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 stop distinguishing between execution and strategy, big profits seen in rare diseases, opening up innovation at Tata Steel, female-run venture capital funds alter the status quo, what MIT is learning about online courses and working from home, and great tech doesn’t guarantee innovation.
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
“It’s impossible to have a good strategy poorly executed. That’s because execution actually is strategy – trying to separate the two only leads to confusion.”
“Leaders may find it tempting to wage ambitious crusades for personal reward, but eventually their troops can turn on them. Collaboration, often missed, can be a viable and sustainable alternative.”
“What is the best way to organise a company? From the shamrock to the Triple I, Charles Handy has led the debate.”
Industries and Analysis
“We are operating in an increasingly overstored, overstuffed, and over-websited environment, in an economy in which consumers’ wallets are barely growing at best and shrinking at worst. Competitors must battle for enough of a share of this rather stagnant market (growing by 2-3%), to grow their own businesses at a high single- or low double-digit rate. And they must do so profitably.”
“The global pharmaceutical industry is pouring billions of dollars into developing treatments for rare diseases, which once drew little interest from major drugmakers but now point the way toward a new era of innovative therapies and big profits.”
“World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. now has more than 1.3 million subscribers for its online TV network, a 31% increase in just two months that has left investors wondering if the growth is sustainable.”
Innovations and Technology
“Open Innovation (OI) is a well-established way to increase options for innovation. It is quite prominent in areas such as Fast Moving Consumer Goods (CPG), but much less so in manufacturing industries. That’s why I took the opportunity recently to find out more from Pete Longdon, who runs the OI programme at Tata Steel.”
“Know your customers, understand new technologies, embrace failure, then take a leap of faith.”
“Throughout my career I have seen some amazing technology come to life. I have been fortunate enough to have worked with some of the great business leaders of the 20th and 21st Centuries, witnessed their creativity and ingenuity first hand, and watched as those innovations have transformed industries across the globe. But for every success, I have seen dozens of failures. For every brilliant idea, I have seen many fall at the first hurdle – or progress, limping towards an uncertain future.”
Women and the Workplace
“A number of new investment firms started by women are bringing fresh perspectives, and funding appetites, to a field long dominated by men.”
“Despite the gains made by women in the job market in recent decades, the access of women to the upper levels of the business hierarchy remains limited. A vast literature seeks to explain the barrier to female advancement widely known as the ‘glass ceiling,’ which is regarded as ‘an egregious denial of social justice,’ at least by the U.S. Department of Labor. But the two primary strands of this literature — one using experimental methods and the other using data gleaned from sports events — offer very different conclusions. In this essay, we examine what these studies have added to our understanding of the glass ceiling and point out the limits of the methods that they employ.”
“Tech firms can banish sexism without sacrificing the culture that made them successful.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“It’s the home of the best-kept secret in corporate Japan, a $50 billion-plus industrial powerhouse that hides away in the woods near Mount Fuji. Inside the complex, scores of bright yellow robots toil away 24 hours a day in 22 factories, replicating themselves. Watched over by a handful of human workers, they build more robots and other factory machinery—and rake in profits for their owner, Fanuc Corp.”
“An interview with Google’s head of ‘people operations,’ Laszlo Bock”
“‘Virtual work’ is increasingly just ‘work’ for most of us – whether we’re dialing into a conference call with our branch offices in London and New York, or VPN-ing in from home to catch up with work after-hours, remote work is the new normal. But as Peter Hirst, director of the executive education program at the MIT Sloan School of management, told me, there’s still something special about face-to-face interaction. ‘The richest experience [is still] being able to get together in person, face to face. There’s millions of years of evolution behind that.’ But Hirst is no Luddite. (I don’t think they allow those at MIT.) He’s helping to lead MIT into a new era of online learning, and experimenting with remote work with his own team at the same time. I talked with him about the state of virtual collaboration today. What follows are edited excerpts from our conversation.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Pundits tell you not to make assumptions, but that’s impossible. Here’s what to do instead.
Pointers to pieces by and about Jenny Lee, Tim Cook, Sir Martin Sorrell, and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
Pointers to posts on Ed Batista, Kate Nasser, Lolly Daskal, Mary Jo Asmus, and Chris Edmonds.
Pointers to stories about Lego, Airstream, Green Giant, WalMart, and GoDaddy.
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