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 U.S. Army basic training turns diverse groups into teams, how automakers can think like a disruptor, six secrets to true originality, lessons learned from Sophia Amoruso’s ‘#Girlboss’ movement, and the hidden curriculum 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
“We know that diverse teams are more creative and productive than homogenous teams, but how do you get individuals who aren’t alike working together smoothly? As I’ve seen from teaching over 960 recruits as a basic-training company commander in the U.S. Army, people from various backgrounds struggle to discover shared interests during the early stages of team building. Inclusion is one thing, and integration is something else entirely. I’ve found that people with disparate life experiences often require help from their leaders to see and develop common ground.”
“We’re falling over ourselves to become agile, but sometimes more haste is less speed.”
From Tracy Thurkow, Joachim Breidenthal, Jeff Melton and Melissa Burke: Organizations Don’t Change Behavior, People Do
“Any company that undertakes a transformation—to permanently take out costs, merge with another company or accomplish some other major endeavor—will have to inspire people to think and act differently. Yet in most large-scale change programs, there is a disconnect: Companies focus mainly on designing new processes or technical systems, and far less on how to motivate employees to adopt the solution.”
Industries and Analysis
From Michelle Andersen, Thomas Dauner, Nikolaus Lang, and Thomas Palme: What Automakers Can Learn from the Tesla Phenomenon
“Given Tesla’s ability to combine driving performance, new technologies, and online connectivity with outstanding design, it is clear that a major new competitor has arrived on the automotive scene.”
“In the third article of the series, ‘The Network Revolution: Creating Value through Platforms, People and Technology,’ authors Barry Libert, Megan Beck and Jerry (Yoram) Wind examine the impact of new digital platforms and networks on the auto industry. Libert is CEO of OpenMatters and Beck is the chief insights officer. Wind is a Wharton marketing professor and director of Wharton’s SEI Center for Advanced Studies in Management. They also wrote a book called The Network Imperative: How to Survive and Grow in the Age of Digital Business Models.”
“Sit-down restaurants want more of the stand-up crowd. Restaurants in Chicago are adding bakeries, cafes and markets to fill in the gaps between breakfast, lunch and dinner. The markets, which offer grab-and-go items like gourmet sandwiches, salads and baked goods, are usually housed near (or even in) the restaurant. The stand-up venues aim to tap into a fast-growing segment of the dining industry that is serving up higher-end convenience foods that can be eaten on the go or taken back home or to the office.”
Innovation and Technology
“Six tips on generating great ideas, including reframing your creative process, not worrying about being too old, and learning how to procrastinate artfully.”
“There is no question that machine learning is at the top of the hype curve. And, of course, the backlash is already in full force: I’ve heard that old joke ‘Machine learning is like teenage sex; everyone is talking about it, no one is actually doing it’ about 20 times in the past week alone. But from where I sit, running a company that enables a huge number of real-world machine-learning projects, it’s clear that machine learning is already forcing massive changes in the way companies operate.”
“The following business innovation reports cover three core elements that consistently prove important to success: developing an innovative and transparent company culture; the connection between data and innovation opportunities; and finally, emerging business trends that have major impact on enterprise innovation programs.”
Women and the Workplace
“Exaggerating the challenges female executives face often does them more harm than good. It exacerbates their own performance anxiety and adds to the pressure boards feel to ensure their investment pays off – pressure they naturally pass on to the CEO, who usually doesn’t need it. The media attention also stokes resentment among male executives – particularly those who were passed over for the job – not to mention employees, investors and the general public who feel, and rightly so, that nobody should be making excuses for chief executives of big public companies who make eight or nine figures”
“Women face unique obstacles when they travel alone, but with some confidence, common sense and planning, you can feel just as prepared for a trip alone as you normally do surrounded by co-workers.”
“As a career coach to thousands of job seekers—many of whom are millennial women— I can’t help but pick up on the trends I notice in my clientele. Lately, it seems that everyone is reading #GirlBoss, a best-selling book published in May 2014 by Sophia Amoruso, founder of the Nasty Gal clothing empire. When I picked up the book, I was prepared for a heavy dose of clichés. But after reading it, I understand why the hashtag #GirlBoss has appeared on more than 2.5 million Instagram posts: It’s not just a catchy book title, it’s a movement.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Ethan Bernstein, Harvard Business School professor, and John Bunch, holacracy implementation lead at Zappos, discuss the online retailer’s transition to a flat, self-managed organization. They are the coauthors of the HBR article ‘Beyond the Holacracy Hype.’”
“A new report has found that virtual habitat designers, ethical technology advocates and freelance biohackers will be three of the jobs of the future.”
“What do you do for work? Not, what is your job title, or what’s written in your official job description? But what do you actually do?”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
People won’t give you their best unless they feel like you’re treating them fairly and there are so many ways to get it wrong.
Act Like a Leader, Think Like a Leader is a great book about the process of becoming the leader you can be.
Pointers to pieces by and about Paula Kerger, Mike Lynch, Jim Whitehurst, Kevin Warren, and Randy Stocklin.
Pointers to posts by Art Petty, Karin Hurt, Chris Edmonds, Lolly Daskal, and Mary Jo Asmus.
Pointers to stories about Red Wing, Mittlestand, EnvisionTEC, Custom Robotic Wildlife, and PiperWai.
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.