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 how to gauge a C.E.O.’s value, two articles on the future of construction, how to foster curiosity and creativity in the workplace, why women lack confidence and why they don’t need it, and the ROI of working human.
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
“Through a much-appreciated referral from a good friend, I was invited to teach a course on decision-making at Bhutan’s Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies (RIGSS). The course is part of a programme for Bhutan’s senior government officials to help them develop their leadership and governance skills. The two-day session on making better decisions looks at various aspects of choice, including behavioural biases, the decision process, and concepts of choice architecture. The course was greatly aided by a poorly designed door that was a perfect illustration of choice architecture and its ability to influence people’s decisions.”
“Everybody knows that chief executives receive bounteous pay as a matter of course. In 2015, for example, the median pay for a top corporate executive at 200 large American companies was $19.3 million. Less discernible, though, is who actually earned their pay the most by increasing the value of the companies they run by a commensurate amount. Such performers are not to be confused with executives who work to propel their company’s stock price. This pursuit can have fleeting benefits and disastrous consequences, as Valeant International, the beleaguered drug company, has shown.”
“The increasing importance of big data and analytics is disrupting the traditional C-level roles within organisations.”
Thanks to Stephanie Neal for pointing me to the above post.
Industries and Analysis
From Philipp Gerbert, Santiago Castagnino, Christoph Rothballer, and Andreas Renz: Shaping the Future of Construction
“The engineering and construction (E&C) industry has been a relatively conservative one, slow to adopt innovative materials, technologies, and processes—so much so that labor productivity in the US has actually fallen during the last 40 years. Such torpor is worrying, given the central role that buildings and infrastructure assets play in daily life and the impact that the industry has on other industries, the environment, and the economy as a whole. Currently, the industry is the largest global consumer of raw materials, and about 30% of greenhouse gas emissions are attributable to buildings. And E&C accounts for 6% of global GDP. Given the industry’s size and weight, even a small improvement in performance would generate huge benefits worldwide.”
From Rajat Agarwal, Shankar Chandrasekaran, and Mukund Sridhar: Imagining construction’s digital future
“The construction industry is ripe for disruption. Large projects across asset classes typically take 20 percent longer to finish than scheduled and are up to 80 percent over budget (Exhibit 1). Construction productivity has actually declined in some markets since the 1990s (Exhibit 2); financial returns for contractors are often relatively low—and volatile.”
“The marketplace of food tech has exploded as more and more Americans reject a dinner table filled with artificial flavoring, gluten, growth hormones and high-fructose corn syrup. ‘The trends are toward sustainable, humane and local in a very strong way,’ said Jim Salma, who founded the Good Food Business Accelerator in Chicago.”
Innovation and Technology
“THE fanfare has gone on for years. Analysts have repeatedly predicted that the ‘internet of things’, which adds sensors and internet capability to everyday physical objects, could transform the lives of individuals as dramatically as the spread of the mobile internet. Providers have focused on the home, touting products such as coffee pots that turn on when the alarm clock rings, lighting and blinds that adjust to the time of day, and fridges that send an alert when the milk runs out. But so far consumers have been largely resistant to making their homes ‘smart’.”
“Apple fuses technology with design. IBM invests in research that is often a decade ahead of its time. Facebook ‘moves fast and maintains a stable infrastructure’ (but apparently doesn’t break things anymore). Each of these companies, in its own way, is a superior innovator. But what makes Google (now officially known as Alphabet) different is that it doesn’t rely on any one innovation strategy, but deploys a number of them to create an intricate — but powerful — innovation ecosystem that seems to roll out innovations by the dozens.”
“A Harris Poll survey reveals leaders often are ineffective at fostering creativity. Here’s how to create a workplace climate that encourages curiosity and rewards creativity.”
Women and the Workplace
“The Leadership Insiders network is an online community where the most thoughtful and influential people in business contribute answers to timely questions about careers and leadership. Today’s answer to the question: What’s the best way to network? is written by Rachel Weiss, VP of digital innovation and entrepreneurship at L’Oréal USA.”
“What if you had the opportunity to ask today’s most successful leaders to identify the single most important lesson they’ve learned on a given topic? And what if those same leaders were willing to drill down on their personal experiences and share key insights in an honest and relevant way? My guess is that it would be a game-changer for many of us.”
“Men in general may be more confident than women, but that can lead to a lack of awareness of how competent they actually are.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“The graduating high school students had gathered at a Charlotte steel fabrication company this week for an important rite of passage: orientation for their new jobs. Some had previous work experience, but for others it was their first real job. SteelFab, located near Charlotte Douglas International Airport, was inducting its new employees on Thursday as part of a partnership with Harding University High School that helps local students find manufacturing jobs. The company has positions for welders, painters, machine operators, fitters and forklift drivers, among others.”
“The Mall of America is a world-famous symbol of American abundance, with four-plus miles of stores, rides and spectacles. But it’s having trouble finding people to work in today’s tight labor market, leading its management to go to extraordinary lengths to hire and keep workers. The latest step: bringing in a nonprofit agency to assist workers struggling at the margins, including those who are homeless or nearly so. ‘There are folks who have some challenges getting work and maintaining work,’ said Sue Amundson, the mall’s human resources director. ‘How can we as an organization really support them?’”
“If you’ve been following Data Point Tuesday for a while, you know I’m a big fan of the SHRM Foundation’s EPGs. They are researched, written, and reviewed by leading academics in the Human Resources field, and are underwritten by some of the most innovative suppliers in the HR arena. This EPG, sponsored by Globoforce, brings a great deal of data and analysis into one easily read report. In other words, it’s chock full of validated research and data on a topic that is becoming top of mind for CEOs, boards, and all C-Suite members: the connection between employee well-being and business success.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Amazing performance in times of crisis is the result of preparation. Are you ready?
My review of David and Goliath: Underdogs, Misfits, and the Art of Battling Giants by Malcolm Gladwell
Pointers to pieces by and about Linda Hudson, Jane Elfers, John Chambers, Tim Sloan, and Elisabetta Osta.
Pointers to posts by Tanmay Vora, Suzi McAlpine, Kevin Eikenberry, Chris Edmonds, and Mary Jo Asmus.
Pointers to stories about Sussex IM, Graco, Hormel, Sears, and Netflix.
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.