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 trouble with putting goals ahead of strategy, manufacturing’s next act, five keys to creating an innovation culture, Raji Kumar and the Dallas Medical Center turnaround, and Microsoft’s Envisioning Centre.
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
“Many business leaders subscribe to the classic definition of strategy as a set of actions designed to achieve an overall aim. In other words, they believe strategy starts with a goal. But for companies that have implemented winning strategies, that’s not how it typically happens.”
From Margaret Cording, Shawn Fedun, Dinesh Khanna, Nikolaus Lang, Anand Nanasimhan, Christoph Nettesheim, Raj Varadarajan, Dominique Turpin, and Bernd Waltermann: The Globalization Capability Gap: Execution, Not Strategy, Separates Leaders from Laggards
“Over the past few decades, the rise of emerging markets—initially as sources of cheap labor and then as rapidly growing consumer markets and centers of capital investment and innovation—has caused most companies of size and stature to enlarge their global ambitions. But despite this concerted push to globalize, few companies are ready to build and run truly global organizations and operations.”
“A global electronics manufacturer seemed to live in a perpetual state of reorganization. A new line of communication devices for the Asian market required reorienting its sales, marketing and support functions. Migration to cloud-based business applications called for changes to the IT organization. Altogether, it had reorganized six times in 10 years.”
Industries and Analysis
“Industry 4.0 is more than just a flashy catchphrase. A confluence of trends and technologies promises to reshape the way things are made.”
“Few businesses are being transformed as quickly and as massively as the drug-store industry. Much as today’s dominant pharmacy chains swept away the independent corner drug store a generation ago, trends based in healthcare, politics, technology and consumerism are rapidly reshaping its biggest surviving players, including Walgreens, Rite-Aid, CVS and the many other retailers, ranging from Walmart to Wegman’s, that also have pharmacy operations.”
“In 2010, the BBC and the British Museum collaborated in a project called A History of the World, based on one hundred objects from the collection of the British Museum, around which you can tell the history of humanity over the past two million years. The history was also presented in a series of fifteen minute podcast about each of the objects, written and narrated by British Museum Director Neil MacGregor and broadcast over the BBC.”
Innovations and Technology
“In the 1960s and ’70s, few workplaces could boast of such brilliant engineers as Xerox’s Palo Alto Research Company (PARC). Among their inventions were the first true personal computer and the world’s first laser printer. Yet few of their ideas ever earned much money for Xerox. The problem wasn’t a lack of creativity, says Jonathan Bendor, a professor of political economics and organizations at Stanford Graduate School of Business. Instead, what the Xerox PARC engineers really needed was something their managers should have dispensed more freely: constructive criticism.”
Wally’s Comment: The points in this article are valid, but I’m not sure that PARC is the best example. PARC’s ideas might have been more successful for Xerox if the company hadn’t tried to bolt them to a structure and culture based on selling copiers.
“I had the pleasure of interviewing Braden Kelley, co-founder of the Innovation Excellence community. Braden is also a speaker and executive trainer as well as an author with a growing list of change and innovation publications. His last book was Stoking Your Innovation Bonfire, and he is currently working on a new project, the Change Planning Toolkit™.I caught up with Braden to discuss how an organization can become more innovative. Below you will find the Five Keys to Creating an Innovation Culture that he shared with me.”
“I’ve been working with large companies and the U.S. government to help them innovate faster– not just kind of fast, but 10x the number of initiatives in 1/5 the time. A 50x speedup kind of fast. Here’s how.”
Women and the Workplace
“But the glowingly optimistic reports of the growing number of female-owned businesses tend to omit one crucial detail: the fact that the vast majority of those businesses starts small and stays small. Women-owned businesses now represent nearly half of all privately held companies in the U.S., but 75 percent of these businesses aren’t able to grow past $50,000 in annual gross revenue. A whopping 88 percent, meanwhile, don’t have employees. Is this simply evidence of women knowing that bigger isn’t necessarily better? Or do female entrepreneurs face the same challenges as those stuck under the corporate glass ceiling?”
“When it comes to women in leadership, there are many cases where women show unique and valuable leadership styles based in both their gender and cultural identities. Raji Kumar, CEO of Dallas Medical Center, is a great example of bringing a fresh style of leadership to her executive job and in so doing, turning a failing hospital into one of the area’s most disruptive, innovative and successful hospitals.”
From Caroline McMillan Portillo: Women Who Code CEO Alaina Percival is on a mission to keep women in tech
“A number of organizations are dedicated to getting women into tech. Women Who Code is dedicated to keeping them there.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“The technological advances of the digital age have allowed the global workforce to be better connected, more collaborative, and have greater personal impact than ever before. More information is immediately available, through more channels, than at any time in history. Clearly, workplaces are now optimized for high levels of workforce engagement. Or are they?”
“Growing number of employees are asking the boss for permission to combine work, vacation”
From Jack Torrance: Microsoft’s Envisioning Centre: What the future of work and play could look like
“Microsoft’s ‘home of the future’ isn’t a new concept – the tech giant’s been treating consumers to a glimpse of where it thinks our lives are headed since the early 90s. Its modern-day equivalent, the ‘Envisioning Center’ helps the company to show major commercial partners where it sees technology heading in the near future. It’s not open to the public, and most visitors have to sign a non-disclosure agreement, but MT got a rare glimpse into where the tech giant thinks the world is headed.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
If you want to be a great boss, there are lots of things to do, but if you’re looking for one thing to get started, read on.
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Pointers to stories about Under Amour, A. Duie Pyle, Jack Reiter, Ford, and Murray’s Cheese.
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