Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 5/26/15

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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 new CEO’s guide to transformation, what Pirch, Lululemon, Cabela’s, Burberry, and Apple have in common, why you shouldn’t send technology to solve a human problem, locating the glass ceiling, and making sense of Zappos’ war on managers.

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 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 Hans-Paul Bürkner, Lars Fæste, and Jim Hemerling: The New CEO’s Guide to Transformation

“Leadership transitions increasingly happen when companies are at an inflection point, and as a result, new CEOs frequently face immediate pressure to make changes. The challenges are significant. Companies are being buffeted by rapidly evolving technology and digitization, increasing globalization, blurred industry boundaries, and regulatory shifts, among other factors. As the traditional sources of competitive advantage disappear, top-performing companies are increasing their lead on poor and average performers”

From Ken Favaro: Vertical Integration 2.0: An Old Strategy Makes a Comeback

“‘Owning the value chain’ was a favorite strategy in the early part of last century. Companies sought advantage by moving ‘upstream’ to control the means of production that supplied their main business or ‘downstream’ to ensure their path to market. For example, 100 years ago Ford owned rubber plantations, coal and iron ore mines, and even railways.”

Industries and Analysis

From John Ewoldt: Dropping of cable, satellite accelerates as business of TV adapts

“Americans dropped cable and satellite TV subscriptions at the fastest rate ever during the first three months of the year, new data showed last week, as viewing habits get shaken up in a manner last seen during the emergence of cable four decades ago. Consumers are increasingly turning to video streaming services delivered via the Internet and grabbing some channels with antennas just as they did before cable. As a result, they’re taking greater control over when they watch something and paying less for it.”

From Robin Lewis: Pirch, Lululemon, Cabela’s, Burberry, Apple: What Do They Have in Common?

“These brands are not retailers. They are neurologically addictive experiences, co-created by the brand and their dopamine-addicted consumers.”

From Christopher Mims: How Aging Millennials Will Affect Technology Consumption

“As the biggest generation in America begins to hit life milestones, it’s not all good news for tech industry.”

Innovations and Technology

From Matt Palmquist: The Double-Edged Sword of Success

“If firms become mired in the successful practices that got them to where they are, they may stop looking for new ways to exploit resources and opportunities.”

From Fred Reichheld: Don’t Send Technology to Solve a Human Problem

“The 1970s also gave rise to one of the most annoying inventions of all time — interactive voice response menus. You know the ones — those robotic voice recordings you get when you try to call your bank or your power supplier with a billing question or a service issue. These systems are seemingly everywhere now.”

From Jean-Baptiste Coumau, Victor Fabius, and Thomas Meyer: Incumbents as attackers: Brand-driven innovation

“At a time of stagnating markets, technological disruption, and rapid changes in consumer behavior, where can big brands find growth? One popular path is through brand extension: stretching a brand into an adjacent market where its value proposition is still relevant to consumers. Classic cases include Colgate’s sideways move from toothpaste to toothbrushes, Nivea’s from body care to hair care, and Gillette’s from razor blades to shaving foam.”

Women and the Workplace

From Stuart Crainer: Locating the glass ceiling

“Isabel Fernandez-Mateo’s research looks at why there are so few women at the top. Early findings showed a surprising lack of discrimination when it came to search firms hiring C-suite level women – which suggests the glass ceiling starts a lot earlier in the chain. Here, she tells Stuart Crainer why top-down action is not necessarily the way to improve gender inequality.”

From Ruth Simon: Women Started Smaller Percentage of U.S. Businesses in 2014

“The share of new businesses started by women fell last year to its second lowest level in nearly two decades, a sign that the entrepreneurial gender gap widened last year.”

From Benedict Carey: While at War, Female Soldiers Fight to Belong

“Even as women distinguish themselves as enlisted soldiers, many struggle with depression and a sense of alienation in an intensely male military world.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Gianpiero Petriglieri: Making Sense of Zappos’ War on Managers

“Those who aspire to lead are rarely content with their organization’s financial success. Sooner or later, they want to shape its culture. Making the numbers, they realize, keeps a leader employed. But it is only half of his or her performance.”

From Fatima Hussein: Using education to boost skills, keep workers

“Increasingly, the Society for Human Resource Management, employers are offering college degrees and/or training programs to workers like Seymore. The goal? Addressing issues in the workplace today, including high employee turnover and an ever-growing skills gap between applicants and employers’ needs.”

From Queenie Wong: Facebook’s green roof mirrors company’s workplace culture

“A 9-acre green roof sits atop the tech firm’s new Frank Gehry-designed building across from its main headquarters, filled with a plethora of native trees and flowers, lawn furniture, white boards, viewing decks and a half-mile walking trail overlooking the city’s marshlands. It’s more like a park than the top of an office and big enough to accommodate a large number of the 2,800 employees who are expected to eventually fill up the newly opened building, even on a warm summer’s day.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

3 things to give your brain on a 3 day weekend

Three day weekends give you the opportunity to give your brain a rest and a treat. It will serve you better if you do.

By and About Leaders: 5/19/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Mitch Krebs, Lori Dickerson Fouché, Frances Hesselbein, Katy Lynch, and Natalia Maria Ruderman.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 5/20/15

Pointers to posts by Chris Edmonds, Mary Jo Asmus, Lolly Daskal, and Tanveer Naseer.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 5/22/15

Pointers to stories about McDonald’s, Kijiji, Amazon, Walmart, Alibaba, Ascena Retail Group, and Zappos

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