Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 8/14/17

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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 the virtues of unintelligent organization design, The continuous improvement leader: engaging people for a digital age, how IoT is transforming unexpected industries, why the next big technology could be nanomaterials, and apprenticeships.

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 Julien Clément and Phanish Puranam: The Virtues of Unintelligent Organisation Design

“Any structure at all is better than none, as long as it leaves some room to explore.”

From Bill Barnett: Why Did We Come to Work?

“Do you work for a big company? If so, try this: The next time you attend a meeting, ask yourself whether you can tell what business you are in by the content of the meeting. Is there any connection between what is being talked about in the meeting and the actual customers of the business? If not – and often there is no connection – look around the table. Does anyone in the room, you included, know a customer? If not, do you at least know someone who knows a customer? It may come as a shock, but most people in big companies do not interact with customers. After all, as a company grows, the number of relationships inside the company increases much faster than the number of customer-contact positions. This mathematical fact is akin to the ‘square-cube’ law first observed by Galileo (albeit not talking about companies). And this fact leads to a problem: Most of us do not know why we go to work.”

From Zachary Surak: The continuous improvement leader: Engaging people for a digital age

“Lean management creates enormous value, but improvement that’s truly continuous is often elusive. Innovation in fields such as digital and IT make it more urgent, achievable, and human.”

Industries and Analysis

From Robert Wall: New Jets Threaten Airbus and Boeing Duopoly

“Boeing Co. and Airbus SE suddenly have competition. For nearly two decades, the two have had the global market for big commercial jetliners largely to themselves. That is all changing, with three new competitors—from China, Russia and Canada—rolling out their own entries into the so-called single-aisle market.”

From Matt Leone: What it costs to run an independent video game store

“It’s an old story at this point — internet sales and large corporations have made it harder for small stores to compete, and the game industry adds its own challenges. In 2017, even mainstream retail chain GameStop has been struggling to keep up as more and more players buy games online.”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story

From Robert Bodor: On-Demand Manufacturing Reduces Risk, Strengthens Supply Chain

“The product development cycle, with all its complexities, provides ample opportunity for risk reduction and cost savings. New technology-enabled manufacturing processes, often referred to as digital manufacturing, not only are producing prototype parts faster, but also are producing quick-turn, low-volume production parts.”

Innovation and Technology

From Greg Satell: How IoT is Transforming Unexpected Industries

“But in the late 1990’s computers became truly transformative. Combined with the Internet and email, they became conduits to a continuous flow of information that could be processed, analyzed and turned into action. As digital connectivity begins to transform physical machines, it’s likely that we’re now in the early days of a similar productivity boom.”

From Jeffrey Phillips: Innovation requires learning, relearning and unlearning

“There’s probably few activities that corporate folks enjoy less than corporate training. For most it’s guaranteed to be a slog, or a review of policies and procedures rarely used and important only to a specific team or set of circumstances. While people are attending the ‘mandatory’ training to learn material of vague importance to their day to day jobs, their inboxes are filling up, cat videos are going unwatched. Most people assume they have enough knowledge to do the jobs they have, and they are often comfortable simply winging the rest.”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story

From Jeffrey Rothfeder: The Next Big Technology Could Be Nanomaterials

“Discoveries surrounding a new class of impossibly small and improbably powerful compounds could reshape the materials industry — and the world around us.”

Women and the Workplace

From Gizmodo: Here’s The Full 10-Page Anti-Diversity Screed Circulating Internally at Google [Updated]

“A software engineer’s 10-page screed against Google’s diversity initiatives is going viral inside the company, being shared on an internal meme network and Google+. The document’s existence was first reported by Motherboard, and Gizmodo has obtained it in full. In the memo, which is the personal opinion of a male Google employee and is titled ‘Google’s Ideological Echo Chamber,’ the author argues that women are underrepresented in tech not because they face bias and discrimination in the workplace, but because of inherent psychological differences between men and women.”

From Yonatan Zunger: So, about this Googler’s manifesto

“So it seems that someone has seen fit to publish an internal manifesto about gender and our ‘ideological echo chamber.’ I think it’s important that we make a couple of points clear. (1) Despite speaking very authoritatively, the author does not appear to understand gender. (2) Perhaps more interestingly, the author does not appear to understand engineering. (3) And most seriously, the author does not appear to understand the consequences of what he wrote, either for others or himself.”

From the New York Times: Answering Your Questions About the Controversial Google Memo

“In a Facebook Live conversation, two technology reporters discussed and responded to questions about a Google engineer’s anti-diversity memo.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From C. J. Prince: Apprenticeships: How Earn-while-you-Learn Models can Address your Talent Shortage

“But Barnes Group is in the minority of American companies offering such apprenticeships. Unlike European countries, such as Germany and Switzerland, that have made apprenticeships a preferred career path, the U.S. has maintained a focus on the four-year college degree.”

From Schuyler Velasco: Hot new job for middle-class students: manual labor

“NBSS has been around for more than a century, but it caters to a corner of the labor market that has been gaining prominence more recently: young, middle-class workers drawn to decidedly old-fashioned occupations that allow them to work with their hands. Many – bookbinding, butchery, cutting hair in barbershops – used to be seen as menial trades. Among today’s practitioners however, they’re sought-after, artistic callings that offer a certain level of cultural cachet and, in some cases, more stability than a garden-variety office job.”

From Michael E. Kanell: Mercedes-Benz fills skilled labor need through training push

“Critics have argued that – if companies were truly beset by a shortage – they would either pay more to poach workers from other firms or they would set up training programs to upgrade skills of new hires. Mercedes says it is doing both.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

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Leadership: Crucibles, Consolidation and the Power of a Journal

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How Stephen Lynch gets value from a book

Stephen is Head of Strategy and Consulting for RESULTS.com and the author of Business Execution for Results. Here’s how he gets value from the books he reads.

Writing a Book: The Dan Poynter Principle

Dan Poynter taught many of us a lot. If you’re thinking of writing a business book, here’s one important thing.

Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 8/8/17

Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Sir George Buckley, Erika Nardini, Seth Birnbaum, Jane Chen, and Indra Nooyi

From the Independent Business Blogs: 8/9/17

Pointers to posts by Lolly Daskal, Kevin Eikenberry, Kate Nasser, Mary Jo Asmus, and Jesse Lyn Stoner.

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.

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