Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 6/23/14

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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 smart people struggle with strategy, why U.S. firms are moving factories home, a defense of routine innovation, women as negotiators, and how unblinking eyes track employees.

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 Guoli Chen and  David H. Zhu: The Fallout of CEO Narcissism

“Self-assured, charismatic and brazen, highly narcissistic CEOs can undermine strategic decision-making.”

From DeAnne Aguirre and Micah Alpern: 10 Principles of Leading Change Management

“These time-honored tools and techniques can help companies transform quickly.”

From Roger Martin: Why Smart People Struggle with Strategy

“The problem with smart people is that they are used to seeking and finding the right answer; unfortunately, in strategy there is no single right answer to find. Strategy requires making choices about an uncertain future. It is not possible, no matter how much of the ocean you boil, to discover the one right answer. There isn’t one. In fact, even after the fact, there is no way to determine that one’s strategy choice was ‘right,’ because there is no way to judge the relative quality of any path against all the paths not actually chosen. There are no double-blind experiments in strategy.”

Industries and Analysis

From Tom Walsh: U.S. firms are moving factories home to be closer to customers

“Lately, though, we keep hearing stories of big U.S. companies bringing work back home from abroad: Apple making computers in Texas as well as China; Ford, General Motors and Chrysler shifting work and thousands of jobs from Mexico; Wal-Mart vowing to boost purchases of U.S.-made goods by $50 billion over 10 years. What are we to make of this spate of insourcing, re-shoring or whatever we’re supposed to call it?”

From Nick Madigan: Doctors’ dilemma: Physicians consider ways to thrive economically — and sometimes even to survive

“It’s getting harder to be a doctor. Gone are the days of Marcus Welby, when a doctor focused solely on treating the sick, assured that bountiful compensation would follow. Today, physicians are as much business people as healers, hamstrung by rising staffing and technology costs, increased paperwork demands by the government, stratospheric malpractice premiums and limited reimbursements from muscle-flexing insurance companies.”

From Sarah Nassauer: Selling Cereal for Dinner and Late Nights

“Breakfast Makers Need You to Feel Less Guilty; Cinnamon Toast Crunch With Videogames”

Innovations and Technology

From Jenna Wortham: Why That Phone Charger Took Two Years to Arrive

“What can go wrong in turning a bold idea into a business? A start-up company’s creative team counts the speed bumps.”

From Steve Johnson: Neurogaming: Interest growing in technology that picks players’ brains

“Unlike most video games, it doesn’t rely solely on a mouse or joystick. Instead, its players also don a headset that enables them to hurl trucks or other virtual objects simply by thinking. And that’s just for starters. Advocates of so-called neurogaming say the concept in a few years will incorporate a wide array of physiological factors, from a player’s heart rate and hand gestures to pupil dilation and emotions. Moreover, they envision many such games being developed to improve the health, brainpower and skills of those playing them”

From Gary P. Pisano: In Defense of Routine Innovation

“all the excitement about disruptive innovation has blinded us to one simple but irrefutable economic fact: The vast majority of profit from innovation does not come from the initial disruption; it comes from the stream of routine, or sustaining, innovations that accumulate for years (sometimes decades) afterward. An innovation strategy has to include both. Let’s examine a few examples.”

Women and the Workplace

From Hannah Riley Bowles: Why Women Don’t Negotiate Their Job Offers

“Research shows that women are more reticent than men to negotiate their salary offers. For instance, one study of graduating MBA students found that half of the men had negotiated their job offers as compared to only one eighth of the women. This general pattern has been replicated in survey studies of working adults and in laboratory experiments. It begs the question: Why? Is this a ‘confidence’ problem? Is negotiation a skill for which men are simply better socialized than women? Why leave money on the table?”

From Horacio Falcão: ‘Nice Girls Don’t Negotiate’ & Other Gender Myths

“Women aren’t worse negotiators than men. It’s just that their negotiation strengths and weaknesses are little understood.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Lauren Weber: U.S. Workers Can’t Get No (Job) Satisfaction

“Fewer than half of American workers were satisfied with their jobs in 2013, according to a new survey from the Conference Board.”

From Sylvia Ann Hewlett: Flextime Is Declining, But “Flex Around the Edges” Is Up

“Earlier this year, San Francisco and Vermont passed legislation that allows workers to ask for flexible work schedules without fear of reprisal. Are such ‘right to request’ laws indicators of a rise in flextime? Or do they reflect a fear that flextime programs are being eliminated?”

From Steve Lohr: Unblinking Eyes Track Employees

“Abundant data, smart software and cheap sensors are beginning to make it possible to measure and monitor employees as never before.”

More Curated Posts from Wally Bock

6/17/14: By and About Leaders

Pointers to posts by and about and about Justin Yifu Lin, Bernard Schwartz, and Anthony Wood.

6/18/14: From the Independent Business Blogs

Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Les Hayman, Lolly Daskal, Mary Jo Asmus, and Susan Mazza.

6/20/14: Stories and Strategies from Real Life

Pointers to stories about Hermes, Caroline Simas, Winter Park Cycles, Saturn, and The Hartford.

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