, open communication, integrating the wisdom of outside advisers and continuous re-evaluation of what companies do and how they do it. None of that typically happens in professional sports. Most franchise owners of previous generations became wealthy mastering businesses that did one specific thing, if only because that was the way that people used to become wealthy in America. They’ve run their teams, for better or worse, in the same autocratic, hidebound fashion that they ran those companies. As a manager, Lacob prefers to surround himself with expertise and exploit it.”
Industries and Analysis
“Overcapacity hits another part of the transport industry.”
“A major way of anticipating the future of any economic or social entity, – be it a company, industry, university, government agency or city, – is to explore and learn from its history. While there’s no guarantee that historical patterns will continue to apply going forward, they might well be our most important guides as we peer into an otherwise unpredictable future.”
From Neeraj Aggarwal, Frank Arthofer, Fredrik Lind, John Rose, Jacob Rosenzweig, and Joachim Stephan: The Digital Revolution Is Disrupting the TV Industry
“The global television industry is in the midst of a digital revolution. Online video has been spreading like wildfire, empowering consumers to watch what they want when they want it, sometimes cutting TV out of the equation altogether.”
Innovation and Technology
“Mid-market companies are looking to technology investments to help increase both efficiency and profitability. And by adding more digitization and technology, they are also boosting both their credibility with their customers and their brand image.”
“With the increasing use of systems that collect and analyze information from every process in a plant, we can digitally follow a product all the way from its inception to design to manufacture to use to re-design or obsolescence. That’s the digital thread.”
From Vijay Govindarajan: Great Innovators Create the Future, Manage the Present, and Selectively Forget the Past
“To deal with this problem, over the course of thirty-five years of working with and doing research in corporations around the world, I have developed a simple, practical framework that recognizes all three competing challenges managers face when leading innovation. It is based on the simple idea that the future is not located on some far-off horizon, and you cannot postpone the work of building it until tomorrow. To get to the future, you must build it day by day. That means being able to selectively set aside certain beliefs, assumptions, and practices created in and by the past that would otherwise become a rock wall between your business of today and its future potential.”
Women and the Workplace
“To make meaningful progress on gender diversity, companies must move beyond the averages and focus on the biggest pain points.”
“When it comes to gender equality in the C-suite, the gap between vision and action is wide. In an October 2015 study sponsored by Weber Shandwick and KRC Research and conducted by the Economist Intelligence Unit, 73 percent of global senior executives surveyed believe that women will occupy an equal share of C-level jobs in multinational firms by 2030. Yet only 39 percent of these same executives ranked gender equality as a top-ten business priority, and only half admitted they have established goals to get there. What to do? The way forward (or upward) is not easy, nor will it happen overnight, but organisations could make significant progress toward promoting women into the highest levels of business by focusing on these six areas:”
“Consider the cumulative affect of the 5 articles summarized in this post. After reading them, I downgraded the Hope Factor. The first three are proof positive. The 4th is a hope killer. The 5th highlights the source of resistance.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“As the cost of initiating one-to-one and one-to-many interactions drops to zero, the number of interactions increases—exponentially. By our estimates, a senior executive who in the 1970s might have received fewer than 1,000 outside phone calls, telexes or telegrams a year now faces a tidal wave of 30,000 emails and other electronic communications. Moreover, connected enterprises and automated scheduling have driven meeting time through the roof. At one company we analyzed as part of an organization- wide time-management study, employees throughout the organization spent a staggering 300,000 hours a year supporting a single weekly executive committee meeting.”
“Flexible workplace policies now enable more of us to leave the office early, put the children to bed and log on from home to finish our work. Some celebrate the option to log on at night as freedom, a sign of success in balancing home and work. For others, it feels like the opposite of freedom—a burdensome intrusion on their home life.”
“Business reliance on the freelancer economy continues to grow. Organizations in every industry and geography are increasingly indebted to external talent, whom we term agile talent, to augment their resources in strategic areas. The benefits are substantial: Agile talent provides organizations with greater flexibility, speed, and competitive insight. And as part of a contingent staffing strategy, emerging businesses and startups can afford access to outstanding technical experts that would otherwise be cost prohibitive on a full-time basis. (Though agile talent crosses skill sets and sectors, we find that it’s a staffing model that’s particularly popular in technical fields right now.) But business and government leaders have much to learn about designing their organizations to ensure the full benefits of accessing agile talent.”
“Did you catch my podcast with David Burkus yesterday? He’s the author of the new book Under New Management: How Leading Organizations Are Upending Business as Usual, it’s a provocative work that challenges the traditional and widely accepted principles of business management — and proves that they are outdated, outmoded, or simply don’t work. When he’s not writing, David is an associate professor of management at Oral Roberts University as well as the man behind the Radio Free Leader podcast. And, today, I’m thrilled to have him as my guest blogger, sharing his favourite books on the future of work.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
An effective executive summary is often the key to a successful proposal Here are five questions your executive summary should answer.
Who should buy Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown, and who shouldn’t.
Pointers to pieces by and about Sarah Biser, Ray Stata, Max DePree, David Jaffe, and Jad Saliba.
Pointers to posts by Lolly Daskal, Kate Nasser, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Mary Jo Asmus, and Ed Batista.
Pointers to stories about Google, Instacart, Marathon Petroleum, Camcraft, and the Golden State Warriors.
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.