Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 5/2/16

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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 what corporate strategists need to know about synergies, three megatrends shaping the logistics industry, agile innovation, vague feedback is holding women back, and why co-working is the future.

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 Phanish Puranam: What Corporate Strategists Need to Know About Synergies

“Understanding the distinctive ‘footprints’ of four different types of synergy can help improve the way you value and implement corporate strategies.”

From Gary Bowman: Plans for future scenarios are hard to communicate to employees

“Scenario planning is a well-known and commonly used strategy tool. Despite such widespread use (and its presence in business school curricula), there exists little consensus over what it actually involves, how and when it is done (or should be done), and how it can help organisations. My research attempts to address these issues and develop a more thorough understanding of what scenario planning entails.”

From HBS Working Knowledge: As Tim Cook, How Would You Tackle Apple’s Next Challenge?

“With Apple’s technology now apparently less secure, CEO Tim Cook suddenly has some critical decisions to make. James Heskett guides us through the options and asks for suggestions.”

Wally’s Comment: Be sure to read the comments.

Industries and Analysis

From Sonia Barquin and Vinayak HV: Building a digital-banking business

“Banks have been using digital technologies to help transform various areas of their business. There’s an even bigger opportunity—go all digital.”

From Suzette Parmley: Apparel retailers embrace the plus-size customer

“After being the Rodney Dangerfield of retail for so long, ‘plus size’ customers are finally getting some respect.”

From Warren Strugatch: 3 Megatrends Shaping the Logistics Industry

“In their 2016 Logistics Trend Radar, g\Global logistics company DHL has identified 3 megatrends that are shaping the future of the transportation industry.”

Innovation and Technology

From Darrell K. Rigby, Steve Berez, Greg Caimi and Andrew Noble: Agile Innovation

“As a 21st-century Mark Twain might observe, everybody talks about innovation, but nobody does anything about it. Of course, that’s not quite right. Several path-breaking thinkers have come up with better ways to design new products. The problem is that anywhere from 70% to 90%1 of those new products continue to fail. Lacking a systematic, repeatable and fast-moving method for designing and developing innovations, companies find themselves struggling to keep up with market changes.”

From Michael Graber: Turning Good Ideas into Great Products

“One innovation method is to invite customers (in a B-2-B situation) or consumers (in a B-2-C scenario) into the creative process with you. Here, they will ideate, workshop concepts that arise in the session, augment concepts provided for them, and create some new product or service ideas that do not yet exist.”

From Anne Fisher: How Managers Accidentally Squash Innovation

“The history of business is filled with what look, in retrospect, like boneheaded decisions. Remember when Excite (since evolved into Ask.com) had the chance to buy a wacky little startup called Google for $750,000 — and turned it down? Or when Kodak developed digital photography before anybody else, and chose to keep it quiet? Or how about the 12 publishers who rejected J.K. Rowling’s first Harry Potter book, before the series went on to sell more than 400 million copies?”

Women and the Workplace

From Mary Johnson: Ellevate’s Sallie Krawcheck, Wells Fargo’s Michelle Lee and more on lessons learned in their careers

“Sallie Krawcheck has made a business in recent years of surrounding herself with impressive women. Tuesday night was no different. Krawcheck was part of a panel of women gathered together to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the launch of the Charlotte chapter of Krawcheck’s Ellevate Network. The discussion covered everything from authenticity to the imposter syndrome to what Krawcheck is calling the ‘gender investing gap.’ Here are some key takeaways — and the stories behind them (lightly edited for brevity and clarity):”

From Shelley Correll and Caroline Simard: Research: Vague Feedback Is Holding Women Back

“Although companies have invested heavily in programs to advance women leaders, the number of women in executive roles has not changed significantly in the last decade. Even if women are well represented as middle managers, their numbers drop off when making the jump to VP-level executives. Why are women not rising to executive ranks?”

From Laszlo Bock: How the “what’s your current salary?” question hurts the gender pay gap

“In 2015 we added 8,214 employees to Google. And the women we hired, on average, received a 30 percent bigger salary increase upon joining the company, compared to men. Does that sound fair to you?”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From William Craig: Connecting Company Culture To The Future Of Work

“Work is changing, and quickly. Phrases like gig and sharing economy, globalization, automation and digitization now hold sway in conversations about where the life of the professional is headed. What’s become abundantly clear is that the company of the future is going to have to adapt if it wants to compete, retain top talent and ultimately thrive in an increasingly interconnected world. Here’s a brief look at three mini-revolutions that are about to have a huge impact on the future of work.”

From Mark Corbett: Where startups lead, corporates follow – why co-working is the future

“So what’s changed since C-base, or early hubs? And how will it continue to evolve? Co-working providers are continuously fighting to leverage the next must have feature – more amenities, from faster Wi-Fi and showers, through to free beer and ping pong. Is that all it comes down to, though? I believe co-working harks back to the coffeehouse environment of 17th and 18th century enlightened thinking.”

From Eric McNulty: Is It the Cortisol or the Cubicle?

“Oddly enough, although these early efficiency efforts have been criticized for dehumanizing workers, their long tail can be seen in self-consciously modern workplace designs such as Herman Miller’s ‘Action Office’ system and Google’s new Silicon Valley campus. These later approaches improve on Taylor and Ford by adapting the environment to facilitate the work, but the worker is still merely the medium of productivity, not an indispensable agent of it.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

The Draft Value Chart, models and competitive advantage

In 1991 the Draft Value Chart gave the Dallas Cowboys a competitive advantage. Today every team has one.

Book Review: The Second Machine Age

My review of The Second Machine Age: Work, Progress, and Prosperity in a Time of Brilliant Technologies by Erik Brynjolfsson and Andrew McAfee.

By and About Leaders: 4/26/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Amy Pressman, Mark Bertolini, Matt Fielder, Bob Dudley, and Maher Arar.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 4/27/16

Pointers to posts by Cali Yost, Suzi McAlpine, Terry “Starbucker” St. Marie, Dorothy Dalton, and Julie Winkle Giulioni.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 4/29/16

Pointers to stories about Amazon Echo, MasterCraft, Digital Mums, Yogasmoga, and Shutts & Bowen.

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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