Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 5/23/16

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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 why unicorns are staying private, three articles about industry 4.0, striving for innovation success in the 21st Century, how the experience of women in tech is different from other women, and four organizational mistakes that plague modern knowledge workers.

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 Begum Erdogan, Rishi Kant, Allen Miller, and Kara Sprague: Grow fast or die slow: Why unicorns are staying private

“Technology companies worth more than $1 billion—and many worth $10 billion—have fewer reasons to go public than they did in the past. Here’s what that means for them and their investors.”

From Roger Lehman and John Young: How Avoidance Destroys Strategic Initiatives

“Avoidance is an extremely common response to strategic initiatives that makes executives put off critical issues. To overcome it, look out for some crucial signs.”

From the Globe and Mail: The difference between strategy and leadership

“This Is Karl Moore of the Desautels Faculty of Management at McGill University with Talking Management for The Globe and Mail. Today I am in Vancouver with Mike Useem, a professor at the Wharton School. Mike, you have been looking at strategy and leadership. How do those two ideas come together in your mind these days?”

Industries and Analysis

From Jack Peat: Industry 4.0: how intelligent assets will be part of a circular economy

“The internet of things and intelligent assets will be key to achieving a truly circular economy and forward-thinking cities such as Barcelona and Amsterdam are ahead of the curve.”

From Markus Lorenz, Daniel Küpper, Michael Rüßmann, Ailke Heidemann, and Alexandra Bause: Time to Accelerate in the Race Toward Industry 4.0

“In this report, we present the survey’s key findings and share related insights from BCG’s analysis of the effects of Industry 4.0 on the manufacturing workforce. We also discuss how BCG supports companies’ efforts to implement Industry 4.0 through its Innovation Center for Operations (ICO), which includes model factories that allow companies’ executives and staff to experience and test new technologies.”

From Reinhard Geissbauer, Jesper Vedso, and Stefan Schrauf: A Strategist’s Guide to Industry 4.0

“Global businesses are about to integrate their operations into a seamless digital whole, and thereby change the world.”

Innovation and Technology

From Henry Chesbrough: Striving for Innovation Success in the 21st Century

“Open innovation assumes that companies can, and should, use external ideas as well as internal ideas, and pursue internal and external paths to market, as they look to advance their innovations. Open innovation processes combine internal and external ideas into platforms, architectures, and systems. Open innovation processes use business models to define the requirements for these architectures and systems. These business models access both external and internal ideas to create value while defining internal mechanisms to claim some portion of that value.”

From Antti Lyyra: The idea of robots as independent machines is science fiction

“Robots and intelligent systems have gained a significant amount of attention recently. Various authors and reports detail advances in robotics and artificial intelligence and speculate on the role of humans in the robotic future. In such commentaries, robots are often presented as independent and tireless machines that are rational and efficient; they are removed from their creators and contexts of use. Unfortunately, as appealing as this image might be, it resembles more of a science fiction hero than the contextual nitty-gritty that revolves around the development and deployment of robotic applications. To obtain a more holistic picture, let us have a look at some contextual factors that surround robotics innovation today.”

From Vasant Dhar: When to Trust Robots with Decisions, and When Not To

“Smarter and more adaptive machines are rapidly becoming as much a part of our lives as the internet, and more of our decisions are being handed over to intelligent algorithms that learn from ever-increasing volumes and varieties of data. As these ‘robots’ become a bigger part of our lives, we don’t have any framework for evaluating which decisions we should be comfortable delegating to algorithms and which ones humans should retain. That’s surprising, given the high stakes involved.”

Women and the Workplace

From Sally Helgesen: Say It Loud

“Could differences in how women and men articulate ambition early in their careers play a role in determining what opportunities come their way?”

From Jena McGregor: The median female CEO actually out-earned her male peer in 2015

“The gender pay gap is a persistent phenomenon, research shows, affecting women ranging from young female college graduates to mid-career mothers to even groups of top executives. But look at the pay packages for the small group of women who are CEOs of the largest public corporations, and you’ll find something a little different: Female CEOs appear to be keeping pace–if not out-earning–their peers.”

From Georgene Huang: Women in Tech: How Their Experiences Differ From Other Women in the Workforce

“But are the issues women in tech face really different (and worse) than the ones women face in across the larger workforce? Is the focus on women in technology just an extension of the way that the high-growth industry has captured the public imagination, or are there particularly negative experiences in the tech industry that truly set that industry apart?”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Maura Thomas: 4 Organizational Mistakes That Plague Modern Knowledge Workers

“In the new world of ‘work without walls,’ work happens in brains instead of factories, in open floor plans instead of private offices, and at soccer games, beaches, and coffee houses in addition to corporate headquarters. And yet in my work with clients, I often discover old ideas about time management that don’t take this new reality into account. Four mistakes in particular come up again and again.”

From Claire Zulkey: The Software That Airbnb And Kickstarter Have Used To Get Honest Employee Feedback

“‘Know Your Company’ helps CEOs find out the honest answers to questions that employees are otherwise too shy to answer.”

From Daniel Kraft: Reimagining the Workday

“We often talk about remote workers and home offices like they are the exception rather than the rule. While working from home is not for everyone, working from everywhere soon will be.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Commencement: 11 things I wish I’d learned sooner

They call the ceremony a “commencement” because it’s the beginning of something new.

Business Book Classics: The Effective Executive

Peter Drucker’s book, The Effective Executive is the first book in my business book classics series.

By and About Leaders: 5/17/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Scott Sheffield, Jimmy Dunne III, Walt Disney, Steve Jobs, Clarke Allen, and Jason Vaughn.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 5/18/16

Pointers to posts by Suzi McAlpine, Chris Edmonds, Lolly Daskal, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 5/20/16

Pointers to stories about Delta Air Lines, Apple, Lending Club, Slack, Spencer Ogden, Artfinder, and Howard Hunt.

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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