Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 5/18/15

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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 six ways to nurture CEOs’ visionary thinking, is bowling in its final frames, artificial-intelligence experts are in high demand, and starting a successful apprentice program.

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 Cesare Mainardi and Christopher A.H. Vollmer: How Digital Leaders Outperform Their Peers

“If everyone can appreciate the transformational power of digital, why do some companies get it right while others get it so terribly wrong? Why do so many companies cling to an outmoded technology or fumble with outdated processes and products, while others capitalize on the opportunities of the digital era? It’s usually not because of one major event or one big decision. Eighty percent of corporate value destruction comes from bad strategy decisions. The trick is to improve your hit rate so that time after time you make the right strategic choices to drive both technology-enabled growth and business model transformation. We studied some of the world’s most successful companies and uncovered five critical ways to get it right.”

From Dale Buss: 6 Ways to Nurture CEOs’ Visionary Thinking

“Every CEO wants to be a visionary; it’s practically in the job description, and it’s one of the most reliable indicators of effective business leadership. But they don’t have to rely only on visions, dreams and flashes of insight to provide a picture of the future they can use to forge missions and cast strategies.”

From McKinsey: Growing by adapting at speed

“How do companies stay ahead when everyone is accelerating? Not by merely adapting to changing conditions, but by doing so quickly and decisively, according to McKinsey’s Marc Singer.”

Industries and Analysis

From Michaël Niddam, Jean-Christophe Gard, and Jonathan Koopmans: Insurance and Technology: The Disruptive Force of Insurance Ecosystems

“New insurance-industry ecosystems, driven by the advance of digital technologies, could disrupt the industry and put unprepared insurers at risk, according to a new report by The Boston Consulting Group and Morgan Stanley Research.”

From Frank Witsil: Is bowling in its final frames — or on a roll?

“One by one, America’s once-grand bowling alleys are shutting down, raising the question about whether bowling is in its final frames. But some industry watchers say the $6-billion-a-year business is in transition and ready for a turnaround with a younger, white collar crowd adopting a type of happy hour, after-work bowling habit”

From Shelley E. Kohan: Retail’s Darkest Secret: The Knowledge Deficiency Gap

“However, despite all of the market research, strategic development, capital investment and operational execution of newly designed stores, retailers must not overlook brick-and-mortar retail’s darkest secret — and perhaps largest problem in general — ‘the knowledge deficiency gap’ of associates. Customers are coming through the door armed with an arsenal of researched information on products and pricing. The hidden truth is often the customers know more about the brand, products and policies than the associates in the stores.”

Innovations and Technology

From Manuel Sosa: An Innovation Reinvention for Incumbents

“Established firms do not have to develop innovative capabilities entirely from scratch. By following a path blazed by designers, they can develop homegrown innovation processes and a culture of creative thinking.”

From Amir Mizroch: Artificial-Intelligence Experts Are in High Demand

“Google Inc.,Facebook Inc., Amazon and other technology companies are scrambling to push the bounds of artificial intelligence, or AI, and in that effort they are stocking their own research centers with big-name academics and aspiring Ph.D. candidates.”

From Scott Kirsner: What Big Companies Get Wrong About Innovation Metrics

“The fear of getting Netflix-ed or Uber-ized is spurring big companies to dial up their investment in innovation. Companies as diverse as AIG, Disney, and Intuit have been building innovation teams, launching ‘accelerator’ programs to attract promising startups, and giving employees seed funding to test out new ideas with real customers. But as investment increases, many companies are struggling with a challenging question: how do you know whether your chosen innovation strategy is actually bearing fruit?”

Women and the Workplace

From Hilary Burns: Bank of America executive Katy Knox helped create a virtual mentoring program

“She spent one week in South Africa, and one week in Belfast, Ireland. Both trips were with different women, but the purpose was the same: To mentor businesswomen across the globe.”

From Molly Mulshine: Kevin O’Leary of ‘Shark Tank’ invests in 27 companies and says the only ones making money have female CEOs

“‘Shark Tank’ investing star Kevin O’Leary says women lead all of his companies that are showing returns.”

From Katheryn Thayer: The Future Of Bigger, Better Female Startups Is Data And Design Thinking

“Women in New York City are starting businesses in force, but still face significant challenges growing them. In March, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the launch of Woman Entrepreneurs NYC (WE NYC), a program that aims to provide support to over 5,000 female business owners in under-served communities. This is the first time an American city has identified female entrepreneurs as key drivers of economic development and implemented a user-centered design process to meet their unique needs.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Rachel Feintzeig: The 40-Hour Work Week Is a Thing of the Past

“About half of all managers work more than 40 hours a week, according to a new survey from tax and consulting firm EY, and 39% report that their hours have increased in the past five years. Little wonder, then, that one-third of workers say it’s getting more difficult to balance work and life.”

From Josh Levs: Stop Punishing the Family Man

“These policies highlight a profound disconnect from our lives at home, where a revolution has already occurred. A far cry from previous generations, today’s working dads who live with their kids spend an average of three hours a day with them. Virtually all bathe, diaper, dress, eat with, and play with their kids every day or several times a week. Men and women put in an equal number of hours on behalf of their families through a combination of paid work, household chores, and child care.”

From Laura Putre: Starting a Successful Apprentice Program

“That was the impetus for starting an apprenticeship program at the plant in the summer of 2011, said Dawn Braswell, Siemens training manager at Charlotte. Braswell talked about best practices in apprenticeship programs to a packed room at the IndustryWeek Best Plants conference in Charlotte last week. (Of the hundred or so attendees, only a few raised their hands when asked if they actually had an apprentice program at their plants.)”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

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I learned a lot from my father. Here’s an overview of the big lessons.

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By and About Leaders: 5/12/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Mitt Romney, Jack and Suzy Welch, Laurie Campbell, Joel Peterson, and Dave Goldberg.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 5/13/15

Pointers to posts by Mary Jo Asmus, Chris Edmonds, Tanveer Naseer, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Karin Hurt.

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

Pointers to stories about Marien Pro Hardware, Zips, Boeing, GE, and Forever 21.

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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