1/13/13: 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 the best companies for leaders, debunking the 100 day myth, Meg Whitman, thrift shops, Carnival Cruises, reviving brands, ice cream, Amancio Ortega, Lipton, the cost of e-books, disruption, and the future of medicine, as well as surveys, studies, statistics, and lists. Be sure to look for dots that you can connect.


From Chief Executive: 40 Best Companies for Leaders 2013
"Since 2005, Chief Executive has sought to identify the top global companies that seek to develop talent—beyond the CEO’s direct reports—with the view that every CEO, regardless of the size of the company he or she leads, can learn to be a better nurturer of talent and builder of teams. Few firms have the budget for a Crotonville, GE’s storied management retreat or Clay Street, P&G’s converted brewery in Cincinnati that former CEO A.G. Lafley once described as a combination think tank and playground. But the methods and principles of the companies ranked here can be scaled and applied to any firm wishing to hone a differentiator that will boost performance. Note also that we list the top ten private companies, most of which are much smaller than the global ones in the top publicly traded list."

From Douglas R. Conant: Your Employees Are Not Mind Readers
"As a leader, what do you want to accomplish? Do your employees know what needs to be done to reach that objective? Do they know how you expect them to behave? And — once they know the "what" and "how" — do you provide them with enough autonomy to get the job done in an effective and timely way? These are pragmatic business issues that all leaders encounter. Here are a few thoughts on how you can more effectively address these issues and reach your goals in an authentic and enduring way."

From BCG Perspectives: Debunking the Myths of the First 100 Days
"It’s tough at the top, and getting tougher. CEOs today have to operate in an unprecedentedly intricate and intense business environment, and newly installed CEOs are particularly hard-pressed. At any one time, 14 to 15 percent of CEOs are in their first year of office, and they face a challenging initiation."

Stories and Strategies from Real Life

From the NY Times: A Financial Service for People Fed Up With Banks
"An online banking start-up company called Simple offers free checking accounts and digital tools to people frustrated with typical banks."

From Business Week: Can Meg Whitman Reverse Hewlett-Packard's Free Fall?
"Before HP, no one had heard of inventing things in a garage and changing the world. 'HP is the model for the idea that as a startup you can become one of the biggest and most important companies,' says Leslie Berlin, the project historian for the Silicon Valley Archives at Stanford University. 'It’s an idea that’s still vitally important for the Valley.' Through the years, HP has shifted—not always nimbly, though usually successfully—from producing scientific tools to calculators to PCs to printers to data center gear. Hewlett and Packard mastered the balance of spending enough on R&D to come up with new products, while making lots of money on the old ones."

From the Star Tribune: New idea for thrift stores: new merchandise
"A secondhand-goods chain is creating a first in the thrift retail market -- a store with all new merchandise. Not gently used' in thrift-store parlance, but brand-new."

From the NY Times: Lipton Goes Back to Basics With a Tea Bag
"The tea company is spending an estimated $10 million to lure 20- and 30-year-olds to its black tea."

From the Miami Herald: After rough year, Carnival hopes for calmer waters
"The world’s largest cruise ship company has grown its business and generated profits over five years of ups and downs; executives are hoping for fewer downs in the future."

From the NY Times: For Some Dead Brands, a Tortuous Path to Resurrection
"Buying the rights to a name and restarting operations of a beloved brand requires years of dedication, say the owners of Chris-Craft, once the largest pleasure boat manufacturer in the United States."

From the Economist: Gelato University: Scoop!
"The ivory towers of ice cream"

From Forbes: How To Build A $100 Million Business In Two Years
"Two years ago, Meena Mansharamani, 48, began the task of introducing French food company Materne’s popular applesauce product to the U.S. market. The healthy, squeezable applesauce brand, known as GoGo squeeZ in North America, had limited distribution and $6 million in annual revenues. Today, it’s on shelves at Wal-Mart, Target, Whole Foods, Costco, Kroger and Publix, making $70 million in annual revenues on over $100 million of retail sales."

From Fortune: Meet Amancio Ortega: The third-richest man in the world
"After Gates and Slim comes Amancio Ortega, who built the world's largest fashion empire, Zara. He's difficult to know, impossible to interview, and incredibly secretive. An exclusive portrait."

Industries and Analysis

From the Christian Science Monitor: Why do e-books cost so much?
"E-books don't involve costs like paper, labor, and shipping, so why do they often cost more than their paperback counterparts? Here's the answer, and why e-book prices may be falling in the future.  "

From Scott Anthony: Disruptive Trends to Watch in 2013
"A generation ago, incumbents that struggled to respond to disruptive innovations had an excuse. The pattern that simple, convenient, low-priced solutions would grow from humble beginnings to create and transform industries had not yet been identified. Managers at companies like General Motors, Sears, and Eastman Kodak simply didn't have the tools to spot and respond to would-be disruptors. Today's leaders have no excuse."

From the NY Times: Students Rush to Web Classes, but Profits May Be Much Later
"New companies are partnering with universities to offer online courses, in an effort that could define the future of higher education — if anyone can figure out how to make money."

Surveys and Studies and Statistics and Lists

The January 2013 Leadership Development Carnival: Best of 2012 Edition hosted by Dan McCarthy

The Future of Medicine

From Forbes: Doctor 2.0: How Technology Will Transform Medicine In 2013
"You’ll never hear anyone – be it patient, provider, payer or health IT vendor – endorse a technology or policy that puts patient care second on the list of healthcare priorities. Never. What you will hear, however, is that if we don’t find ways to apply technology and best practices to address healthcare inefficiencies (and other government inefficiencies for that matter) and out of control costs then issues like the 'fiscal cliff' and 'debt ceiling' will continue to haunt U.S. government and the general public at large for the foreseeable future."

From the NY Times: For Second Opinion, Consult a Computer?
"Computer programs offer a backup for doctors facing tricky symptoms, but are still far from replacing a skilled diagnostician."

From Wharton: The Promise -- and Perils -- of Personalized Medicine
"Personalized medicine -- the ability to tailor therapies to patients' individual genetic characteristics -- has long been the holy grail of the life sciences industry. The effort has produced a string of recent successes, including a host of drugs targeted to people with specific genetic profiles, the European approval of the world's first gene therapy treatment, and a much-heralded leukemia treatment pioneered at Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) that uses tweaked versions of patients' own cells to eliminate their cancer. While these advances are certainly exciting for patients, they raise a host of ethical, legal and financial challenges that people working in the field will need to address before personalized medicine can become a thriving business."

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 G. J. Hart, Atul Kapadia, Meg Whitman, Rodney O'Neal, Michael Polk, and Larry Page. And, ten successful founders share the mistakes that taught them the most.

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 attitudes, keeping your team on track, full contact leadership, fighting stress with feedback and what to do when pushing harder doesn't work.

"How to Be a Better Boss" and "Great Bosses " 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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