9/16/12: 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 whether there is a female leadership style, creating a top performing leadership team, Electronic Arts, Chobani yogurt, and Apple as market leader.

From Kellogg Insight: Is There a Female Leadership Style? - Data suggests the answer is “Yes”
"In recent years, women have been making their way in ever-increasing numbers to the uppermost rungs of the corporate ladder, ascending to leadership positions once occupied almost exclusively by men. Women now hold more than 15 percent of corporate officer positions and board seats in Fortune 500 companies, up from about 9 percent of each 15 years ago, and 3 percent of CEO spots, up from one-fifth of one percent. With more and more women earning business degrees—over a third of MBAs awarded in the United States in 2010 went to women—that trend is likely not only to continue, but to accelerate. All of this got David Matsa, an assistant professor of finance at the Kellogg School of Management, wondering: will women at the top of the corporate world be different sorts of leaders than men are? And will those differences have any impact on the businesses they run."

Wally's Comment: What I liked about this article was that it's about an academic study analyzing whether there is a female leadership style. In other words, it's not a survey of a couple of dozen executives who are asked for their opinions about whether women lead differently than men or whether a female style is "better" or "worse" than a male style. Don't leave this topic without reading Anne Perschel's post, "Leadership and Gender – Why It Matters and How It's Changing ."

From Chief Executive: Creating a Top-Performing Team: Leadership Development for Tomorrow’s Corporations
"Billions of dollars are spent annually on leadership development programs – $171.5 billion by U.S. businesses in 2010, the most recent year for which data is available, according to the American Society for Training and Development. That’s an average of $1,228 per employee, but virtually all of this investment is spent on the same formulaic training model and black-and-white metrics. With their focus almost exclusively on classroom learning and lockstep generic curriculums, these dinosaurs of training simply don’t have what it takes to develop the next generation of leaders, managers and employees."

Wally's Comment: This article, by Marcus Buckingham, is a good survey of how leadership development looks in most places today and how it might be more effectively different. For another look at the same topic, check out "The Future of Leadership Development " by Dan McCarthy.

From Fortune: What Electronic Arts is doing right
"Since the early days of gaming, Electronic Arts (EA) has established itself as one of the few "major" video game publishers. The company sits alongside Call of Duty creator Activision Blizzard (ATVI) and Grand Theft Auto maker Take-Two Interactive (TTWO) at the top of the video game heap. Those companies are at once beloved by gamers who enjoy their titles and despised by many in the so-called "hardcore" segment of players that distrust their big, brooding business models. But EA is slowly but surely becoming, well, different. It's still a traditional game maker that pushes out titles for consoles and portables, but it has found a way to take advantage of a new, growing business model: digital."

Wally's Comment: Five years ago, Larry Probst left the CEO job at Electronic Arts after sixteen years because he said it was time for a change. This article above analyzes what's happened since then. The Wall Street Journal captured Probst's thoughts in 2007 in "Reflections of a Game Guy ."

From the Financial Post: Chobani greek yogurt founder now a billionaire
"A shuttered plant, a small business loan and Americans’ growing taste for Greek-style yogurt combined to make 40-year-old Turkish immigrant Hamdi Ulukaya a billionaire."

Wally's Comment: For another look at the Chobani story, read Sarah Needleman's article in the Wall Street Journal from earlier this year: "Old Factory, Snap Decision Spawn Greek-Yogurt Craze ."

From the Globe and Mail: Apple at the summit: The trouble with being No. 1
"In just a few years, the technology industry’s most revolutionary company has become its most conventional. The Apple Inc. that late CEO Steve Jobs set on a course of domination a decade ago had every reason to think in revolutionary, even dangerous, terms. Far from the world’s most valuable company, that Apple was a niche player, only a few years removed from a flirtation with bankruptcy. It could afford to bet the farm on products such as the iPod and iPhone – products that at first received mixed reviews in large part because nobody understood yet why they wanted them. Those bets, audacious as they were, paid off in ways even Mr. Jobs couldn’t have imagined."

Wally's Comment: When I read this, I immediately thought of Clayton Christensen's book, The Innovator's Dilemma. For some superb coverage of Apple, its strategy and its future, I like Horace Dediu's Critical Path Blog. Here's a pointer to his post on the introduction of the iPhone 5: "Moving the Ball Forward ."

Carnivals, Lists, and Such

Carnival of HR hosted at True Faith HR

TED Talk: Scott Fraser: Why eyewitnesses get it wrong

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 Ben Lerer, Derek Oland, Richard L. Gelfond, and Mickey Drexler (another Bronx Science graduate).

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 increasing your influence, giving advice (or not), recognition, and improving team performance.

"Murphy and the New Boss" and "The Most Potent Reward " were popular posts 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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