Weekend Leadership Reading:10/19/18

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Weekends are time when things slow down a little. Your weekend shouldn’t be two more regular work days. 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. This week there are articles about General Electric’s transformation and troubles.

From Greg Satell: How GE Got Disrupted

“The problem with GE, it appears, is that it has become a square-peg business in a round-hole world. It’s not that it’s gotten lazy, but that it invested heavily in getting better and better at things people care less and less about. That’s a problem we rarely talk about. We like to believe that success breeds more success, but the truth is that success often breeds failure.”

From Jeffrey Sonnenfeld: GE Whiz: If Only Flannery’s Ouster Was Unique

“I have studied CEO succession closely and systematically for 40 years—evidenced by my best seller book The Hero’s Farewell (Oxford University Press) and chaired Blue Ribbon Commissions of the National Association of Corporate Directors. In that research, I show that there is an entire category of CEO departure styles of such returns to glory I have termed ‘Generals.'”

From Jeffrey Immelt: How I Remade GE

“For the past 16 years GE has been undergoing the most consequential makeover in its history. We were a classic conglomerate. Now people are calling us a 125-year-old start-up—we’re a digital industrial company that’s defining the future of the internet of things.”

From Steve Blank: Why GE’s Jeff Immelt Lost His Job: Disruption and Activist Investors

“Instead of lean innovation programs, there is a mandate to cut $2 billion in expenses by the end of next year, lift profits, and raise the dividend. So what happened? Are lean innovation and the startup way a failure in large companies? In fact, what happened is activist investors.”

From James daSilva: GE’s lessons won’t determine whether you succeed or fail

“The early morning news on Monday that General Electric ousted CEO John Flannery was surprising to many of us, and it certainly matters to investors, analysts, employees and competitors (and probably historians). But does the success or failure of GE’s CEO really matter that much when it comes to how most of us lead, manage and plan each day? Not necessarily.”

Book Suggestions

Mapping Innovation: A Playbook for Navigating a Disruptive Age by Greg Satell

The Four Steps to the Epiphany by Steve Blank

The Lean Startup: How Today’s Entrepreneurs Use Continuous Innovation to Create Radically Successful Businesses by Eric Ries

The Innovator’s Dilemma: When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail by Clayton M. Christensen

Every week I share some recommendations of business books that I think are worth a look. Follow this link to the most recent list.

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