Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 8/3/14

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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 Robert Sutton’s guide to excellence, the tobacco industry, the future of crowdfunding, a study of women in business leadership, and the three eras of management.

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 Natalia Karelaia: Why Mindful Individuals Make Better Decisions

“Mindfulness is practiced in board rooms from Silicon Valley to Wall Street. But just how much does it improve the quality of your decision-making?”

From Paul Michelman: Robert Sutton’s Guide to Excellence

“The Stanford professor’s latest research explores the practices that enable companies to scale what they do best.”

Wally’s Comment: Full disclosure: I consider Bob Sutton a friend. I also consider Scaling Up Excellence, his most recent book, written with Huggy Rao, one of the best business books you will ever read.

From Eric J. McNulty: Should Leaders Be Heroes or Relationship Builders?

“We relate the rise and fall of organizations through the stories of their executives, the successes and failures of armies through the exploits of their generals, and the triumph or defeat of social movements through the journeys of their most visible advocates. Jobs. Patton. Bezos. Mandela. Schultz. But the reality is not that simple. Leaders never act alone—rarely, if ever, do breakthrough ideas have a single parent.”

Industries and Analysis

From Thomas Lee: Brick fills click: Retailers convert stores into online warehouses

“Today, retailers like Macy’s, American Apparel and Gap in San Francisco are converting stores into mini-warehouses to fill both in-person and digital orders. In some cases, stores have unknowingly morphed into Internet fulfillment centers.”

From Rebecca Smith: Electric Utilities Get No Jolt From Gadgets, Improving Economy

“Utility executives across the country are reaching the same conclusion. Even though Americans are plugging in more gadgets than ever and the unemployment rate had dropped at one point to a level last reported in 2008, electricity sales are looking anemic for the seventh year in a row.”

From Wharton: What the Reynolds-Lorillard Merger Means for the Tobacco Industry

“The term ‘force majeure’ that is usually part of the fine print in legal documents seems to loom large these days for tobacco firm Reynolds American. Just days after the maker of Camel cigarettes announced that it will pay $27.4 billion in stock and cash for competitor Lorillard, best known for its Newport menthol brand, a Florida jury ruled on July 19 that Reynolds American subsidiary R.J. Reynolds (RJR) must pay $23.6 billion in damages to the widow of a lung cancer victim.”

Innovations and Technology

From Nancy Dahlberg: Q&A with EarlyShares CEO on the future of crowdfunding

“Joanna Schwartz talks about the progress of Miami-based EarlyShares, an equity crowdfunding platform that connects investors and opportunities, her vision and crowdfunding.”

From BCG Perspectives: Chris Anderson on Why Community-Driven Companies Will Always Win

“Chris Anderson has a unique perspective on technology-driven innovation. He was the editor in chief of Wired for more than ten years, and he’s written two New York Times best-selling books on the digital economy—The Long Tail: Why the Future of Business Is Selling Less of More and Free: How Today’s Smartest Businesses Profit by Giving Something for Nothing. In 2009, he made the move from keen observer to hands-on player and maker when he cofounded 3D Robotics, a company that makes unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) technology—that is, drones. His career change followed the release of his book Makers: The New Industrial Revolution, which describes how technology is transforming manufacturing.”

From Erin Meyer: Multicultural Teamwork: Accommodate Multiple Perspectives

“Do you see the fish or the aquarium? There is a big difference between the thought patterns of specific and holistic thinkers that can undo a multicultural team’s effectiveness.”

Women and the Workplace

From the Huffington Post: Women in Business Q&A: Michelle Atkinson, VP, Strategic Planning and Brand Development Energizer Holdings, Inc.

“Michelle has an extensive background in global brand and business leadership, including brand and product development, strategic planning and sustainability for Energizer, H.J. Heinz, Ore-Ida Foods and Albertson’s Inc. Additionally, she spent three years in sales leadership at Energizer working with major U.S. grocery, mass and electronics retailers.”

From Kris B. Mamula: Study: Women in leadership reflect business success

“Companies with women in business leadership roles performed better financially than ones without, according to new research by Bridgeville-based Development Dimensions International and the Conference Board Inc. of New York.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Cali Yost: “Want to Work Less?” All Hands Go Up. “But, You’ll Make Less Money” Most Hands Go Down

“Suddenly, it seems everywhere you look another billionaire is promoting a reduced workweek. I recently appeared on WSJ Live to share my thoughts on the trend (scroll down to view the clip–I make my main points at 3:35). While I believe their motivations are valid, these moguls need to understand that it will not be easy to make their vision a reality. Some major hurdles stand in their way.”

From Rita McGrath: Management’s Three Eras: A Brief History

“But even as these old ideas remain in use (and indeed, are still taught), management as it is practiced by the most thoughtful executives evolves. Building on ideas from my colleague Ian MacMillan, I’d propose that we’ve seen three ‘ages’ of management since the industrial revolution, with each putting the emphasis on a different theme: execution, expertise, and empathy.”

From Jena McGregor: Here is proof the boss doesn’t think like you do

“Ask employees why they stay in their jobs, and trust in leadership, job security and a short commute all come out as reasons listed near the top. Ask employers the same question, however, and the same priorities don’t even make the top 10.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

“What’s the answer?” is the wrong question

If you want innovation, stop looking for the answer and start looking for answers.

By and About Leaders: 7/29/14

Pointers to pieces by and about Lonne Jaffe, Arthur T. Demoulas, Helena Morrissey. David Kenny, and Marcin Kleczynski.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 7/30/14

Pointers to posts by Susan Mazza, Karin Hurt, Lolly Daskal, Jesse Lyn Stoner, and Tanveer Naseer.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 8/1/14

Pointers to stories about luxury coffee cups, T.J. Maxx, ShoeMe.ca, Compass Iron Works, and Joor.

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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