Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 6/13/16

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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 leaders who inspire, the future of agriculture, the innovative mindset, four ways for women to get ahead in the business world, and Why middle managers matter.

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 Mark Horwitch and Meredith Whipple: Leaders who inspire

“Imagine that you have two promising candidates for promotion to vice president of product engineering. Both are bright and hardworking, with an impressive track record of results. They both get things done on time and on budget. But you notice a difference: Candidate A’s team members report they are satisfied with their jobs. Their scores on employee surveys are only slightly above average. A typical comment: ‘He technically gets the job done, but I don’t know if he really cares about me.’ Candidate B’s team members, by contrast, are overwhelming in their enthusiasm for their jobs and their boss. ‘She is a true leader in every sense of the word,’ says one. ‘Her impact on me personally has been tremendous.’”

From Chris Outram: Four Signs That Your Industry is Ripe for Digital Disruption

“If there are ways for your firm to improve the customer experience with digitisation or use technology to reduce costs, you should move quickly or risk being disrupted by an outsider.”

From Theodore Kinni: The Secrets to Corporate Longevity

“Companies need ambidextrous leaders who can simultaneously exploit and explore their markets.”

Industries and Analysis

From Steve Sonka: Big data can foster the next wave of agricultural innovation

“But key impediments arise from the distinctive nature of agriculture, writes Steve Sonka”

From the Economist: The future of agriculture

“If agriculture is to continue to feed the world, it needs to become more like manufacturing, says Geoffrey Carr. Fortunately, that is already beginning to happen.”

From Ian Wright: Agriculture Drones Are Exploding!

“Picture an idyllic walk through the countryside in 2022.By then, the buzzing of bees could be drowned out by the buzzing of agriculture drones, according to a new market research report.”

Innovation and Technology

From Gary Klein: The Innovative Mindset

“Over the course of my career as a cognitive psychologist, I have always been interested in examining the ‘light bulb’ moment, or the moment an insight occurs. In my book, Seeing What Others Don’t: The Remarkable Ways We Gain Insights, I analyzed 120 incidents in which insights occurred in an attempt to learn more about how insights arise, and to develop new strategies for people and organizations to boost their insights. Recently I formulated a strategy to help people gain more insights. But before I explain how that works, let’s see how insights arise.”

From John Sweeney: 15 tactics for boosting innovation

“Work cultures often call for and reward execution for the majority of the day, leaving little or no time for practicing innovation. But while practicing innovative thinking and behaviors may sound like a weighty task, it’s actually a simple exercise, and by doing it over and over again it becomes a habit to think more creatively from new perspectives.”

From Wayne Turmel: Intuitive technology? Don’t make me laugh!

“I have been assessing, buying and learning software most of my adult life. Whether it’s big, enterprise-wide stuff or the latest version of Windows Whatever, most of us have had to learn, use, unlearn and relearn ways to get the machines we rely on, help us get our work done. That’s okay, but there’s one part of the process that drives me crazy.”

Women and the Workplace

From Brittany Stalsburg: 4 Ways For Women to Get Ahead in The Business World

“The advice I give in this article is not meant to replace or ignore the large scale institutional and cultural changes that need to be made for more women to advance in the business world. As I have written elsewhere, policy changes that would ensure equal pay for women, provide paid family leave, and allow parents to work and take of their children at the same time are all essential to women’s advancement in the workforce. Culturally, we need to eradicate the unfair standards and expectations we hold women to but not men. But those of us already in the workforce need practical strategies to navigate business environments that are often unfavorable to women and hold them back from moving to the top.”

From Wendy Murphy: How Women (and Men) Can Find Role Models When None Are Obvious

“A new report by the Rockefeller Foundation illustrates some of the challenges for women in leadership, including a lack of mentors and role models. In fact, 65% of Americans say it’s important for women starting their careers to have women in leadership as role models. With only 20 women Fortune 500 CEOs, we have a glaring numbers problem.”

From Sheilah Crowley: Women Ask: ‘What’s Possible For Me?

“My life is similar to many other women today: I am a breadwinner, wife, mother, and friend. But one day, while being pulled by these competing priorities, I was forced to face a sobering health crisis. Ironically, it led me on the path to fulfilling my dreams.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Jena McGregor: This big change was supposed to make performance reviews better. Could it be making them worse?

“But as the uprising gains steam, a big question remains: How good are the systems replacing them? As companies revamp reviews, what’s working and what’s not? New survey data shared with The Washington Post by the advisory firm CEB reveals that one of the big changes employees have cheered may not remain so popular over time. It finds that companies that eliminate ratings altogether — replacing the ‘grades’ workers get, whether in the form of a numerical scale or descriptive terms like ‘excellent’ or ‘meets expectations’ — could be in for some complaints.”

From Octavius Black: Why middle managers matter

“In 25 years of advising CEOs, when I’ve asked what’s best about their company, I’ve been told many things. Indeed sometimes it’s hard to shut them up. But not one has ever said that the great thing about their company is ‘the quality of our managers’.”

From Google: Need inspiration? Watch the re:Work 2016 event videos

“Check out what some of the leading academics, business leaders, and pioneers are saying about the future of work, people analytics, and how we can all make work better. In April 2016 the re:Work team gathered leaders from across industries and across the globe to talk about the future of work. Below are videos from their talks, which can also be found on our re:Work YouTube channel.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

The secret of great achievement

Great performers aren’t “naturals” except in the most basic sense. All the great ones work hard. That’s how they get great.

Book Review: The Happiness Advantage

My review of The Happiness Advantage: The Seven Principles of Positive Psychology That Fuel Success and Performance at Work by Shawn Achor.

By and About Leaders: 6/7/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Eva Ho, Meg Whitman, Ilene Gordon, Indra Nooyi, and Drew Houston.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 6/8/17

This week, I’m pointing you to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Suzi McAlpine, Art Petty, Chris Edmonds, and Scott Eblin.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 6/10/16

Pointers to stories about GoPro, Babiators, Two Maids & a Mop, General Electric, and Vernors.

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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