Weekend Leadership Reading: 3/12/21

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Weekends are time when things slow down a little. Your weekend shouldn’t be two more regular workdays. That’s a sure road to burnout. Take time to refresh yourself. Take time for something different. Take time for some of that reading you can’t find time for during the week. Here are choice articles on hot leadership topics culled from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms.

From Bain: The Last Straw for US Higher Education—and a Moment for Reinvention

“Covid-19’s disruption is more abrupt, severe and universal than anything US colleges and universities have experienced. In a matter of weeks, the pandemic forced a shift to remote instruction and administration, shattering perceptions of what’s possible for learning and academic operations. Taking a longer view, the sweeping changes in student needs, funding and the role of the physical campus underscore trends that have been brewing for more than a decade. Consequently, the pandemic is pushing many institutions toward a financial precipice. They will need to take extreme steps to maintain economic viability in the near term, and they must innovate to survive over the longer term.”

From Brigadier General (Ret.) Becky Halstead and Brigadier General (Ret.) Maureen LeBoeuf: Creating, Sharing and Living a Leader Philosophy

“A leadership philosophy is the key tool for leaders to share their core identity with the people they lead and with whom they work. It is their written ‘handshake’ with the organization—a way for leaders to share with people what is expected of them and what the team members, in turn, can expect from the leader. Leaders have benefited from taking the time to develop and update this tool as part of their leadership journey. The resulting transparency impacts organizational culture. By living and leading with a leadership philosophy, leaders can better inspire others around them and set the conditions for the success of individuals, teams, and the organization.”

From INSEAD: Cooking Up a Creative Community

“Covid-19 continues to leave its mark on business, in seemingly conflicting ways. On the one hand, by disrupting the competitive landscape in many industries, the pandemic has made executives believe erroneously that creativity and innovation belong on the shelf in a tightly lidded box labelled ‘for normal times’. On the other, it has prompted a mass exodus from physical offices and fundamental changes in consumer habits that may prove irrevocable. These latter trends require organisations to amp up their capacities for adaptation and innovation. Thinking creatively was already part of more than 99 percent of occupations a decade ago[1]; to survive the pandemic and beyond, firms must adapt their creative collaboration routines to the remote-working and online-consuming context.”

From Adam Grant: Persuading the Unpersuadable

“The legend of Steve Jobs is that he transformed our lives with the strength of his convictions. The key to his greatness, the story goes, was his ability to bend the world to his vision. The reality is that much of Apple’s success came from his team’s pushing him to rethink his positions. If Jobs hadn’t surrounded himself with people who knew how to change his mind, he might not have changed the world.”

From McKinsey & Company: Transformation in uncertain times: Tackling both the urgent and the important

“A sprint-based transformation approach can help organizations achieve full potential.”

From the London School of Economics: The new Leviathan is an autonomous digital machine

“Leviathan, a mythical creature in Judaism, was used by philosopher Thomas Hobbes to symbolise the rule of law standing above all other human powers. Szymon Wróbel writes that the automation of technology risks becoming a new Leviathan. As autonomous technology removes humans from interactions or transactions loops, a political economy running on asymmetries of information as a form of control is being born before our eyes. The new ruling class owns neither land or factories but instead owns the algorithms with which information is gathered and used.”

Every Monday, I do a blog post about business reading and business books. Follow this link to recent recommendations of books for business leaders.

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