Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 8/28/17

  |   Leadership Reading Print Friendly and PDF

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 to tell the truth, leading effectively when you inherit a mess, the real customer experience people crave, innovative firms need managers who are somewhat skeptical of innovation, should your company get on the blockchain learning curve, how to deal with workplace gender bias, the automaker’s dilemma, transformative technology’s people factor, and navigating 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 Ben Horowitz: How to Tell the Truth

“The truth about telling the truth is that it does not come easy for anyone. It’s not natural or organic. The natural thing to do is tell people what they want to hear. That’s what makes everybody feel good . . . at least for the moment. Telling the truth, on the other hand, is hard work and requires skill.”

From Ron Carucci: Leading Effectively When You Inherit a Mess

“A 10-year longitudinal study on executive transitions that my organization conducted found that more than 50% of executives who inherit a mess fail within their first 18 months on the job. We also uncovered numerous landmines for leaders in this situation. And, with the best of intentions, my client was about to step on a number of them. When a leader inherits a mess created by others, especially when arriving as an outsider, the situation can feel fragile and knowing where to begin the long journey of change can feel precarious. Based on our research and my experience, there are six things the most effective leaders do to avoid failing in a new role.”

From Greg Satell: Is It Time To Rethink The Scientific Method?

“The cost of developing and testing new materials costs millions of dollars a year, with no guarantee of any return on investment. Yet now, that’s starting to change. Big data and machine learning are revolutionizing the science of making things and will make it available to the masses.”

Book Suggestion The Hard Thing about Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Industries and Analysis

From Rich Parkin and Reid Wilk: The Automaker’s Dilemma: How Much Innovation Is Too Much?

“The current wave of auto innovation has emerged with remarkable speed: new safety features, connectivity gadgets, and real progress toward bringing autonomous vehicles onto the road. But more noteworthy than the pace of this innovation is its breadth.”

From Pam Danziger: Imagination Retail – The Real Customer Experience People Crave

“Call it serendipity or the zeitgeist of our times, but I recently ran into my old friend Ken Nisch at the NRF Retail’s Big Show. Ken is a retail brand architect, as well as a licensed architect leading JGA, a firm that designs retail spaces. His firm works with a long and growing list of exceptional retailers. Then a few days later, I ran into him again at Luxury Daily’s FirstLook conference. We both commented that everybody is talking Experiential Retail, but too few seem to be translating that ‘Experience’ into actual strategies that will make real and meaningful experiences for customers.”

From Sarah Halzack: Ralph Lauren Has a Department-Store Dilemma

“Give Ralph Lauren Corp. credit for at least one thing: Its executives know exactly what its problems are. The apparel behemoth is working to speed up its supply chain to be more reactive to fashion trends. It is dumping peripheral brands such as Denim & Supply and throwing more resources at marquee labels such as Polo Ralph Lauren. And it is being choosier about where it sells its signature collared shirts and tailored chinos, evidenced by its decision to close underperforming stores and reduce wholesale distribution.”

Book Suggestion: Genuine Authentic: The Real life of Ralph Lauren by Michael Gross

Innovation and Technology

From the London School of Economics: Innovative firms need managers who are somewhat sceptical of innovation

“Their scepticism will force product designers to work harder to build fruitful projects, writes Omar Nayeem.”

From Irving Wladawsky-Berger: Should Your Company Get on the Blockchain Learning Curve Now or Wait?

“A few weeks ago I wrote about the current state of blockchain. In particular, I asked whether blockchain is ready to cross the chasm from its early adopters, – who are already involved with blockchain in one way or another, – to the considerably larger set of mainstream users who may be considering blockchain but are waiting for results and assurances before jumping in.”

From Urko Wood: How to overcome limitations of the ‘jobs-to-be-done’ approach

“Innovation is really pretty hard to get right, and JTBD respects that reality by bringing something robust enough to meet that challenge head on.”

Book Suggestion: Competing Against Luck: The Story of Innovation and Customer Choice by Clayton M. Christensen et al

Women and the Workplace

From Julie Creswell: Even After the Glass Ceiling Yields, Female Executives Find Shaky Ground

“Sheri McCoy of Avon is the third prominent female chief executive to head toward the exit since June, making 2017 anything but the breakout era it was expected to be.”

From Jane Von Bergen: Villanova dean says to grow female CEOs, get girls interested in finance (hint, cool shoes matter)

“Kudos to the STEM movement (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) for building girls’ interests in science, engineering and technology, says Joyce Russell, dean of Villanova University’s nationally-ranked business school. But what about the M-for-math part?”

From Dorothy Dalton: How to deal with workplace gender bias

“Workplace gender bias has been hot news lately. How do we spot it? Here’s some way to respond when we see it happening.”

Book Suggestion: #GIRLBOSS by Sophia Amoruso

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Livia Gershon: The key to jobs in the future is not college but compassion

“Human jobs in the future will be the ones that require emotional labour: currently undervalued and underpaid but invaluable.”

Thanks to Adam Grant for pointing me to this post.

From John Hagel, Jeff Schwartz, Josh Bersin: Navigating the future of work: Can we point business, workers, and social institutions in the same direction?

“From the individual 9-to-5 workday to how entire industries function, work is changing faster than ever. Big shifts threaten to create massive societal and economic disruption unless we look seriously at making the future of work productive and rewarding for everyone.”

From Dale Buss: Transformative Technology’s People Factor: What Happens to your Employees?

“If there’s one thing CEOs know as they tackle technology disruption, it’s that the process will significantly affect the numbers and types of jobs their companies provide. Writ large, this human resources dilemma is one of the biggest global challenges of the digital era.”

Book Suggestion: Humans are Underrated by Geoff Colvin

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Boss’s Tip of the Week: After the talk

How you want performance conversations to end. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.

Leadership: Emotions at Work

Emotions are a powerful part of every workplace. If you’re the boss you must use that emotion to help the team and the team members succeed.

How Kevin Eikenberry gets the most from a book

Here’s Kevin Eikenberry’s advice on how to get the most value from a business book.

Writing a Book: Weight Control for Your Book

Here’s how to trim the fat from your business book.

Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 8/22/17

Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s article about Koch Industries, General Electric, Nike, Apple and Dyson.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 8/23/17

Pointers to posts by Kevin Eikenberry, Steve Keating, Art Petty, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Mary Jo Asmus


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.

Join The Conversation

What People Are Saying

There are no comments yet, why not be the first to leave a comment?