Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 5/11/15

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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 the four global forces breaking all the trends, romancing the drone, the eight essentials of innovation, business schools are fighting to recruit top women, and why you can’t have self-managed teams without self-managed people.

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 Philip Evans and Patrick Forth: Borges’ Map: Navigating a World of Digital Disruption

“DIGITAL DISRUPTION IS not a new phenomenon. But the opportunities and risks it presents shift over time. Competitive advantage flows to the businesses that see and act on those shifts first. We are entering the third, and most consequential, wave of digital disruption. It has profound implications not only for strategy but also for the structures of companies and industries. Business leaders need a new map to guide them. This article explains the factors underlying these disruptive waves, outlines the new strategic issues they raise, and describes a portfolio of new strategic moves that business leaders need to master.”

From Richard Dobbs, James Manyika, and Jonathan Woetzel: The four global forces breaking all the trends

“The world economy’s operating system is being rewritten. In this exclusive excerpt from the new book No Ordinary Disruption, its authors explain the trends reshaping the world and why leaders must adjust to a new reality.”

From John Mullins: What if my idea won’t work?

“John Mullins explains why it pays to challenge your business idea before throwing time and money at it.”

Industries and Analysis

From Nancy Dahlberg: Romancing the drone: Demand takes off in South Florida

“Step inside Animusoft’s Kendall offices, and you’ll see drones everywhere — large ones, little ones, drones that inspect, drones that pick fruit, and a few just for fun. Some are half-built; 3D printers are working 24/7 to create new parts. You might think this is a drone manufacturer, but you’d be wrong. Animusoft is a Miami startup technology company creating an operating system for drone and robot makers.”

From the Economist: The Piggly Wiggly way

“IN 1916 Clarence Saunders changed the face of retailing when he opened his first Piggly Wiggly supermarket in Memphis, Tennessee. Hitherto, shops had kept all their goods behind the counter: customers told the staff what they wanted, waited while their purchases were bagged up, then handed over their money. Saunders came up with the idea of self-service. Customers selected their own groceries from the shelves, and took their baskets to a cashier on the way out. Saunders proclaimed that by cutting labour costs his idea would ‘slay the demon of high prices’.”

From Morten Bennedsen: Are You Sure You Want to Go Public?

“Many family owners are tempted to float their company on the stock exchange, lured by the idea of raising significant amounts of cash. But going public is not always what it’s cracked up to be.”

Innovations and Technology

From Erica E. Phillips: Internet of Things Reaches Into the Trucking Business

“Saia-Intel truck-tracking project shows the growing relevance of connecting the Web to supply chains.”

From the Economist: The dawn of artificial intelligence

“Powerful computers will reshape humanity’s future. How to ensure the promise outweighs the perils.”

From Marc de Jong, Nathan Marston, and Erik Roth: The eight essentials of innovation

“Strategic and organizational factors are what separate successful big-company innovators from the rest of the field.”

Women and the Workplace

From Manfred Kets de Vries: The Sexual “Cloud” in the Executive Suite

“Are sex and man’s unconscious drive for survival keeping women locked out of the C-suite?”

From Kathryn Dill: Can’t Find Enough Talented Women? The Problem Might Be Your Network

“If there seem to be a dearth of qualified professional women available to hire, the issue might be with your network. This was one of the chief assessments of Focus Brands’ Kat Cole, entrepreneur and investor Swati Mylavarapu, and Empowerment Plan founder and CEO Veronika Scott, who gathered at Forbes’ Reinventing America Workforce Summit on Tuesday to discuss the puzzle many companies are struggling to solve: How to attract and retain professional women in their 20s and 30s”

From Lindsay Gellman: Business Schools Are Fighting to Recruit Top Women

“As fewer U.S. students show interest in a business degree, M.B.A. programs work to boost pipeline of qualified female applicants.”

Hat tip to Selena Rezvani for pointing me to this story.

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Jena McGregor: At Zappos, 210 employees decide to leave rather than work with ‘no bosses’

“In March, Zappos CEO Tony Hsieh issued an ultimatum of sorts to his employees. If they didn’t feel like they could get behind the company’s radical new management system—in which there are no traditional managers or job titles—he would give them until April 30 to decide whether they wanted to leave in exchange for at least three months’ severance. The company said it was offering the option to eligible employees in order to expedite the new system’s adoption. Now that the deadline has passed, it turns out that 210 employees, or about 14 percent of the online retailer’s 1,500 workers, have taken Hsieh up on it.”

From Sharlyn Lauby: You Can’t Have Self-Managed Teams Without Self-Managed People

“Many years ago, one of the companies I worked for decided to move toward self-managed teams. A group of managers, including myself, spent months working on how self-managed teams could be incorporated into our culture. We ended up doing it, but looking back, I’m not sure it was really successful. I think what we really did was just create a new organizational structure and called it self-managed work teams.”

From Randy Howder: The Office of the Future: More Comfortable, and Even More Untethered

“Imagining the office of the future is a perilous business, as foreseers of ‘the paperless office’ can attest. But its outlines are already here, if you know where to look.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Self-Development Magic

It doesn’t take much to stay interested, motivated, and growing.

By and About Leaders: 5/5/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Kazuo Hirai, Diane von Furstenberg, François Michelin, George Garvin Brown IV, and Elon Musk.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 5/6/15

Pointers to posts by Aad Boot, Tanveer Naseer, Karin Hurt, Mary Jo Asmus, and Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 5/8/15

Pointers to stories about Instacart, Haier, Yahoo, Google, and Kohl’s.

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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