Leadership Reading to Start Your Week: 9/28/14

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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 four Rs of high-stakes decision making, the future of banking, why innovation and start-ups are thriving in “flyover country,” the business case for diversity in the tech industry, and how to prepare for the future of work.

Enjoy these fifteen articles from fouteen publications. 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 Robert Sher: The Danger Of Messing With A Good Business Strategy

“Trying to fix something that’s not broken could cost your company heavily in the long run.”

From C. J. Prince: Act Like a Startup: Five Lessons Bigger-Company CEOs Can Learn From Entrepreneurs

“If you want to stave off obsolescence, act like a startup. Or at least that’s what the innovation gurus and management consultants often advise.”

From Eric J. McNulty: The Four Rs of High-Stakes Decision Making

“Decisiveness is often cited as a desirable trait in leaders. Definitions of decisive include ‘having the power to decide; conclusive’ and ‘characterized by decision and firmness; resolute.’ Yes, a leader must make decisions, but effectiveness depends on when and how the decision is made, not just that it was made.”

Industries and Analysis

From Rick Romell: Where have all the florists gone?

“It’s pretty and it smells good, but running a flower shop has become one tough business.”

From Marco Albani, Nicolas Denis, and Anna Granskog: Can bioenergy replace coal?

“Europe wants 27 percent of its energy to come from renewable sources by 2030. Bioenergy has the potential to help the continent reach that goal, but it requires an industry comeback.”

From the Economist: The future of banking: You’re boring. Get used to it

“Big banks have changed a lot, but there is more restructuring to come.”

Innovations and Technology

From Jason Bloomberg: Innovation: The Flip Side of Resilience

“Resilience was a hot topic at last week’s O’Reilly Velocity conference, and the topic was hottest during the keynote and subsequent interview by David Woods, Professor of Cognitive Systems Engineering and Human Systems Integration at The Ohio State University.”

From Rowan Gibson: Organizing for Radical Innovation

“What is the best way to organize a company’s resources for radical innovation? One thing is clear: it requires a distinctly different approach – as well as different organizational structures – compared to incremental innovation.”

From Steve Case: Why innovation and start-ups are thriving in ‘flyover country’

“There are two prevailing perceptions about innovation and start-ups: first, they are all tech driven, and second, they originate from just a few regions — chief among them, Silicon Valley. I’ve seen firsthand that innovation can happen anywhere, and that it is accelerating in places that typically don’t grab headlines. And I have met hundreds of entrepreneurs living in cities in ‘flyover country’ that are building great companies and creating jobs in a wide range of industries.”

Women and the Workplace

From NBC: How Women Give Business The Competitive Edge

“For some companies, improving gender balance is about social responsibility, for others it’s about compliance and avoiding lawsuits, but what many businesses already know, and what many more are coming to understand, is that having women at the table is a bottom line, business imperative.”

From Caroline Fairchild: More women business leaders does not mean more power

“A new report by Credit Suisse reveals that despite an increase in female business leaders, women executives remain in support roles — keeping the bulk of corporate power in male hands.”

From Farhad Manjoo: The Business Case for Diversity in the Tech Industry

“Why does Google want diversity? White and Asian men make up the bulk of American software engineering graduates, and Google, like other tech giants, has done extremely well hiring from that pool. If a lack of diversity hasn’t hurt Google so far, why alter how the company works, apparently for reasons of political correctness.”

Work and Learning Now and in the Future

From Owen P. Hall, Jr: To MOOC or not to MOOC, is that the Question?

“The role of Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) in management education is growing rapidly. These developments are part of the educational communities’ response to exorbitant tuitions, tightening budgets, limited class availability, and globalization. What are MOOCs and how can they help? Basically a MOOC, a recent development in distance learning, is a web-based course designed to provide ‘free’ intellectual content on a global basis. A SOOC (Small Open Online Course) represents an important variation of a MOOC. Typically, SOOCs include direct instructor participation, but are still distributed on a wide-scale basis, albeit with smaller class sizes.”

From Evan Selinger: Can Predictive Technology Make Us Less Predictable?

“In everyday life, predictability is associated with consistency. In many cases consistency is a good thing. If your friends are so reliable that you can confidently predict they’ll stay loyal and true, you’re in with a good crowd. If you can predict how long it will take you to drive to work, you can reliably arrive on time without needing to get up earlier than necessary or feeling rushed.”

From Heather R. Huhman: How to Prepare for the Future of Work

“As employers prepare for the future of the workforce, they will face more challenges, according to a new study released earlier this month of 2,700 business leaders and 2,700 employees across the world, compiled by Oxford Economics and SAP.”

More Leadership Posts from Wally Bock

Take this self-test on your readiness to lead

Here’s a quick, three-question self-test to help you decide if you want to pursue a career as a boss.

By and About Leaders: 9/23/14

Pointers to pieces by and about Phil Knight, Tim Cook, Edward J. Quilty, Carlos Cardoso, and Steven Mollenkopf.

From the Independent Business Blogs: 9/24/14

Pointers to posts by Lolly Daskal, Les Hayman, Chris Edmonds, Mary Jo Asmus, and Lisa Rosendahl.

Stories and Strategies from Real Life: 9/26/14

Pointers to stories about Microsoft, Huawei, Kroger, entrepreneurs, and Music Mastermind


Thanks for Robert Jeffrey for recommending this blog as a curator of leadership articles in his article “Which leadership gurus are worth reading?

Thanks to SmartBrief for their pickup of my post “3 Things I wish I had learned sooner.

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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