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 barriers big companies face when they try to act like lean startups, three questions humble leaders ask, how to lead from the front, the top ten emerging technologies of 2016, why Fox’s apology to Gretchen Carlson is so stunning, a conversation with Malcolm Gladwell and Adam Grant, and why psychological safety matters and what to do about it.
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
“It’d be hard to choose two words that feel less descriptive of life inside a large organization than ‘lean’ and ‘startup.’ And yet the lean startup methodology, born in Silicon Valley as a way for startups to tune in to customer needs with limited resources, has been gaining major momentum inside big companies like General Electric, Alaska Airlines, Telefonica, 3M, and W.L. Gore. When my publication, Innovation Leader, surveyed 170 executives who work in R&D, strategy, and new product development roles at large public companies, we found that 82% said they’ve already deployed some elements of the lean startup approach.”
“So, what role does my office window play in preventing excessive narcissism? As a manager, it is important to keep your feet firmly on the ground. To do this, leaders need to look at three aspects of their lives and regularly ask themselves: am I surrounded by enough critical voices? Is there enough adversity? And, have I kept contact with the world outside the office?”
“Army officer. Atlantic yacht skipper. Businessman. It’s fair to say that Tim McEwan knows a thing or two about leading teams in challenging circumstances. ‘Whether you’re at the helm of a business or an ocean-going yacht the secret to leadership is the same,’ he says. ‘Maintaining a calm, assured, outward projection is absolutely vital – and never more so than when you have absolutely no idea what to do next!’”
Industries and Analysis
“These days, many Central Florida restaurant customers are being greeted by the warm glow of a screen instead of ‘How can we help you?’”
“One of the hottest trends in franchising these days isn’t sit-down restaurants or real estate. It’s seniors. Providing home-health aides and other services to older Americans is a fast-growing business, as brands and franchise owners seek to capitalize on an aging U.S. population and low costs of entry.”
“The way digital technologies are reshaping the relationship between consumers and brands has been hotly debated over the past few years, with much discussion of the reshaping of consumer decision journeys, the advent of multichannel marketing and sales, and the impact of smartphones and the mobile Internet on customer behavior. Yet an even bigger opportunity has been largely overlooked. By taking advantage of big data and advanced analytics at every link in the value chain from field to fork, food companies can harness digital’s enormous potential for sustainable value creation. Digital can help them use resources in a more environmentally responsible manner, improve their sourcing decisions, and implement circular-economy solutions in the food chain.”
Innovation and Technology
“It’s easy to spot and celebrate the innovations that change company fortunes: Apple’s iPhone, Warner-Lambert’s (and then Pfizer’s) Lipitor, Microsoft’s Windows, to name a few. What is harder to appreciate are those innovations that aren’t the blockbusters and home runs but nonetheless play a critical role in a company’s innovation strategy. I’m not talking about the incremental improvements, but rather the value of launching new products and services that hold tremendous value even though they don’t shoot for the moon.”
“New capabilities, new entrepreneurialism and rekindled dreams are making space exciting again.”
“Here are the ten technologies comprising the 2016 list, along with the reason cited by the WEF for their selection:”
Women and the Workplace
“Saying that women may self-exclude from the after-work pint because they are more likely to want to go home and look after their kids (if that really is what he said, let alone meant) is, of course, wrong on many levels. But did it stir a much-needed discussion about what is a fact: Workplace cultures in which decision making depends on out-of-hours, informal social activities and networking are bad for workforce diversity. Full-stop.”
“The settlement 21st Century Fox announced Tuesday regarding former anchor Gretchen Carlson, who filed a lawsuit this summer claiming sexual harassment by the powerful — and now ousted — Fox News chairman Roger Ailes, was extraordinary in many ways. There was the speed with which the suit went from being filed, on July 6, to being settled, just two months later. There was the reported size of the settlement, $20 million, which employment lawyers say is the largest single plaintiff pre-trial settlement for sexual harassment charges they know of (many are settled privately). But perhaps the most striking aspect of the settlement was the company’s public apology to Carlson in its statement, a move employment lawyers said was extremely rare, if not unprecedented, when it comes to sexual harassment claims.”
From Nicole Cannizzaro: Kids Are Awed When A Firefighter And A Pilot Take Off Their Helmets — And Reveal They’re Women
“Some people in our world may still believe that women belong home with the children, or that women are only fit for certain jobs and roles in life. Whether you think you’re one of those people or not, sometimes you may instill gender norms of that sort in your children without even realizing it.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“Richard Hytner, Adjunct Professor of Marketing at London Business School, believes the biggest barrier to creativity in business is the myth that being creative is somehow someone else’s job.”
“Malcolm Gladwell, known for his deep inquiries into how the social sciences impact our day-to-day lives, recently sat down with Adam Grant, a Wharton psychology professor whose latest book, Originals, deals with the character traits that foster creative success. In this conversation, at 92nd Street Y, Gladwell and Grant delve into entrepreneurship, college admissions, and what makes a good president. Read on to find out what these great minds have to say about ideas old and new and why we process them the way we do.”
“Speaking up at work can be difficult. People worry that their boss or colleagues won’t like what they have to say. As a result, people hold back on everything from good ideas to great questions. But by fostering psychological safety, all employees can feel safe to speak up.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Innovation lessons from Gene Roddenberry and the phenomenon of Star Trek.
Pointers to pieces by and about Tim Cook, DJ Muller, Hugh Dodman, Strauss Zelnick, and Paul Charron.
Pointers to posts by Tanmay Vora, Kate Nasser, Karin Hurt, Mary Jo Asmus, and Tanveer Naseer.
Pointers to stories about InkStudio, Target, Dow Jones, Evernote, and Legion Logistics.
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