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 learning from Google’s digital culture, why brick-and-mortar retail is alive and well, the 2015 Breakthrough Innovation Report, the business case for women in the C-Suite, and how gamification taps into what makes us 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
“What can traditional organizations learn from digital natives? In this interview, Google’s VP of US sales and operations explains how the company’s culture developed and continues to be nurtured.”
“In the famous words of Vince Lombardi: ‘Individual commitment to a group effort — that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work.’ This is true for all teams, of course, but if you’re leading a team of B players (people who are just average in terms of competence, talent, or potential), your leadership matters even more. In fact, if you are leading a team of B players, you have to be an A-class leader; otherwise, your team will have no chance.”
“In strategy, there is always demand for universal frameworks. Business leaders—whether they sell ice cream or microchips—are often tempted by blueprints promising growth in any circumstance. But while certain principles may apply no matter what the industry, the elegance of a single approach can sometimes be an empty promise.”
Industries and Analysis
“Contrary to popular belief, brick-and-mortar stores have not succumbed to the Internet, and they are far from dead. Over the last several years, leading retailers have been adapting their business models to keep pace with a changing landscape — rethinking their physical presence in new and creative ways, using big data to better understand their customers, and harnessing the power of brands in order to raise their profile.”
“By now, you’ve heard the news that Target is launching new smaller stores under the CityTargets name. Likewise, Walmart continues to introduce smaller-scale stores as it seeks to expand into urban locales. Big-box retailer Best Buy is focused on its ‘community-oriented retail’ concept with a smaller-is-better philosophy. But the downsizing efforts of these big boxes is not the big story that I am talking about. You can make a Target, Walmart or Best Buy store smaller in size, but you can’t make them smaller at heart.”
From Dominic Field, Paul Zwillenberg, Jacob Rosenzweig, Neal Zuckerman, and Melissa Ruseler: The Programmatic Path to Profit for Publishers
“More revenue now. Faster growth in the future. A stronger position in the marketplace. How can more digital publishers seize these opportunities?”
Innovations and Technology
“Recent research has shown how some websites can produce results that perpetuate bias.”
“At the heart of every great innovation is a great compromise: in order to start something new, we have to stop something old. Think of it as a deal you make with yourself–the things you’ll give up in order to make room for future growth. Our days are filled with countless small tasks–activities that prevent us from pursuing the bigger, more substantive creative projects on our larger horizon. There will never be enough time to write that novel you’ve been dreaming about or open that business you’ve had in mind for years. That’s why it’s up to you to free up your world and carve out the space for innovation.”
“Nielson released its 2015 BREAKTHROUGH INNOVATION REPORT tthat features best practices from winning brands – with seven specific case studies from Pepsico, Kraft, MillerCoors, Kellogg’s, Nestle Purina, Atkins and L’Oreal Paris. The report is based on a two year study examining over 3000 products launched in the US. It debunks conventional wisdom that new product success is random. Instead, it shows that success in new product innovation is repeatable and scalable when the science of innovation is applied.”
Women and the Workplace
“When former Google GOOGL +16.26% exec Sukhinder Singh Cassidy was trying to decide how best to advance women in Silicon Valley, she turned to a familiar topic: company boards. But unlike many boardroom diversity efforts, which focus on large companies, hers is aiming at a much earlier target: putting more women in independent board seats at young startups, as early as their first round of funding. Many startups don’t take advantage of the independent board seat, she said. More should be filling them — and filling them with women.”
“Deanna Fei is the mother of one of the ‘distressed babies’ outed by AOL CEO Tim Armstrong last year. She talks to Fortune about her a new book chronicling the ordeal and how pregnancy can become a source of shame.”
“There may be fewer women in the corner office, but a new survey reveals that they help boost the bottom line and inspire others.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“In their new book The Gamification Toolkit: Dynamics Mechanics, and Components for the Win, Wharton legal studies and business ethics professor Kevin Werbach and Dan Hunter, dean of Australia’s Swinburne Law School, offer new tools for taking gamification to the next level.”
“Tony Hsieh, C.E.O. of Zappos, is on an uphill mission to remake the company’s culture by banning the boss.”
“Employee engagement is a key performance metric for thousands of organisations. But could too high a focus on whether or not employees are happy mean that leaders are distracted from other growth drivers, asks Colin Price?”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
If you’re a working boss you should read Lead Inside the Box: How Smart Leaders Guide Their Teams to Exceptional Results.
Pointers to pieces by and about Jeff Weiner, younger CEOs, Stewart Butterfield, The Moderators, and Michael Amini.
Pointers to posts by Susan Mazza, Kate Nasser, Mary Jo Asmus, Chris Edmonds, and Jesse Lyn Stoner.
Pointers to stories about Gillette, ESPN, CVS, Arrow Electronics, and Welspun.
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.