7/8/12: Leadership Reading to Start Your Week

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Here are five choice articles from the business schools, the business press and major consulting firms to start off your work week. I'm pointing you to articles about the gamification debate, global IT and the future, frugal innovation, doing less, and putting things off.

From Deloitte Debates: Gamification: Should Business Take Games Seriously?
"Gamification—the application of game-design principles to non-game situations—is gaining traction among businesses that want to engage employees and customers. But can games help solve critical strategic challenges? And can they actually address serious business problems?"

Wally's Comment: I love the Deloitte Debates because they offer point and counterpoint on important issues and "gamification" is, as they say in social media land, "trending." I take that to mean that more and more people are talking about it. It's easy to become infected hype when that happens. So stock up on BS repellant and read "Gamification: Experts expect ‘game layers’ to expand in the future, with positive and negative results" from Pew and "Gamification: Why Playing Games Could Be the Next Big Thing for Business " from Wharton.

From Strategy + Business: The Global ICT 50: The Supply Side of Digitization
"The top 50 companies providing online IT and telecom hardware, software, and services are facing dramatic change and convergence. How they respond will transform life for the rest of us."

Wally's Comment: Olaf Acker, Florian Gröne, and Germar Schröder of Booz & Co. imagine us moving toward a world with "ubiquitous handheld devices, pervasive sensing apparatus, 'big data' analytics, digital supply chains, search engines, social networks, satellite-based geographic tracking, interconnected real-time digital infrastructure, and massive server farms" and call it "digitization." I guess that's better than calling it "macaroni." Whatever you want to call what's happening, the authors of this article describe it well.

From HBR: Frugal Innovation: Lessons from Carlos Ghosn, CEO, Renault-Nissan
"Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance, famously coined the term "frugal engineering" in 2006. He was impressed by Indian engineers' ability to innovate cost-effectively and quickly under severe resource constraints. And under Ghosn's leadership , Renault-Nissan has proactively embraced frugal engineering and become one of the world's leading producers of both electric cars as well as low-cost vehicles — two of the fastest growing and most promising market segments in the global automotive sector. Recently, in New York, we participated in a panel discussion organized by the Asia Society called "Jugaad Innovation: Reigniting American Ingenuity" (you can watch a video here). We were honored to have Ghosn as our key panelist. During the panel discussion, Ghosn explained that Western automakers must sacrifice the "bigger is better" R&D model and adapt to frugal engineering."

Wally's Comment: Before you read this piece, I suggest that you read "The Importance of Frugal Engineering" from Strategy + Business and "Use Jugaad to Innovate Faster, Cheaper, Better ."

From Kellogg: Do Less
"In looking at the great leaders of history—whether they are political leaders like Julius Caesar or business leaders like Steven P. Jobs—many people probably assume that they must have taken a particularly active role in running their organizations. Caesar, after all, personally led his troops into Gaul, and Jobs was famous for checking the design of even the smallest inner workings of every product at Apple.

Wally's Comment: This article is about the book, Do Nothing!: How to Stop Overmanaging and Become a Great Leader. When I first saw the title of this book, I decided that it was another of those "shocking titles" books. Some of them are excellent, like Bob Sutton's No Asshole Rule . Most are not within artillery range of excellent. At first, I didn't even look at the book.

Then Art Petty, whose advice I always consider, told me that this was a great book despite the title. And Bob Sutton endorsed the book heartily, both on the book jacket and in a blog post titled "Check-out J. Keith Murnighan's 'Do Nothing' for Strange and Fact-Based Advice ."

I suggest reading Bob's post and "J. Keith Murnighan: An interview by Bob Morris " to get an idea of where the value in the book may be for you. I found it in the arguments used and the studies that support them.

But caution: there are important things that great bosses do that you won't find here. Great bosses coach and help people build competence. The only coaches in this book coach basketball. Great bosses help team members succeed. That takes effort and attention. It's not something you can direct people to do while you pay attention to other things. 

From the Economist: In praise of procrastination
"Life is getting trickier for timewasters. Businesses that depend on just-in-time delivery cannot tolerate lateness. Stockmarkets trade millions of shares every minute. Twenty-four-hour news channels bombard us with information. Blogs and tweets provide a blizzard of instant comment. The situation is so dire that a quarter of Americans eat fast food every day."

Wally's Comment: I think one of the real arts of life today is understanding when speed is not necessary and may be dangerous. The Schumpeter columnist seems to agree. For another look at the good side of procrastination read "Procrastination Is Essential to Innovation " by my friends Whitney Johnson and Bob Moesta.

Carnivals, Lists, and Such

The latest Carnival of HR hosted at Blogging4Jobs

Studying individual leaders is a great way to learn about leadership. That's why my weekly post points you to posts by or about individual leaders. Last week I pointed you to posts by and about David Novak, Michael Sabia, Wolfson, Jeffrey Ashby, Richard Ketchum, and Niraj Shah.

If you enjoyed this post, you may want to check back on Wednesday when I select five excellent posts from the week's independent business blogs. Last week I highlighted posts on taking a holiday, taking charge of a group, humility, motivation, and some truths about being a boss.

"Leadership Training and Driver's Ed " was a popular post on my blog last week.

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.

If you're a boss, you should check out my Working Supervisor's Support Kit.

Wally's Working Supervisor's Support Kit is a collection of information and tools to help working supervisors do a better job. It's based on what Wally's learned in over twenty years of supervisory skills training. Click here to check it out.



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