Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 7/18/16

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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 how to find and engage authentic informal leaders, the future of fintech, how Charles Koch challenges his innovators, women are upgrading the leadership rules, and three more articles on holocracy.

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 Dominic Houlder and Nandu Nandkishore: All Hail Medium-Term Planning

“The medium term — what is going to happen in six months, nine months, a year, 18 months— is not a unit of analysis commonly used in the world’s C-suites. The reasons for this are simply explained. Boardrooms have three neatly delineated time zones.”

From Greg Satell: Is Your Platform Burning?

“Unfortunately, a new technology came along—digital photography—that transformed Kodak’s model into a burning platform. Despite pioneering the technology, the company was unable to move to a more decentralized model, found itself marginalized and ultimately bankrupt. If you want to avoid the same fate, here are three things you’ll want to look out for.”

From Reid Carpenter: How to Find and Engage Authentic Informal Leaders

“As the acronym suggests, AILs are not people in your organization who have been endowed with formal authority by title or by memo. Rather, they possess and exhibit certain leadership strengths such as the ability to do something important well and showing others how to do it (exemplars), or they demonstrate the skill of connecting people across the organization (networkers). Some AILs influence behavior by being the first to understand the value of a new trend (early adopters) or by instinctively associating peers’ positive feelings with day-to-day activities (pride builders). These strengths — which my colleagues at the Katzenbach Center and I refer to as ‘spikes’ — can make AILs powerful allies in any transformation effort.”

Industries and Analysis

From Joe Fielding, James Hadley, Nicolás López and Gary Turne: Retail Banks: Manage for Glory or Cash?

“Retail banking has reached a critical juncture where banks should stop hedging their bets with respect to modernization strategies and start making fewer, better sequenced investments.”

From Oliver Dany, Ruchin Goyal, Jürgen Schwarz, Pieter van den Berg, Alessandro Scortecci, and Steffi to Baben: Fintechs May Be Corporate Banks’ Best “Frenemies”

“For all the angst over the disruptive impact of financial technology providers, the smart money in corporate banking sees fintechs as strategic allies, not enemies. Over the past decade, the fintech market has become a hotbed of customer-centric banking innovation. Sleek and efficient offerings such as payments, foreign exchange, advanced analytics, and supply chain finance are redefining service, creating lucrative niches, and extending corporate banking activities from the small-business segment to the mid-cap and beyond.”

From Chris Higson: Disruptive fintech: fear or future?

“Are we resigned to a future where disruption rather than stability is the new normality? We saw what Amazon did to record shops and booksellers. We are seeing Uber decimate the cab industry. This fate, presumably, awaits every industry and every occupation.”

Innovation and Technology

From Henning Meyer: Five filters moderate the technological revolution

“The technological revolution is one of today’s most hotly debated topics in politics, economics and business. It makes politicians wary about which preparatory policies to pursue, economists ponder vast productivity increases and the future of labor and business leaders think about how to make use of the new possibilities in their organisational environments. We are undoubtedly experiencing large-scale disruption in many areas that requires adjustments of strategies.”

From Daniel McCoy: How Charles Koch challenges his innovators

“Innovation is more than just a buzzword at Wichita-based Koch Industries Inc. As CEO Charles Koch explained Monday as a guest at the Fortune Brainstorm Tech 2016, innovation is part of the company’s DNA.”

From Michael Chui, James Manyika, and Mehdi Miremadi: Where machines could replace humans–and where they can’t (yet)

“The technical potential for automation differs dramatically across sectors and activities.”

Women and the Workplace

From Kate Bassett: Why anything is possible

“A belief that they can achieve whatever they set their minds to has helped propel this year’s 35 Women Under 35 to stratospheric career success.”

From Jennifer Love: Women Are Upgrading the Leadership Rules

“Today’s women are re-defining traditional leadership tactics to come less from facts and figures and more from a heart-centered approach. This is a new paradigm of feminine leadership—and it works.”

From the Holmes Report: Race, Gender, Orientation Are Still Obstacles To Corporate Leadership

“Barriers blocking equal access to leadership opportunities remain stubbornly in place when it comes to race, gender, disability and sexual orientation, according to the new 10-country Ketchum Leadership Communication Monitor.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Wharton: For Zappos’ Tony Hsieh, Holacracy is the Right Fit

“But one of the most unusual things about Hsieh is how he runs his business. Credited with taking the company from nearly nothing in 1999 to the multi-billion-dollar household name it is today, Hsieh has organized Zappos as a holacracy. A quick Google search will tell you holacracy involves removing power from management and spreading it across the firm; creating self-organizing teams, and the like. But how does this play out among real people, within the walls of one of the most successful internet companies in America?”

From Jennifer Rheingold: Medium gives up on holacracy

“Writes Andy Doyle, Medium’s Head of Operations, in a post on the site: ‘So we’re off Holacracy. Not because it didn’t work, or because it’s ‘wacky’ or ‘fringe.’ Hell, we’re a little wacky and fringe. And we’re OK with that. We are moving beyond it because because we as a company have changed and want to make fundamental changes to reflect this. … the system had begun to exert a small but persistent tax on our both effectiveness and our sense of connection to each other. For us, Holacracy was getting in the way of the work.'”

From Jurgen Appelo: Holacracy Is Fundamentally Broken

“Holacracy is a top-down, bureaucratic, big government framework. It is completely the opposite of what agile, scalable organizations need in the 21st century.”

Wally’s Comment: Holocracy is hot, at least as a topic for articles and posts. Just last week I pointed you to three other articles on holocracy.

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Englishmen can’t shoot straight: lessons in innovation

In 1800, expert opinion held that English soldiers could not learn to shoot accurately. A decade later, they were considered the best in the world.

Book Review: Made to Stick

Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die by Chip and Dan Heath is a must-buy-and-use if you want to write better.

By and About Leaders: 7/12/16

Pointers to pieces by and about Tomas Gorny, Denise Morrison, Danielle Moss Lee, Kevin Plank, and Jack Taylor.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 7/13/16

Pointers to posts by Karin Hurt, David Dye, Art Petty, Julie Winkle Giulioni, Kate Nasser, and Lolly Daskal

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 7/15/16

Pointers to stories about Domino’s, Summit Brewing, Target, boutique trucks, and Chipotle.

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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