12/30/12: Leadership Reading to Start Your Week

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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 how aikido can make you a getter leader and myths of performance management. There are stories about the investors who bought Caribou Coffee, Ron Kase, cheerleading, hip bars, ThyssenKrupp, EDS, and the history of Silicon Valley, plus women's career success and the retirement of Ratan Tata, as well as surveys, studies, statistics, and lists. Be sure to look for dots that you can connect.


From Drew Hansen: Study Aikido To Become A Better Business Leader
"The Japanese martial art, aikido, keeps appearing in my life. First I read that Paulo Coelho, author of The Alchemist, studies aikido. Then I spoke to the director of Naropa’s Authentic Leadership program, and she said that an aikido master presents to the students. More recently I learned that Michael Gelb, the writer and personal development trainer, is a black belt. How does it apply to leadership?"

From Dr. Pietro Micheli: The Seven Myths of Performance Management
"There is plenty of advice on performance management, but, in practice, results are often disappointing. This is because we tend to make flawed assumptions -- it’s time for us to re-examine them."

Stories and Strategies from Real Life

From the Wall Street Journal: Trio Builds Consumer-Goods Empire
"When Caribou Coffee Co. agreed to be sold this week for $340 million, the coffeehouse operator entered the fold of a little-known company that three deal guys are building into a consumer-products powerhouse. The men—Peter Harf, Bart Becht and Olivier Goudet—manage the money of one of Germany's wealthiest families, the Reimann family. But rather than stick the funds in stocks, bonds or real-estate, as many family-money managers do, these men buy consumer-goods and fashion companies, most of which are far better known than the investors themselves."

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Landmark Credit Union CEO Ron Kase set for retirement
"When Ron Kase became manager of the old Chabelco Credit Union in 1973, he would stand and watch as customers drove into the parking lot. His goal: to visually assess the condition of the cars members were driving."

From Fortune: The business of cheer
"One company controls cheerleading. So how does it grow? By inventing a new sport."

From the LA Times: Cedd Moses operates some of the hippest bars in downtown L.A.
"Founder and chief executive of the 213 Nightlife Group, which operates some of hippest cocktail lounges in downtown Los Angeles, including Seven Grand Whiskey Bar, the Golden Gopher and the Broadway Bar. The bars owned by Cedd Moses, 52, are typically converted from dilapidated empty buildings. They have contributed to the revitalization of the downtown area and helped promote an emerging craft cocktail culture in Los Angeles."

From the NY Times: The Visual Workplace, and How to Build It
"In 2009, as part of a strategic plan, we decided to change our factory layout, which involved moving around our work groups. Rather than simply tell our employees about the plan, I decided to show them. I brought in my children’s Lego blocks and figures and arranged them into a model of our current factory floor. I even matched each Lego figure to a worker. Then I started to change the arrangement to simulate the new design."

From the Wall Street Journal: ThyssenKrupp CEO Stares Down History
"For more than a century, the names Thyssen and Krupp have symbolized Germany's industrial power and its cradle in the country's Ruhr Valley. These days, though, the combined ThyssenKrupp AG  is better known as a case of a managerial culture gone wrong."

From the Dallas Morning News: The lost legacy of EDS
"No homegrown company has done more to shape the business and civic landscape of North Texas than Electronic Data Systems. Founded 50 years ago by Ross Perot, EDS invented an industry — building and running data processing systems for other companies and organizations — and formed the cornerstone of the Perot family fortune. But the 21st century hasn’t been kind to EDS, now an anonymous part of the computer services division of Hewlett-Packard, based in California’s Silicon Valley. The EDS name has evaporated, and so has its legacy."

From Mike Cassidy: IBM RAMAC engineer Jack Clemens is among those who built Silicon Valley
"It's almost poetic that in the weeks since Jack Clemens died his family has spent some time talking about how he should be remembered. Clemens, you see, was all about memory, going back to San Jose in the 1950s when he was part of the IBM team developing the RAMAC, the precursor to the computer hard drives that we all rely on nearly every day."

Surveys and Studies and Statistics and Lists

From HR Morning: The Top 10 HR stories of 2012

From LeadershipNow: Best Leadership Books of 2012

From HREOnline's Leader Board: Top 12 for 2012

Women and Career Success

From Business Week: Why Mommy Can't Get Ahead
"While the sweep of women into office is encouraging to anyone who believes that Washington is badly in need of fresh ideas, not to mention a political class that better reflects the population at large, there’s one area where it’s unlikely to make a difference, at least in the near future: the workplace."

From Business Week: Why Stanford MBA Men Make So Much More Than Women
"The gender pay gap at Stanford’s Graduate School of Business has female graduates earning 79¢ on the male dollar, the widest discrepancy in earnings between men and women at any of the top 30 business schools, according to new research from Bloomberg Businessweek."

From Wharton: High-powered Women and Supportive Spouses: Who's in Charge, and of What?
"After their daughter Annie was born, Gail McGovern and her husband established what came to be known as the "kitchen calendar rule." At the time, McGovern worked for AT&T overseeing 10,000 employees; her husband ran a large unit of Hewlett-Packard. They both needed to travel regularly for work, but one of them also needed to be home for Annie."

From Fortune: Power women in business: Leadership highs and lows
"It was a year of major milestones -- and disappointments -- for female business power players. A look at some of the biggest leadership moves in 2012."

Ratan Tata Retires

From the NY Times: Ratan Tata, the Man Who Brought Tata to the World
"Ratan N. Tata, chairman of the Tata Group, retired Friday after over two decades at the helm of India’s largest business conglomerate."

From Narayana Murthy: Ratan Tata's legacy has many lessons for business leaders
"Ratan Tata is leaving behind "lessons enough for ages" after leading the Tata group for over two decades, Infosys cofounder N R Narayana Murthy said. The legacy of Tata, who retires as chairman of the group on Friday, is not just about the numbers but also the manner in which he has grown the business with a strong underpinning of values, he said. Murthy, the prime mover behind the growth of Infosys into a $7 billion (Rs 38,000 crore) software exporter, told ET NOW's Chandra R. Srikanth in an interview that the governments in New Delhi and Mumbai should seek Tata's counsel on accelerating economic reforms. Here are edited excerpts:"

From the Wall Street Journal: Ratan Tata Says Goodbye
"Ratan Tata, one of India's most respected corporate leaders and the driving force behind the world's cheapest car, retired Friday with words of caution for the Tata Group's nearly half a million employees."

From the Financial Times: Chai with the FT: Ratan Tata
"The story goes that, one wet monsoon evening, Ratan Tata – head of India’s largest conglomerate, one of the world’s most influential industrialists and a keen dog-lover – decreed that any strays outside the complex be allowed to shelter. Some have never left. The tale illustrates nicely why so many in India revere Tata, who at 74 is about to retire after more than two decades as chairman of the group, and whom I have come to meet for afternoon tea. He enjoys a perhaps unique status – part corporate titan, part secular living saint – a man with a reputation for decency and integrity in a country where traditional moorings are thought to have been undone by corruption and rapid economic growth."

From Mail Online India: Tata hangs up boots after a transformative innings
"Over the last 21 years, Ratan Naval Tata has transformed a slow-moving, loose confederation of disparate units into a cohesive whole."

From the Economist: Capitalism in India: Ratan Tata’s legacy
"India should learn from the career of its most powerful businessman."

From the Economist: A new boss at Tata: From pupil to master
"IN AUGUST, at one of his last shareholder meetings as the chairman of Tata Sons, Ratan Tata sat on a stage in Mumbai, dressed immaculately, chewing sweets and looking deeply uneasy as the audience flattered him. An ancient fan from Bengal blurted into a microphone: 'You are an icon.' A woman with thick glasses broke down, croaking: 'You’re the most refined, cultured, humble chairman.' To Mr Tata’s right, watching it all, was Cyrus Mistry, twirling a biro and wearing a poker face. On December 28th the 44-year-old Mr Mistry will take over as boss of the 144-year-old group. It is India’s largest conglomerate, with sales of $100 billion, just over half of those beyond India, spanning everything from outsourcing to steel, luxury cars and salt."

Studying individual leaders, like Ratan Tata, 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 Blair LaCorte, Bernard Lord, Brenda Barnes, Hoyt Jones, Shan Nair, Robert Murray, and Carol Bartz.

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 learning about leadership from Nuisance the Cat, dealing with expectations, a leadership meditation, the moment between, and why you should try a technology-free retreat.

"Remembering the Legendary Christmas Truces," "Lessons from the Stupid File," and "Thought Leadership " 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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