Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 9/21/15

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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 translating strategy into results, some ideas about the restaurant of the future, why technology alone won’t change the world, why men are 86% more likely to be funded than women, and how new data-collection technology might change office culture.

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 Phanish Puranam: A New Raison d’Etre for the Conglomerate?

“Contemporary conglomerates have a unique advantage: the combined problem-solving power of their diverse organisations.”

From Rebecca Homkes: Translating strategy into results

“Rebecca Homkes, teaching fellow at LBS in the Department of Strategy and Entrepreneurship, discusses how to frame our thinking of how to approach execution, and she also suggests a set of priorities for effective strategy execution.”

From McKinsey & Company: The science of organizational transformations

“New survey results find that the most effective transformation initiatives draw upon four key actions to change mind-sets and behaviors.”

Industries and Analysis

From Claire Cain Miller: Restaurant of the Future? Service With an Impersonal Touch

“Eatsa, the first in a chain of quinoa restaurants with national ambitions, is almost fully automated.”

From James F. Peltz and Shan Li: For grocers, Southern California is an irresistible—and cutthroat—market

“The bold Southern California expansion by tiny grocery Haggen Inc., and the company’s abrupt bankruptcy filing only six months after opening its first store in the region, came as little surprise to Jack Brown. Brown is the longtime chief executive of the 168-store Stater Bros. chain, based in San Bernardino, and he’s seen the rise and fall of many supermarkets since his entry into the business as a teenage box boy. Now 77, Brown even keeps a list of the chains that have disappeared — once-familiar names such as Lucky, Alpha Beta and Mayfair. ‘I have seen everything in the food industry come and go in Southern California,’ he said.”

Wally’s Comment: For an excellent pre-bankruptcy analysis, read David Merrefield’s “Haggen’s Big Buy.”

From Hans-Werner Kaas, Andreas Tschiesner, Dominik Wee, and Matthias Kässer: How carmakers can compete for the connected consumer

“Connectivity and automation are transforming the car industry. Our new report, based on an extensive consumer survey, provides a road map for success.”

Innovations and Technology

From Jan Alexander: Kentaro Toyama on Why Technology Alone Won’t Change the World

“The University of Michigan professor believes that to solve human problems, human skill is needed more urgently than ever before.”

From the Economist: Progress without profits

“A flock of startups is making cloud computing faster and more flexible, but most of them will not survive.”

From Boland Jones: We’ve Become So Obsessed With ‘Innovation’ That It’s Now Meaningless

“The word ‘innovation’ and its many derivatives have come to define the state of business today. Every company, regardless of size, the service they provide or the product they produce wants to at least be perceived as being innovative, regardless of the reality. In fact, the word is so over-used that it’s quickly joining the ranks of the now-meaningless buzzword brigade, nestled securely between ‘cutting edge’ and ‘game changing.'”

Women and the Workplace

From Jena McGregor: There has been no significant progress toward equal pay in seven years

“New data released Wednesday by the U.S. Census Bureau show a very slim closing of the gender wage gap. The median women’s earnings were 79 percent of men’s in 2014, up ever so slightly from 78 percent in 2013. That change is not statistically significant, the Census Bureau said. In fact, not since 2007 has there been any statistically significant narrowing of the wage gap. And even then, the increase was small—one has to go back to the ’80s or ’90s to see more rapid change.”

From Amy Guttman: Why Men Are 86% More Likely To Be Funded Than Women

“A report studying diversity in Britain’s startup ecosystem indicates men are 86% more likely to be funded than women. The findings are part of an ongoing project called Startup DNA. Telefónica’s accelerator, Wayra, led the research, seeking to determine whether diversity drives acceleration. The short answer is yes. But the gender facts that emerged from polling more than 220 early-stage digital startups in the UK are even more interesting.”

From Fiona Czerniawska and Sandra Guzman: Ambitious women need sponsors as well as mentors

“Advice is useful but a hand up can make all the difference.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Tara Kimura: How new data-collection technology might change office culture

“Imagine a tiny microphone embedded in the ID badge dangling from the lanyard around your neck. The mic is gauging the tone of your voice and how frequently you are contributing in meetings. Hidden accelerometers measure your body language and track how often you push away from your desk.”

From Dale Buss: Amazon’s Culture Sparks Renewed Debate on Workplace Philosophy

“The controversy over the exposé of Amazon as a tough workplace has reignited a debate about the American workplace that had been quiescent for a while: Do employees expect to be coddled these days, or can CEOs still create an effective corporate culture that features a hard-charging work environment?”

From Jerry Useem: Zappos is Leading the Way for Bossless Companies

“A radical experiment at Zappos may herald the emergence of a new, more democratic kind of organization.”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Workforce for pointing me to this story

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

When a team member brings you an idea

People have ideas all the time, so why don’t they share them? How can you change that situation?

By and About Leaders: 9/15/15

Pointers to pieces by and about Kathleen Finch, N. R. Narayana Murthy, Derk Hendriksen, Christopher Franklin, and Walt Disney.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 9/16/15

Pointers to posts by Karin Hurt, Kate Nasser, Mary Jo Asmus, Aad Boot, and Chris Edmonds.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 9/18/15

Pointers to stories about Container Store, Duke Barber Co., IKEA, Jet, and Annies.

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