Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 6/8/15

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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 ten deadly business strategy myths, tracking and winning the retail revolution, the simple rules of disciplined innovation, successful female execs recount path to the top, and the fascinating ways our attitudes about work are changing.

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 Sikander Shaukat: Ten deadly business strategy myths

“There is a great deal of misinformation on what a business strategy is and what it can or should achieve for a business. Sikander Shaukat identifies ten myths which can have fatal commercial consequences.”

From Jacob Stoller: Lean Management Provides CEOs With the Tools to Build Great Companies

“As most CEOs will confirm, talented job candidates are demanding more, and it’s not just about money. The factors that attract the best people—a learning workplace with strong teamwork, a chance to make a significant contribution, a purpose-driven culture—are attributes of enduring institutions and great companies.”

From Ian Colotla, Perry Keenan, and Daniel Spindelndreier: Unlocking Lean in Decentralized Organizations

“Globalization is leading more companies to adopt decentralized organization models—and for good reason. Decentralization offers clear advantages, such as a higher degree of entrepreneurship, increased local adaptation of products, better market intelligence, and faster response times to changes in local demand. However, this model also imposes challenges on manufacturing organizations. In our work with decentralized companies, The Boston Consulting Group has found that many of them show highly variable performance across sites, and limited—or inconsistent—sharing of best practices. As a result, their aggregate performance is mediocre at best.”

Industries and Analysis

From Daisuke Wakabayashi: College Dropouts Thrive in Tech

“Quitting school to start a company used to be seen as risky; now an honor.”

From Clive Thompson: Can the Swiss Watchmaker Survive the Digital Age?

“Masters of one of the world’s most revered forms of analog craftsmanship take on the smartwatch.”

From Robin Lewis: Tracking and Winning the Revolution

“Here is where we really are: At the intersection of the art and science of retailing, converging on technological steroids, serving an omnipotent consumer who expects and demands the satisfaction of their dreams wherever they may be, whenever, how and how often — and instantaneously.”

Innovations and Technology

From Donald Sull: The simple rules of disciplined innovation

“Constraints aren’t the enemy of creativity—they make it more effective.”

From John Schmid: Rockwell brings factory-automation tools to phones, tablets

“The Texas facility that mass-produces State Fair corn dogs and Jimmy Dean Pancakes & Sausage on a Stick retooled itself recently as a hyper-automated smart factory. It installed 1,500 sensors to collect gigabytes of data on everything from raw meat inventories to wastewater and electrical usage. Then the Fort Worth factory took one extra step into the future of industrial technology: It added software that transmits all of that real-time data onto smartphones and tablets, making it possible for plant managers to monitor their production network from anywhere on the factory floor — and during coffee breaks or vacations, as well.”

From China Gorman: Required Reading for HR: Internet Trends 2015

“The report, prepared by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers’ Mary Meeker for this year’s Code Conference, presents the 2015 Internet Trends report, 20 years after the first The Internet Report was published in 1995.”

Women and the Workplace

From Carol Cain: Successful female execs recount path to the top

“It took six months to get them together, but it was worth the wait as the three CEOs shared insights into their careers and the changing role of women in business.”

From Natalia Karelaia: Resolving the Conflict Between “Woman” and “Leader”

“Women may face more barriers to leadership if there is a perceived conflict between their professional role and their gender. Organisations must detect any gender bias and promote a positive view of women leaders.”

From the Economist: Sex in the boardroom

“Claims that women manage differently from—or better than—men are questionable.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From H. James Wilson and Cyrille Bataller: How People Will Use AI to Do Their Jobs Better

“We all know that computers can sometimes automate work, taking jobs away from humans. But it can augment human workers as well, making them more effective. In our ongoing research, we’ve found that so far augmentation is far more common, even in the emerging area of ‘cognitive computing,’ in which machines can sense, comprehend, and even act on their own. In this sense, cognitive computing is more about ‘Person and Machine’ than ‘Person versus Machine.’ But our view grows out of our observations of organizational applications available today. What about in the future?”

From BDLive: Coming next: The on-demand sales force

“RIGHT now a college student in Sweden — let’s call him Sven — has a rather unusual summer job. He’s in sales, but he hasn’t met anyone from the company whose products he pushes. His boss is an app. It considers Sven’s strengths and weaknesses as a salesman, matches him with goods from any of a dozen brands, and plots a route through Stockholm optimised to include as many potential customers as possible in the time allotted to him. The app is like Uber, but for a sales force.”

From Lydia Dishman: The Fascinating Ways Our Attitudes About Work are Changing

“The world of work is rapidly changing, and, with it, employees’ attitudes about what’s acceptable on the job. Covering up that you were fired? Fine with many. Not having a professional social network profile? A total deal breaker for most.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

How to talk to team members about performance

Lots of bosses dread talking to team members about performance. Here’s how to make it easier and more effective.

By and About Leaders: 6/2/15

Pointers to pieces by and about John Malone, Jim Smith, Vinod Khosla, Thai Lee, and Maria Contreras-Sweet.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 6/3/15

Pointers to posts by Karin Hurt, Kate Nasser, Mary Jo Asmus, Art Petty, and Tanveer Naseer.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 6/5/15

Pointers to stories about Discovery, the Sky Factory, Eli Lilly, Amelie’s, and Tape App.

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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