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 why you need to understand Noah effects and Joseph effects, the double-edged sword of being a lean start-up, the CEO’s guide to competing through HR, why an AI-driven world is still a long way off, why women aren’t C.E.O.s, according to women who almost were, and Together, technology and teachers can revamp schools.
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
“In 1958, a brilliant young mathematician named Benoit Mandelbrot went to work as a researcher for IBM. His first assignment seemed like a straightforward problem, but turned out to be devilishly complex. He was tasked with figuring out how noise in communication lines arises and identifying some way of minimizing it. His solution was simple but ingenious. He realized that there was not one type of effect at play but two. The first, which he called ‘Joseph effects,’ after the biblical story about seven good years and seven bad years, was continuous and predictable. The second, which he termed ‘Noah effects,’ was chaotic and unpredictable.”
“Entrepreneurs often experiment until they hit upon a product or service offering that works. After this, exploration generally ceases, because the more time spent experimenting, the longer it will take to get a product to market. Yet, while time spent exploring may hamper firms’ short-term performance, such experimentation can have longer-run benefits in the form of what we call adaptive capacity – the innate organisational capacity to adapt to technological change.”
“Technological tools provide a new opportunity for the function to reach its potential and drive real business value.”
Industries and Analysis
From Andreas Behrendt, Andràs Kadocsa, Richard Kelly, and Lisa Schirmers: How to achieve and sustain the impact of digital manufacturing at scale
“Although manufacturing leaders see the potential of digital, few have a clear strategy to capture its value. Three principles can help turn optimism into action.”
“The future of manufacturing has arrived—and what a future it is. The digitization of the end-to-end manufacturing process promises enhanced product quality, streamlined operations, increased productivity, lower costs, reduced waste and shorter time to market.”
From Brian Buntz: 7 Ways a Japanese Smart Factory in the South Represents the Future of Manufacturing
“While the output of the Japanese-owned facility is impressive, the plant just might serve as a microcosm for the future of manufacturing, thanks in part to a $1.2-million overhaul of its IT network. But the facility also highlights several trends relevant to IIoT adoption and the future of work.”
Innovation and Technology
“Setting aside social, political, and moral reasons for encouraging a more diverse workplace, there is arguably no better incentive for promoting diversity than the premise that diverse teams and organizations are more creative. But is there actually any evidence in support of this idea? And if there is, do the potential gains in creativity produced by diversity come at the expense of interpersonal harmony and team cohesion? Here are seven findings from science:”
“Robots that serve dinner, self-driving cars and drone-taxis could be fun and hugely profitable. But don’t hold your breath. They are likely much further off than the hype suggests.”
“Its deep pool of data may let it lead in artificial intelligence.”
Women and the Workplace
“A new report sheds light on why we don’t have more women in leadership in the workplace.”
“More women are entering male-dominated career fields, and vice versa, according to new research. That increased fluidity could be a promising step toward equal pay.”
“‘For years I thought it was a pipeline question,’ said Julie Daum, who has led efforts to recruit women for corporate boards at Spencer Stuart. ‘But it’s not — I’ve been watching the pipeline for 25 years. There is real bias, and without the ability to shine a light on it and really measure it, I don’t think anything’s going to change. Ultimately at the top of an organization there are fewer and fewer spots, and if you can eliminate an entire class of people, it makes it easier.’”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“The future of work holds myriad possibilities for change. In order to adapt, we need to zoom out and understand the interconnections among evolving technology, demographics, and power dynamics. Are you prepared?”
“Make School, a for-profit startup in this city’s South of Market district, is one of the most unusual schools in the country: It lets students enroll in classes for free if they agree to pay later after they land a job.”
“IN 1953 B.F. Skinner visited his daughter’s maths class. The Harvard psychologist found every pupil learning the same topic in the same way at the same speed. A few days later he built his first ‘teaching machine’, which let children tackle questions at their own pace. By the mid-1960s similar gizmos were being flogged by door-to-door salesmen. Within a few years, though, enthusiasm for them had fizzled out. Since then education technology (edtech) has repeated the cycle of hype and flop, even as computers have reshaped almost every other part of life. One reason is the conservatism of teachers and their unions. But another is that the brain-stretching potential of edtech has remained unproven.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Trying things a team member suggests can be a situation where everybody wins. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
Those TV cowboy heroes were great when I was five, but maybe it’s time for something else.
Art Petty reads the Preface and Introduction to get a sense of the author’s motivation.
Your family’s important memories are embedded in stories. Capture those stories while you can.
Pointers to articles about real leaders and real companies in real life.: New Belgium Brewing, Brian Rehg, Joshua Feast, Chip Bergh, and Mary Barra
Pointers to posts by Kate Nasser, Kevin Eikenberry, Art Petty, Ted Bauer, and Tanmay Vora.
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.