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 tap the wisdom of the crowd, three Japanese business practices for an Age of Disruption, how analytics has changed in the last 10 years (and how it’s stayed the same), six things great innovators do differently, the three-step process that’s kept 3M innovative for decades, the double bind of female ambition, the world is about to undergo even faster change, and why you shouldn’t use technology as an excuse for bad management.
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
“Even firms that typically prefer to centralise decisions needn’t miss out on the benefits of opening up their strategy making.”
Book suggestion: The Wisdom of Crowds by James Surowiecki
“Japan-based companies are among the largest and most technologically sophisticated sources of foreign direct investment (FDI) in the United States. While automobile manufacturers are perhaps the most well-known among Japanese companies investing in the United States, other important industries include machinery, finance, metals, computers and electronics, plastics and rubber products and insurance industries.”
“The water was on fire. A Japanese ‘zero’ had just struck the ship, water was flowing over the railings, and above the roar of the explosion he could hear the screams of men in the water. He did not hesitate. Later he would recall figuring that the burning fuel was probably only on the surface of the water. So he dove into the flaming South Pacific. One-by-one he hauled the injured men back onto the boat. He would not remember how many he saved.”
Industries and Analysis
“There’s a good chance that locally brewed beer you’re drinking is actually a part of a giant multinational corporation. With Bud and Miller sales cooling, Big Beverage inked at least 15 deals to buy craft beer makers in recent years. Anheuser-Busch InBev has led the charge, scooping up 10 tiny brewers, including the most recent acquisition of North Carolina-based Wicked Weed in May.”
“A slowing beer market and the might of AB InBev has small brewers worried.”
“Mergers and acquisitions for fashion retailers are like a crop top t-shirt: a risk best braved by a select few and avoided after a certain age.”
Innovation and Technology
“Ten years ago, Jeanne Harris and I published the book Competing on Analytics, and we’ve just finished updating it for publication in September. One major reason for the update is that analytical technology has changed dramatically over the last decade; the sections we wrote on those topics have become woefully out of date. So revising our book offered us a chance to take stock of 10 years of change in analytics.”
“Take a look at any successful enterprise and you’ll find innovation at its core. That was just as true a hundred years ago when Henry Ford perfected the assembly line as it is today, when modern day giants like Elon Musk bring cutting edge technology to market. Innovation, as I’ve written before, is how people come up with novel solutions to important problems.”
“The hardest part of my job is trying to find a problem worth solving. And around a decade ago, we found a huge one: up to 160,000–300,000 patients were incurring surgical-site infections (SSIs) in the U.S. each year. But the way we eventually solved it actually wasn’t unusually difficult. I’m a corporate scientist at 3M, but I’m also frequently known around here as a ‘Scout,’ one of three designations—alongside ‘Entrepreneurs’ and ‘Implementers’—within an organizational structure that’s helped us go from problem to product for decades.”
Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story
Women and the Workplace
“Yes, it’s true that the Middle East has its fair share of challenges: According to the World Bank, 13 of the 15 countries with the lowest rate of female participation in the workforce are in the Arab world. However, what makes the UAE so unique to both the region and the world is women’s participation in tech leadership.”
“When she first started out as an engineer in Silicon Valley, Chou enjoyed her job, enjoyed building new systems and new companies. But the way she felt about work changed as time went on, until she found herself questioning her abilities and future.”
“We push women to be ambitious and aim for the top, but does being opening ambitious actually put women in a double bind? Let’s look at the studies that find how we actually look down on female ambition.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“As the future of the workplace draws near, so do the changes that come with it. Trends and accepted practices of the past will no longer apply, and human resources leadership must be prepared, lest they miss acquiring crucial talent.”
“We sometimes take for granted that which is right before our collective noses. Creative destruction caused by technology is so rampant that it is practically a cliche. It is easy to ignore not only the speed at which disruption caused by technology is affecting society, but the acceleration in the pace of change. This acceleration and its effect on markets, companies and labor is astonishing.”
“In a big international company I’ve been working with recently, I’ve come across some project team leaders who get exceptional results in a virtual environment and others who are really struggling to deliver. While they have different functions and personalities, they all have the same tools at their disposal. So that’s phones, email, access to webinar tools or maybe something like Slack or one of the many other collaboration platforms out there.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Projects are a way to make progress. Managing them is different. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
The astronauts got most of the public acclaim, but without three men in business suits, Apollo 11 might not have succeeded.
My review of The Outward Mindset by the Arbinger Institute. The book is emotionally flat and overcomplicated.
It’s hard to write a great book. If you write a crappy book you won’t put in nearly the time or effort. You might save some money, too.
Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Sears, Home Depot, Nordstrom, General Mills, and Delphi
Pointers to posts by Kate Nasser, Lolly Daskal, Karin Hurt, Ken Downer, and Mary Jo Asmus.
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.
The 347 tips in my ebook can help you Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.