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 not to make the same mistakes as leaders at GM, VA or Xerox, how online brands are showing their stuff offline, team up to reap the rewards of innovation, the future of women and the workplace, and decluttering your company.
Be sure to look for dots that you can connect.
Note: Some links require you to register or are to publications that have some kind of paywall.
Thinking about Leadership and Strategy
“One of the most ubiquitous aphorisms in business is that the best leaders understand the need to ‘walk the talk’ — that is, their behavior and day-to-day actions have to match the aspirations they have for their colleagues and organization. But the more time I spend with game-changing innovators and high-performing companies, the more I appreciate the need for leaders to ‘talk the walk’ — that is, to be able to explain, in language that is unique to their field and compelling to their colleagues and customers, why what they do matters and how they expect to win”
“Talk to any CEO about what haunts them the most and disruptive innovation will be at the top of the list. It is a logical fear: A company whose existence depends on established technologies could face extinction or loss of market leadership if a revolutionary innovation comes along. Just ask smartphone maker BlackBerry after Apple launched the iPhone. But a study soon to be published in Management Science discovered that disruptive innovations need not lead to an incumbent’s fall, despite prevailing academic theory arguing otherwise.”
“Managing ‘to’ results instead of ‘by’ results can cause executives to chase the wrong goal, resulting in near obsession to hold managers accountable without paying any attention to the behaviors underneath the results.: How Not to Make the Same Mistakes as Leaders at GM, VA or Xerox.”
Industries and Analysis
“U.S. retailers are facing a steep and persistent drop in store traffic, which is weighing on sales and prompting chains to slow store openings as shoppers make more of their purchases online.”
“On Saturday, Normal will become the latest digital business to open a retail storefront in Manhattan, hoping a glossy shopping experience helps sell custom, 3D-printed ear buds purchased entirely via smartphone app.”
“These days, customers are used to the convenience of buying what they need online. Many traditional brick-and-mortar retailers have responded by expanding their online presence and even offering new services, like buy-online-pick-up-in-store, to keep pace with shopper preference. But some retailers are moving in the opposite direction: They begin online and expand into the offline world, interacting with customers through stores or showrooms. Antonio Moreno, an assistant professor of managerial economics and decision sciences at the Kellogg School of Management, was interested in these retailers’ crossed paths”
Innovations and Technology
“The processor, named TrueNorth, was developed by researchers at I.B.M. It may eventually excel at calculations that stump today’s supercomputers.”
“Entrepreneurs and innovators are often surprised to find that new technologies tend to spread slowly within industries. In some cases, the reasons for resistance seem clear: doctors in private practice or small-scale farmers might not have the resources to invest in a new technology that won’t pay off in the short term. But why don’t large corporations in competitive industries rush to adopt new technologies that would give them an edge?”
“The crowdfunding phenomenon has seen rapid growth over the last couple of years. Research firm Massolution estimates that crowdfunding platforms raised $2.7 billion. It is noteworthy that Crowdfunding is an umbrella term that maps onto several sub-categories. For example, Kickstarter is one of the most salient examples of a rewards-based platform, where ‘investors’ (also known as ‘backers’) pre-purchase a product or service. Kickstarter has facilitated over $1 billion of reward-based crowdfunding since its inception. Other popular categories include peer-to-peer lending or donation-based platforms, where ‘investors’ are motivated by the pursuit of financial returns or social cause, respectively.”
Women and the Workplace
“Gender equality in the workplace has been a topic that I have followed with great interest for some time. Looking around the world, we can now see many women who have smashed through the glass ceiling to be recognized as leaders on a world stage. Just think of Angela Merkel, the Chancellor of Germany, Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, and Janet Yellen, Governor of the Federal Reserve to name a few.”
“A new study suggests that men benefit from beginning a business negotiation with small talk, but women do not.”
“A recent study, to be presented at the Annual Meeting of the Academy of Management August 1-5, set out to uncover ‘the puzzle of why nearly all large U.S. organizations are controlled by white men.'”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Peter Drucker once observed that, ‘Much of what we call management consists of making it difficult for people to work.’ Nine years after the management guru’s death, his remark is truer than ever: employees often have to negotiate a mass of clutter—from bulging inboxes to endless meetings and long lists of objectives to box-tick—before they can focus on their real work. For the past 50 years manufacturers have battled successfully to streamline their factory floors and make them ‘lean’. Today, businesses of all types need to do the same in their offices.”
“Attention bosses: Set up a strong hierarchy and your workers will function better. That’s according to a study from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business, led by management professor Aaron Kay.”
“When a male CEO says he’s stepping down from his job to spend more time with his family, it’s often thought of as code for a tension-filled resignation that allows an executive to save face. But Max Schireson, CEO of MongoDB, a fast-growing database vendor, really means it.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
When people say that work is ‘fun’ they usually don’t mean it’s a party or a game. They’re talking about grown-up fun.
Pointers to pieces by and about Brad Maiorino, Anne-Marie Taylor, Sharon Sloane, Billy O’Grady, and Richard Doyle.
Pointers to posts by Beth Miller, Les Hayman, Mary Jo Asmus, Karin Hurt, and Lolly Daskal
Pointers to stories about Powr of You, Whole Foods, Black Sheep Skate Shop, Wal-Mart, and Sprint.
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