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 it’s ok for leaders to have a sense of humor, a business leader’s guide to agile, why we all need to prepare for a new era of innovation, how GE built an innovation lab to rapidly prototype appliances, True Ventures’ first female partner speaks up about being the only woman at the table, and whether open floor plans killing productivity.
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
“Traditionally, executives have used standard metrics, such as cash flow, inventory turns and operating income, to get a broad sense of the health of their firm. However, the game has changed with the rise of digital business models centered on the user. New metrics need to be devised based on the core user actions that drive value creation in such models.”
“But only if it’s not at the expense of others: It’s better for the team if you laugh at yourself, write Kai Chi (Sam) Yam and Jenson Lau.”
From Santiago Comella-Dorda, Krish Krishnakanthan, Jeff Maurone, and Gayatri Shenai: A business leader’s guide to agile
“Agile promises rapidly evolving software and substantial business benefits, but it requires new habits from everyone: from IT and from business partners.”
Industries and Analysis
“Mergers and acquisitions for fashion retailers are like a crop top t-shirt: a risk best braved by a select few and avoided after a certain age.”
“Chavern’s solution is twofold: one, that regulators should do a better job of enforcing antitrust laws against Google and Facebook, and two, that Congress should grant publishers a safe harbor to negotiate collectively with Google and Facebook.”
“The common refrain is that Amazon and other e-tailers are killing retail jobs, but one new statistical analysis begs to differ”
Book Suggestion: Book Business: Publishing Past, Present, and Future by Jason Epstein
Innovation and Technology
“Today, however, Moore’s Law is nearing its theoretical limits as are lithium-ion batteries. Other technologies, such as the internal combustion engine, will be replaced as well. So the next few decades are likely to look a whole lot more like the 50s and the 60s than the 90s or the aughts. Much of the value will shift from applications to fundamental technologies.”
“Such achievements are largely down to the factory’s ‘digital twin’. For there is another factory, a virtual version of the physical facility that resides within a computer system. This digital twin is identical in every respect and is used to design the control units, test them, simulate how to make them and program production machines. Once everything is humming along nicely, the digital twin hands over to the physical factory to begin making things for real.”
From Bharat Kapoor, Kevin Nolan, and Natarajan (Venkat) Venkatakrishnan: How GE Built an Innovation Lab to Rapidly Prototype Appliances
“Midway through 2014, GE Appliances launched FirstBuild — a GE-equipped innovation lab and micro-factory — to augment the strengths of a long-established company with those of an entrepreneurial startup. Separation is the key. As a free-standing enterprise operating under its own brand, FirstBuild is decidedly not another attempt to transform a traditional company’s corporate culture.”
Women and the Workplace
“In the midst of revelations that many of tech’s leading women have long endured sexual harassment by investors, researchers have determined that the deck is also stacked against women when competing startups face VC scrutiny–and when the funding’s shelled out.”
From Marissa Kendall: True Ventures’ first female partner speaks up about being the only woman at the table
“Ann Crady Weiss shares her thoughts on sexual harassment, sexism in Silicon Valley.”
“Putting women on boards and in executive positions could be the quick fix that sexist Silicon Valley needs.”
Book Suggestion: Unfinished Business: Women Men Work Family by Anne-Marie Slaughter
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“The latest trend in office design might promote collaboration and innovation, but studies show it can negatively impact employees. Here’s how to find a balance.”
“Big businesses have embraced flexible work practices, but fewer of them seem to favor full-time working from home. International Business Machines Corp., Aetna Inc., Bank of America Corp., Best Buy Co. Honeywell International Inc. and Reddit Inc. are among employers that have ended or reduced remote-work arrangements recently as managers demand more collaboration, closer contact with customers—and more control over the workday.”
“Some employers naturally do better than others at following through on such lofty claims. For others, however, lip service is about as far as their employee-centric philosophy goes. Their reality is about to change. If it hasn’t already. And for a long time to come.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Complex problems demand time and inattention. One of 347 tips from Become a Better Boss One Tip at a Time.
Four ways to give a serious problem the attention it deserves.
Mike Figliuolo tells you how to put the ideas you get from a book to work.
Everybody gets stuck from time to time. Here’s what to do when it happens to you.
Articles about real leaders and real companies in real life. This week it’s Corie Barry, Three Square Market, Apple, Blake Irving, and GoDaddy.
Pointers to posts by Jesse Lyn Stoner, Suzi McAlpine, Randy Hall, Mary Jo Asmus, and Julie Winkle Giulioni
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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