Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 8/17/15

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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 humble narcissists make great leaders, why stores are the new black, Robert Tucker’s list of the ten most innovative companies, Jena McGregor on a gender-equality club, run by men, and five things you need to know about the future of work.

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 Marc de Jong and Menno van Dijk: Disrupting beliefs: A new approach to business-model innovation

“In a disruptive age, established business models are under attack. Here’s how incumbent companies can reframe them.”

From Jens Jahn, Reinhard Messenböck, and Gerrit Schulte: The Transformation Trap: The Smart and Simple Way to Avert HR Risk

“Our work with clients in every region and industry has taught us that the transformation game has changed. Amid mounting complexity, the old playbook no longer works. Although known concepts might appear from a distance to need just an update and a bit of adaptation, organizations that take this approach risk becoming wrapped up in a never-ending stream of change that soaks up management capacity and weakens the company. The old procedures and approaches no longer work for a host of reasons:”

From Quy Huy: Humble Narcissists Make Great Leaders

“Narcissism gives executives the self-confidence to aim high, but greatness requires more humble behaviour.”

Industries and Analysis

From Steve Lohr: The Internet of Things and the Future of Farming

“The Internet of Things — the vision of a world brimming with communicating sensors and digital smarts — occupies the peak of Gartner’s most recent ‘hype cycle.’ And a report released two months ago by the McKinsey Global Institute laid out the potential multitrillion-dollar payoff from the emerging technology.”

From Robin Lewis: Stores Are the New Black

“Terry Lundgren, CEO of Macy’s, borrowed this quote during his opening remarks at the University of Arizona Global Retailing Conference in Tucson back in April, attributing it to NYU-Stern Marketing Professor Scott Galloway, who also happens to be one of the world’s experts in digital marketing.”

From Dale Buss: 3 Manufacturing Sectors That Are Seeing a Resurgence and 3 That Are in Decline

“U.S. manufacturing has shifted from a nearly 11% share of the economy a decade ago to just 8% this year. But these numbers are not granular enough to provide much meaning. Many manufacturing industries continue to expand or are, indeed, just getting started, while some others still are experiencing major declines.”

Innovations and Technology

From Sarah Nassauer: Inside Wal-Mart’s ‘Shark Tank’

“Entrepreneurs, in ‘Shark Tank’-style, try to get their gadgets and foods onto retailer’s shelves.”

From MarketWatch: “The Data-Enabled CEO”- 5 Steps to Turn Data Insights into Competitive Business Advantages

“Today’s CEOs face a host of complex business challenges, including how to harness disparate streams of data to generate pragmatic insights and deliver increased profitability. The difficulty CEOs face is not in obtaining the data, but in determining how to effectively use it in order to make intelligent business decisions and gain a competitive advantage in the marketplace. The challenge of harnessing the power of Big Data, as well as steps to unlock key insights to accelerate business performance, were the focus of a recent roundtable discussion at the 30th Annual Chief Executive of the Year Gala Reception & Dinner, sponsored by the Chartered Global Management Accountant® (CGMA®) designation (powered by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)).”

Wally’s Comment: This is a news release so please forgive the jargon. If you want to skip the release and jump right to a report on the subject, click here.

From Robert Tucker: 10 Most Innovative Companies

“In 2001, Fortune Magazine named Enron the ‘most innovative company’ in the world. Shortly thereafter, the firm erupted in a financial scandal, its leaders were marched off to prison, and the company collapsed. All to say that readers of this newsletter are cautioned to review our inaugural list with a grain of salt. We were motivated to compile this list because we believe the criteria of existing lists too narrow, and therefore incomplete. Some focus solely on patents (Thompson Reuters), R&D spend (Booz and Co.), 3 year financial performance (BCG), ‘innovation premium’ (Forbes) and in one case a popularity poll amongst the magazine’s editorial staff (Fast Company). Fair enough on the subjectivity, but we believe additional criteria are also important: visionary leadership, innovation culture, customer delight, corporate reputation (sorry Amazon, but you dropped quite badly here in 2014), unique business model, and sustainable process for innovation.”

Women and the Workplace

From Jena McGregor: A gender-equality club, run by men

“Last year, students at Wharton, the University of Pennsylvania’s graduate business school, started a campus club focused on gender equality. They called it the 22s, after the percentage gap that persists between men’s and women’s pay. Since its founding last year, the club has hosted discussions about discrimination, screened a film about gender issues and conducted surveys that examine attitudes about equality.”

From Betsey Guzior: Studies underscore bias of men in workplace

“Two new studies underscore the ‘unconscious bias’ that women face in the workplace. It’s an issue at the heart of Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s initiative at the social network, which calls out some of the subtle ways the workplace steers toward men”

From Sarah Caspari: Apple’s female hires have doubled. Is diversify push working?

“Apple hired more women and people of minority backgrounds than ever this year – but you wouldn’t know it to look at their ratios.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Jim Brennan: 19th Century Work Assumptions in the 21st Century

“Before knowledge work crept into the workplace, industrial output came from capital equipment tended by unskilled workers. Carnegie’s steel mills and Ford’s assembly lines were places where quality, quantity, time and costs were all controlled by management. Employees tended the machines and followed detailed procedures under close supervision. Productivity, efficiency and profitability were the responsibility of top management. Laborers just obeyed instructions. In that environment, the length of time they served the equipment established their value as workers. Hourly pay made sense.”

From Wharton: Is Your Workplace Tough — or is it Toxic?

“Think of the type of workplace in which employees feel personally threatened in one way or another. While relatively rare in most sectors, toxic workplaces appear to be on the rise, experts say. The distinction between extremely difficult and downright toxic work environments can be fuzzy, but in general, the toxic workplace is one in which the dynamics resemble an abusive personal relationship.”

From Anna Gowdridge: Five things you need to know about the future of work

“How will we be working in the future? What role will future business play in society? How will businesses attract talent? Virgin Unite’s Head of People shares some of the highlights from today’s B Team report, New Ways of Working.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

How to be a real jerk

It’s easy to be a jerk. Maybe that’s why there are so many of them.

By and About Leaders: 8/11/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Daryl Brewster, Stanley McCrystal, Jiliene Helman, Swamy Kotagiri, and Kevin E. Lofton.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 8/12/15

Pointers to posts by Chris Edmonds, Karin Hurt, Art Petty, Anne Perschel, and Kate Nasser.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 8/14/15

Pointers to stories about Graeter’s, Aisin Group, BuzzFeed Motion Pictures, Crapola, and Google.

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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