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 how leaders in digital merge the physical and the virtual, why innovations are rarely (if ever) the product of a single individual, Google’s nine principles of innovation, why you should stop “protecting” women from challenging work, and five ways to make work more effective.
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
“To thrive in the digital age, business leaders need to broaden their outlook and re-examine their metaphysical assumptions of how the world ‘is’. This includes the ingrained belief that the physical world is more ‘real’ than the world created by the use of virtual or augmented reality technology.”
“Those two leadership styles—motivated by the desire for either dominance or prestige—are examined in research from Kellogg’s Jon Maner. Each one has pros and cons, and they work best under different circumstances.”
“What’s best; dictatorial top-down leadership or empowering from the bottom-up? You’re asking the wrong question. In fact, companies need both strong and benevolent leadership: it’s a question of knowing what to be when.”
Industries and Analysis
“Few new technologies have roiled manufacturing (and most other industries) as much and as completely as the Internet of Things, since, well, the Internet itself. From its inauspicious beginnings,the promise of IoT has captured the imagination of business thought leaders and technologists in every industry.”
“These days, golf is a tough gig, both as a sport and as a business. (Just ask Tiger Woods.) It may have made a triumphant return to the Olympics after a 112 year absence but the market is hugely crowded with gear and courses and its commercial glory days maybe past. Even giants like Adidas and Nike are coming to similar conclusions. Both are cover-every-base sports generalists and came slightly late to a highly specialised market already occupied by established brands such as Ping and Titleist. Both have announced that they are withdrawing from the market of making clubs but will be sticking with apparel and shoes which are easier and deliver far better margins.”
“Consider the role that ‘experiences’ play in our lives today. Every day, people share photos of the places they went, the things they ate, and who they were with—showing the world that they derive meaning from more than just ostentatious goods. Experiences have become our new currency. The retail world has been talking about consumers’ obsession with doing things, not just buying things, for a while now. Stores offer in-store demos, classes, and the opportunity to buy an experience, in addition to an object or service. A growing number of online retailers—especially those without an offline presence—have tapped into this experiential retail component through a subscription model: offering specially-selected boxes of products to customers on a regular basis, typically weekly or monthly, for a modest fee.”
Innovation and Technology
From Katie Dowbiggin and Michael Muthukrishna: Innovations are rarely (if ever) the product of a single individual
“We grow up learning about great inventions and scientific discoveries in history. Chances are, it won’t take you more than a few seconds to name the discoverer of penicillin, the formulator of the theory of evolution by natural selection, or the inventor of the telephone. These ‘lone geniuses’ changed history through their individual brilliance, creativity, and tenacity. Right?”
“Remember when the typical reengineering approach boiled down to eliminating, simplifying and automating processes? Seems quaint at a time when digital technology allows companies to transform how they operate, from one end of the value chain to the other. Breakthroughs in areas such as communications technology, analytics, Big Data and the Internet of Things have ushered in an entirely new set of tools to generate more value for customers. The goal of reengineering hasn’t changed, but the means have become significantly more powerful.”
“Google is widely considered, by both the general public and business experts, to be one of the most innovative companies in the world. So how does Google promote a culture of innovation and ensure that innovative ideas are properly implemented, creating profitable new products that position the company for long-term success? Google’s ‘recipe’ for driving innovation is no carefully guarded secret sauce. Rather, Google has openly shared this information with the public. In 2013, Google codified a new set of ‘Nine Principles of Innovation,’ which updated the version first unveiled by former Google executive Marissa Mayer in 2008.”
Women and the Workplace
“What can companies do to stop the departure of senior women? One critical but overlooked strategy: Make sure that women have the right kind of visibility within the organization.”
“A new poll by the Pew Research Center suggests that more than half of men think sexism is a thing of the past; in contrast, only about one-third of women agree. One reason for the disagreement may stem from misunderstandings about the kinds of behavior that constitute sexism. Indeed, an important body of research instigated by Susan Fiske of Princeton and Peter Glick of Lawrence University demonstrates that prejudice toward women can take obvious and not-so-obvious forms. Both forms are destructive. But our research shows that this latter benevolent form of sexism is exceptionally damaging, particularly in the workplace. It primarily manifests itself in two ways.”
From Michelle Reina: 4 Ways Entrepreneurs (Especially Women) Unintentionally Rob Themselves of Success
“This one is for you, ladies. But gentlemen–you’ll want to listen in. You may find that you relate. Today is American Business Women’s Day. A day to honor the contributions of women. And, a day to claim and deepen those contributions through acknowledging and redirecting four of the most significant ways women hold themselves back.”
Work and Learning Now and in the Future
“When Google set out to understand what makes for an effective team, the researchers thought team composition would be most important. But it turned out that how a team interacts is far more important than who is on the team.”
“Improving the effectiveness of work is the biggest strategic challenge leaders face in a rapidly changing competitive work environment.”
Thanks to Tanmay Vora for the pointer to this post.
“I was re-reading the chapter on Learning: Employees Take Charge, and was taken, again, with the evaluation of where organizations are today and where they will have to be in the short term in order to attract, retain and deploy the talent they need.”
More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock
Vince Lombardi changed the Green Bay Packers from woeful also-rans to champions. Here’s how he did it.
My review of Smarter, Faster, Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg.
Pointers to pieces by and about Ole Schou, Marc Lesser, Ramzi Rizk, Shel Kaphan, and Julie Wainwright.
Pointers to posts by Kate Nasser, Art Petty, Mary Jo Asmus, Tanveer Naseer, and Lolly Daskal.
Pointers to stories about Lucky Shot USA, JonnyPops, Sephora, PANTHERx Specialty Pharmacy, and ITT Technical Institutes.
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.