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

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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 three ways business executives can lead like a Marine, the auto industry, four ways to crush the challenges of data-driven manufacturing, how fashion designers are using business to support women’s issues, and great teams build great cultures.

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 Justin Constantine: 3 Ways Business Executives Can Lead Like a Marine

“America’s business leaders could learn a few things from the Marines. Marine leaders put the mission first, the welfare of their Marines second, and their own needs third. When meals are served, the lowest-ranking enlisted Marines eat first; the highest-ranking officers eat last. These leadership lessons apply equally from a four-person fire team all the way up to a combat-ready division comprised of 20,000 men and women. Most applicable are the following three core principles.”

From Jeffrey Pfeffer: Why Deception Is Probably the Single Most Important Leadership Skill

“The world is awash in claims of the benefits of truthfulness, candor, and transparency. A Google search using the phrase ‘benefits of candor’ returned 30,500 entries, with just six for the opposite phrase, ‘costs of candor.’ The kumbaya nature of leadership advice shows through. But before you run off and tell everyone precisely what you are thinking and feeling, here are a few pieces of evidence in favor of the opposite approach.”

From Sangeet Paul Choudary, Geoffrey Parker, and Marshall Van Alstyne: How to Build a Successful Platform Business

“Companies that successfully construct networked market places that attract participation and create value for participants, follow three core principles.”

Industries and Analysis

From Martin Reeves, Rachel Bergman, Antoine Gourévitch, and Miguel Ortiz: Forks in the Road: Navigating Industry Disruption

“2015 brought record sales and profitability to the global auto industry. But current success is no guarantee of future success: it’s clear to all that a new road lies ahead.”

From the Economist: Upward mobility

“In the scramble to reinvent themselves, conventional carmakers have turned their attention of late to ride-hailing apps. These services allow people to use smartphone apps to summon a car and driver to ferry them to their next destination. On May 24th both Toyota and Volkswagen announced tie-ups with taxi-hailing apps. The Japanese firm has made a small, undisclosed investment in Uber, the world’s biggest ride-hailing firm, with operations in over 70 countries. VW announced an investment of $300m in Gett, an Israeli firm that is popular in Europe. Matthias Müller, VW’s boss, has much bigger aspirations. He declared that the German carmaker aims to be a world-leading mobility provider by 2025.”

From Thomas Kautzsch: German Manufacturing Is Leading a Digital Industrial Revolution

“By digitizing the processes that govern how a new idea is brought to production (such as R&D, product launch, and testing), sales to delivery (pricing, demand forecasting, order fulfillment), and factory maintenance (including the inventorying of spare parts), German manufacturers in the auto industry and elsewhere are already beginning to significantly improve their margins. By 2030, we estimate there is the potential for manufacturers worldwide to realize an estimated $1.4 trillion upside by taking a page from leading German manufacturers’ playbooks.”

Innovation and Technology

From Vasant Dhar: How can we control intelligent systems no one fully understands?

“While both of the aforementioned incidents were relatively minor, they highlight a broader concern, namely, that it is very difficult to control adaptive learning machines in complex environments. The famous cybernetician Norbert Wiener warned us about this dilemma more than 50 years ago.”

From Jeffrey Phillips: Can You Teach People to Innovate?

“One of my recent pet peeves is the proliferation of education options for innovation. One of my alma maters offers a ‘certificate’ for innovation management. While I cannot comment on the course, it is taught by two professors with little private sector experience who haven’t created a product. One of them is a psychology major, which I guess makes sense because innovation is often the product of new or unusual insights or perspectives.”

From Craig Guillot: 4 Ways to Crush the Challenges of Data-Driven Manufacturing

“While the future of data-driven manufacturing offers many promises for enhanced manufacturing efficiency and production, it also will come with many challenges.”

Women and the Workplace

From Denise Restauri: How A Homeless Woman Released From Prison Became ‘My Greatest Mentor’

“Six years ago I gave Veronika Scott, a 20-year-old product design student at the College for Creative Studies in Detroit, the stage at the United Nations to share her class project design that would fill a need for Detroit’s homeless population: a self-heated, waterproof coat that transforms into a sleeping bag, and is an over the shoulder bag when not in use.”

From Rebecca Smith: ‘Like most mothers you just live with guilt the entire time’ ~ Joanna Jensen

“It’s a question working mothers hear frequently and one rarely asked of working fathers. ‘How do you balance work and family life?’ For Joanna Jensen, the CEO and founder of baby and toddler toiletries brand Childs Farm, the answer is simple.”

From Margaret Sutherlin: How Fashion Designers Are Using Business To Support Women’s Issues

“Notable female fashion entrepreneurs are prioritizing women’s causes not just as a side project but also as an integral part of their brand and business. And more often, they are championing other women with their business models.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Jon Katzenbach: Great Teams Build Great Cultures

“Many of us know the combination of despair, frustration, and amusement that people can feel as a result of being isolated from a culture, while at the same time being part of a great team. This bittersweet feeling is captured, for instance, in some classic modern novels.”

From Wharton: Effective Teams and Managers: What Google Has Learned

“As the director of People Analytics at Google for the last decade, Brian Welle’s world revolves around data. He has found that those hard, cold numbers can, when used properly, uncover the key attributes that make people better managers and team members. Once identified, the attributes can then be cultivated and instilled to boost performance. Welle spoke recently with Cade Massey, Wharton practice professor of operations, information and decisions and co-director of the Wharton People Analytics Initiative, about applying data analytics in the office.”

From Darleen DeRosa: HubSpot Leader Shares Virtual Team Building Tips

“Roughly one in four virtual teams fails to reach its full potential and achieve its goals, according to OnPoint Consulting’s Virtual Team Study of more than 400 virtual team members and leaders. It’s clear virtual teams face unique challenges, so it’s critical for virtual leaders to set expectations from the beginning. To find out what that looks like in the real world, we spoke with HubSpot’s Clodagh Higgins.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

4 vital truths of team culture

There’s lots of good advice on team culture. Here are four vital truths you can’t hear often enough.

By and About Leaders: 5/31/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Bela Bajaria, Chris Daniels, Sergio Bucher, James Bradburne, and Linda Kirby.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 6/1/16

Pointers to posts by Harold Jarche, Jesse Lyn Stoner, Art Petty, Suzi McAlpine, and Kate Nasser.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 6/3/16

Pointers to stories about Roku, Hershey Co., PPS Group, Gold’n Plump, and eSalon.

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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