Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 7/6/15

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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 why you should reward your best teams, not just star players, the Top 100 Retailers 2015, unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things, overcoming the confidence gap for women, and McJobs and UberJobs.

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 Eric J. McNulty: Better Lucky than Smart

“My father has long been fond of the old expression ‘Better lucky than smart.’ He spent years in the drilling and blasting business, an industry fraught with uncontrollable variables and unintended consequences despite rigorous calculations. More recently, I have come to see this adage as a simple tool for improving decision analysis and overcoming outcome bias — particularly among those not formally trained in decision science.”

From Michael Schrage: Reward Your Best Teams, Not Just Star Players

“I recently attended the awards banquet of a global firm that publicly declares its corporate commitment to teamwork. The CEO personally handed out plaque after plaque — and a few checks — to individuals who set sales records, received patents, and led successful change initiatives. But something was missing. The top executive gave no plaques or discernible praise for any of his company’s top teams or groups. None.”

From Reinhard Messenböck, Yves Morieux, Olaf Rehse, and Martin Twesten: Exercising for Excellence: Creating Value Through Smart and Simple Support Functions

“In today’s increasingly complex business environment, addressing the perennial challenge of controlling the costs of support functions has become more important than ever. Likewise, the consequences of failure have become more serious—even for top-performing companies that have been relatively unscathed in the past. To compete in this more complex environment, companies must globalize operations, respond to rapidly changing customer requirements and regulatory demands, and pursue and defend against digital disruptions. These imperatives have made maintaining cost-competitive support functions even more crucial for long-term success and profitability. Indeed, high-performing support functions can mean the difference between winning and losing in extremely competitive markets and industries.”

Industries and Analysis

From Mike Tierney: Nature Helps Squeeze Out a Little More Mileage

“Old Car City in Georgia has turned junk cars into rusty works of art, becoming a mecca for photographers. Other salvage companies have adapted to the computer age.”

From John Boitnott: Ten CEOs who are disrupting finance with technology

“Financial technology, or FinTech, is a rapidly expanding market segment filled with companies that are irrevocably changing the way consumers, businesses and financial organizations interact with each other worldwide.”

From the National Retail Federation: Top 100 Retailers 2015

“It’s no longer bricks-and-mortar versus e-commerce — omnichannel is the path to success.”

Innovations and Technology

From James Manyika, Michael Chui, Peter Bisson, Jonathan Woetzel, Richard Dobbs, Jacques Bughin, and Dan Aharon: Unlocking the potential of the Internet of Things

“The Internet of Things—sensors and actuators connected by networks to computing systems—has received enormous attention over the past five years. A new McKinsey Global Institute report, The Internet of Things: Mapping the value beyond the hype, attempts to determine exactly how IoT technology can create real economic value. Our central finding is that the hype may actually understate the full potential—but that capturing it will require an understanding of where real value can be created and a successful effort to address a set of systems issues, including interoperability.”

Wally’s Comment: Click through to the article to find links to the full report and an executive summary.

From Benjamin Kessler: Design, Business & Brand: How Creativity Becomes Innovation

“What once were considered innovative capabilities are becoming core business skills.”

From SMU Perspectives: Big data: Big value and big concerns

“According to IBM, humankind generate 2.5 quintillion bytes of data – that is 2.5 million trillion – daily. Data that is relevant for immediate action, such as real-time adjustment of traffic light timing or bus scheduling, is processed to produce the necessary results before it does go stale. Data that is not needed immediately is stored, and given the falling cost of storage, it is often stored for eternity.”

Women and the Workplace

From Carrie Hall: Women In Leadership: The Family Business Advantage

“For instance, while the companies in our survey averaged 1.14 women family members in leadership (i.e., C-level positions/officers of the company, including vice presidents), they also averaged 3.5 women in the C-suite who were not family members.”

From Tony Schwartz: Overcoming the Confidence Gap for Women

“In my short time with Ms. Doughtie, I found her to be warm, open, gracious and introspective – in short, qualities more traditionally associated with women. I felt relaxed, comfortable and unhurried talking with her, in part because she seemed more focused on having a conversation than on announcing or positioning herself. By making this observation, I’m reinforcing a stereotype about women — and by implication a parallel stereotype about men, and especially male leaders, as dominant, aggressive and certain. So be it. For all the exceptions, these stereotypes feel true more often than they do not.”

From Nina Simosko: Leveraging Female Talent to Drive Innovation

“The second annual research study by Mercer on gender diversity in the workplace suggests that eliminating the gap between male and female employment rates could boost countries’ GDP by up to 34%. How do we get there? We need to leverage the talent of women to drive innovation in our businesses – and this goes beyond lip service. It needs to become a strategic imperative.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Mehdi Miremadi, Subu Narayanan, Richard Sellschop, and Jonathan Tilley: The Age of Smart, Safe, Cheap Robots Is Already Here

“Robots have been doing tough jobs for over half a century, mostly in the automotive sector, but they’ve probably had a bigger impact in Hollywood movies than on factory floors. That’s about to change. Today’s robots can see better, think faster, adapt to changing situations, and work with a gentler touch. Some of them are no longer bolted to the factory floor, and they’re moving beyond automotive manufacturing. They’re also getting cheaper.”

From the Economist: McJobs and UberJobs

“Lawsuits about what it means to be an employee could shape the future of big industries.”

From Rachel Savage: Sleeping at work during the middle of the day could help you be more productive

“A new study extols the virtue of midday power naps for perking up the tetchy worker.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

I’m no expert, but …

I’m no expert, but I think I’ve learned a thing or two in my life and career.

By and About Leaders: 6/30/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Alan Stanford, Jim Dolce, Jon Kaplan, Elizabeth Holmes, and Stephen Fay.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 7/1/15

Pointers to posts by Kate Nasser, Chris Edmonds, Art Petty, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Tanveer Naseer.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 7/3/15

Pointers to stories about Interactive Intelligence, T-Mobile, real-time glucose monitoring, White Lotus, and Jelly Belly.

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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