Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 8/3/15

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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 the power of gratitude, lessons from the real Silicon Valley, using algorithms to determine character, whether women in leadership offer more opportunities for their female employees, and why cities should stop trying to be the next Silicon Valley.

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 McKinsey & Company: Growing beyond the core business

“A clear majority of executives say their companies are pursuing growth in categories outside their core business—and report a strong belief that doing so has created company value. But a McKinsey Global Survey suggests that over time, companies’ aspirations to grow through these activities have produced only modest results and that few companies have the right practices in place to support such growth.”

From Manfred Kets de Vries: The Power of Gratitude

“Money may make the world go around but when it comes to engaging hearts and minds a simple ‘thank you’ can be a great motivator.”

From Eric J. McNulty: Your Leadership Summer

“It’s summer: Time to set the out-of-office autoreply on your email and take a break from work. That is, if you can tear yourself away — Americans are especially resistant to taking vacations. Almost 75 percent of U.S. workers fail to use their allotment of vacation days, even though they are given an average of only ten per year. (Other nations are more generous: German workers, for instance, get six weeks of federally mandated vacation time each year.) But you may be able to rationalize more time away from your desk when you realize the ways in which your personal and professional life that can benefit from recreation. (Those same vacationing Germans tend to be more productive at the office than non-vacationing Americans.).”

Industries and Analysis

From Rachel Bachman: The $500-a-Month Workout Habit

“New numbers show just how many will pay extra for fewer choices; barre, boxing and Bikram yoga over big gyms.”

From Yossi Feinberg: Lessons from the Real Silicon Valley

“An economist says that beneath the region’s veneer, there are business principles entrepreneurs can all learn from.”

From Dana Wood: While P&G and Coty Shuffle the Deck, Unilever Does Some Stealth Scooping of Its Own

“‘Portfolio reshaping.’ Apparently that’s now beauty-biz code for: ‘Let us take whatever wasn’t working for you – including some stuff that really and truly wasn’t working for you – and see what we can do with it.'”

Innovations and Technology

From Diane Mastrull: Virtual firm offers ‘nutritionist in your pocket’

“Now a svelte 160 pounds, Colomer, 26, of Harrisburg, who logged five failed weight-loss attempts by more traditional means, says he stands – much easier, thank you – as testament to the powers of accessibility and convenience that electronic counseling affords.” The same writer has a companion piece titled “In Support of Virtual Weight-Loss Therapy.

From Quentin Hardy: Using Algorithms to Determine Character

“Computers aren’t just doing hard math problems and showing us cat videos. Increasingly, they judge our character.”

From Kaiser Fung and Andrew Gelman: Banks Want Robots to Do Their Hiring

“Can software perform better than humans on matters of hiring and retaining employees?”

Hat tip to Smartbrief on Workforce for pointing me to this story.

Women and the Workplace

From Mary Johnson: Arizona Cardinals have hired the first female NFL coach, Jen Welter

“It’s official: The National Football League has got its first female coach.”

From Claire Landsbaum: A New Study Suggests Ladybosses Threaten Guys’ Manhood

“A new study on the dynamic between male employees and their female bosses, published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin and led by Ekaterina Netchaeva of Bocconi University in Milan, helps to explain workplace sexism. It found that, in a lab setting at least, male subordinates felt threatened by their female superiors.”

From Nina Simosko: Do Women in Leadership Offer More Opportunities for their Female Employees?

“The hope was that as more women moved into leadership positions in companies, the wage gap would naturally narrow, because surely women managers would treat their female employees fairly. Unfortunately, a new study performed at the University of California Berkeley Haas School of Business shows that this is not the case.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Laura Putre: Manufacturing’s Youth Problem

“Manufacturing is one of four ‘promising’ sectors for younger workers, but employers aren’t doing enough to train and recruit them, a new Brookings study finds.”

From Cali Yost: Fix Top Open-Office Productivity Drains

“At this moment, every corporate client we’re working with has at least one group transitioning from high-walled private cubicles and closed-door offices to open, collaborative work configurations. While the business case for this open office shift is well-defined—increased employee density equals lower overhead costs—the more subtle impacts on productivity are less clear.”

From Anne VanderMey: Cities are trying to be the next Silicon Valley. They should stop.

“Every city wants to be the next Silicon Valley. In the last decade, policy makers and municipal boosters have spent millions on initiatives meant to lure and nurture local entrepreneurs. See: ‘StartUp PHL,’ ‘StartUp-Miami,’ ‘Startup VA,’ ‘Startup America,’ and countless others. But no matter how hard cities try to borrow that Bay Area magic (looking at you, ‘Silicon Sandbar’), none have managed to recreate the Valley’s particular formula for tech startup-fueled success—and increasingly it seems like the wrong aspiration.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Reading the classics every day

When I posted that I read a little of the classics every day, several people asked me the same two questions I answer them in this post.

By and About Leaders: 7/28/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Brian Niccol, Ted Chung, Pierre Nanterme, Geoff Smart, Randy Street, Alan Foster, and David Politis.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 7/29/15

Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Kate Nasser, Mike Haberman, Chris Edmonds, and Mary Jo Asmus.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 7/31/15

Pointers to stories about Nugget Market, Netflix, Scátháin, Time, and Kroger.

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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