1/6/13: 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 leadership, start-ups, Starbucks, the entrepreneurial Murphy clan, the sharing economy, the paper industry, and industrial excellence and American manufacturing, as well as surveys, studies, statistics, and lists. Be sure to look for dots that you can connect.


From Business Week: Do MBAs Make Better CEOs?
"If an MBA should prepare students for anything, it’s running a company well. Plenty of research, however, claims that it doesn’t. But new research calls those findings into question, suggesting that MBAs are significantly less likely to be among the most ineffective corporate leaders."

From the Washington Post: What makes a great federal leader?
"E. Allan Lind is the James L. Vincent Distinguished Professor of Leadership at Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Lind’s research centers on leadership and global management issues. He spoke with Tom Fox, who writes the Washington Post’s   Federal Coach blog and is the vice president for leadership and innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. Fox also heads up the Partnership’s Center for Government Leadership."

From Chief Executive: Six Fundamentals Leaders Need for Global Success
"Right Management and Tucker International partnered on a study of 1,867 leaders of 13 nationalities to help multinational clients address the challenges of developing leaders with global responsibilities."

From Achim Nowak: 4 Ways to Change the Energy Conversation!
"We love to run personality profiles on our leaders. These profiles offer cognitive frameworks to help us better understand our behavior preferences and tendencies.  They may also, I fear, entirely miss the heart of the matter."

Stories and Strategies from Real Life

From the NY Times: A Wave of Start-Ups Helps Small Companies Outsource Their Tasks
"At the holiday season especially, small-business owners find themselves burdened by dozens of specialized tasks that need to be done. A number of start-ups are ready to help."

From the Boston Globe: Starbucks enters entrenched Vietnam coffee market
"Nghiem Ngoc Thuy has been slinging coffees to thirsty Vietnamese for 20 years in her colonial-style villa with peeling shutters, and she and her customers aren’t too worried that the imminent arrival of U.S. giant Starbucks will alter their time-tested coffee traditions."

From the Globe and Mail: Timbit Titan: The story behind PEI’s entrepreneurial Murphy clan
"In the fast-food industry, 'Tims is Canada’s great growth story,' restaurant consultant Doug Fisher says. But the Murphys are distinctive in how they have leveraged that story into something much, much bigger. They played central roles in the astounding rise of Tim Hortons Inc. as a Canadian fast-food icon, helping to take it from 130 stores when Danny Murphy signed on to more than 4,000 today."

From Inc: 10 Start-up Mistakes to Avoid in the New Year
"We asked 10 successful founders from the Young Entrepreneur Council to reveal which business mistakes taught them the most this year as they get ready for smarter growth in 2013. Here are there best answers."

From Arun Sundararajan: From Zipcar to the Sharing Economy
"Avis has taken an interesting (and bold) step by acquiring Zipcar, absorbing an innovative but struggling competitor at what is likely to be seen as a bargain price while acquiring a small but desirable customer base and gaining a foothold in the rapidly growing world of collaborative consumption."

From the LA Times: Reviving brands that aren't quite forgotten
"A growing group of entrepreneurs are bringing back product names – Clearly Canadian, Polaroid, Nuprin – that have fallen by the wayside, but that shoppers just might remember."

Industries and Analysis

From the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Paper Cuts
"Wisconsin's paper industry has long battled the threat of digital. Now, it faces a more potent one — the rise of China as a paper power. Can a signature Wisconsin industry survive?"

From the Economist: Corporate intelligence: The bloodhounds of capitalism
"SHERLOCK HOLMES once remarked that: 'It is my business to know what other people don’t know.' These days, detective work is a huge business. Thanks to globalisation, there is a lot that companies would like to know but don’t, such as: is our prospective partner in Jakarta a crook? Corporate detectives sniff out the facts, analyse them, share them with clients and pocket fat fees. Yet, oddly for a multi-billion-dollar industry devoted to discovering the truth, little is known about private investigators. So your correspondent took up his magnifying glass and set off in pursuit of the bloodhounds of capitalism."

Industrial Excellence and American Manufacturing

From INSEAD: What Makes Industrial Excellence?
"European managers reveal the strategies that put them ahead at the annual event created by INSEAD, WHU (Germany) and IESE (Spain)."

Under Some Surprises : "there were also several surprises in plant communications.  'We heard two presentations where the message was about wanting to reduce the amount and use of computers,' says Stephen Chick, Professor of Technology and Operations Management at INSEAD.  'One plant was talking about how they were trying to eliminate spreadsheet tools from the plant floor to get people to look at the data manually.'  According to Chick, there are growing complaints among managers that digital communications, such as emails, which were introduced to complement telephone chat, memos and meetings, are actually limiting interaction in the workplace.  'What they were finding was that these electronic forms of communications were actually slowing down the problem resolution process,' he says.  'And so, by talking with each other they were able to find solutions to those problems more quickly.'"

From Steve Lohr: Big Data Is Great, but Don’t Forget Intuition
"I’ve written about what is now being called Big Data a fair bit over the years, and I think it’s a powerful tool and an unstoppable trend. But a year-end column, I thought, might be a time for reflection, questions and qualms about this technology."

From the NY Times: High-Tech Factories Built to Be Engines of Innovation
"Companies that keep their research and manufacturing employees close together, where they can share information, might be more innovative than other businesses."

From BusinessWeek: Robot Workers: Coexistence Is Possible
"The robots are coming. Resistance is futile. From car factories to microprocessor plants to fulfillment warehouses, a single robot can now handle tasks that once took hundreds of man-hours to complete. This relentless march of automation is causing economic upheaval. As time goes on, companies will become more productive and more efficient, but the amount of human labor required will decrease and the pay will be less. The sentient worker will be reduced to a relic of a simpler age."

From the Wall Street Journal: Flextronics CEO Sees Hope for U.S. Production
"The CEO of Flextronics International Ltd., FLEX +0.95% a Singapore-based company that helped hundreds of firms move manufacturing of electronic parts and products to Asia, says it is getting 'easier to justify' production in the U.S."

See also: a short (3 min) video at Business without Borders: "The end of China manufacturing?"

From Industry Week: Can We Grow American Manufacturing?
"The old paradigm of being loyal to your customer, depending on a few large customers, and focusing all of your resources on improving your operational systems to reduce cost and waste, are not working."

Surveys and Studies and Statistics and Lists

From Wharton: The Lauder Global Business Insight Report 2013: Building Blocks for the Global Economy

From LeadershipNow:  Leadership Books for January 2013

From Jon Ingham: The HR Carnival Review of 2012 and into 2013

From HR Web Cafe: HR Web Cafe: 2012 "Best Of" Retrospective - Plus, a Peek Ahead

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 Mark Cuban, Ron Kase, Cedd Moses, Karen May, Ray LaHood, Sasha Johnson, Kathryn E. Giusti, and Danny Meyer.

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 empowering your team to throw things out, purposeful abandonment, being ready to make a difference, the one resolution you shouldn't make, and an alternative to goals.

"Feedback without Fear," "Hang on to the Great Ones," and "Life as Learning " 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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