Weekly Newsletter: January 26

I collect articles from around the web for this weekly newsletter. It includes all the interesting things that I’ve seen over the week in management, leadership and strategy (plus any blog posts).

You can subscribe here.

This week in Leadership

How to Create a Shared Vision That Works
“This is a “how to” post – for leaders and team members who want to create a shared vision… This is the roadmap for the process I use to create a shared vision that not only inspires, but provides clarity on direction and ongoing guidelines for decision-making.”

Using Neuroscience to Boost Your Creativity
“That breakthrough idea you had that doubled sales? Your incredibly funny quip at the strategy meeting? Don’t get too full of yourself–you were probably just having a good day chemically… Shiv’s research focuses on the role neural structures play in decision making and economic behavior.”

The secret to creativity, intelligence and scientific thinking: Being able to make connections
“The image makes a clear point—that knowledge alone is not useful unless we can make connections between what we know. Whether you use the terms “knowledge” and “experience” to explain the difference or not, the concept itself is sound.”

Why Women Are More Effective Leaders Than Men
“What do women do that creates this difference in leadership effectiveness?… When we ask them to explain why women were perceived as more effective, what we frequently heard was, “In order to get the same recognition and rewards, I need to do twice as much, never make a mistake and constantly demonstrate my competence.”

7 Ways Leaders Maintain Their Composure in Difficult Times
“When leading – especially during times of uncertainty and adversity, crisis and change – you must avoid showing any signs of leadership immaturity or lack of preparedness that will make your employees feel unsafe and insecure.”

Why leadership-development programs fail
“We’ve talked with hundreds of chief executives about the struggle, observing both successful initiatives and ones that run into the sand. In the process, we’ve identified four of the most common mistakes. Here we explain some tips to overcome them.”


This week in Management

Study: Management Transparency Motivates Employees
“Management transparency is the top factor when determining employee happiness – (In the context of this survey, “employee happiness” is a concept similar to “employee engagement.” Suffice to say, employees in a positive mindset are generally more committed to an organization and therefore productive.)”

Does Your Company Make You a Better Person?
“The companies we call DDOs are, in fact, built around the simple but radical conviction that the organization can prosper only if its culture is designed from the ground up to enable ongoing development for all of its people. That is, a company can’t meet ever-greater business aspirations unless its people are constantly growing through doing their work.”

The cult of overwork
“But what happened on Wall Street is just an extreme version of what’s happened to so-called knowledge workers in general. Thirty years ago, the best-paid workers in the U.S. were much less likely to work long days than low-paid workers were. By 2006, the best paid were twice as likely to work long hours as the poorly paid, and the trend seems to be accelerating. A 2008 Harvard Business School survey of a thousand professionals found that ninety-four per cent worked fifty hours or more a week, and almost half worked in excess of sixty-five hours a week. Overwork has become a credential of prosperity.”

Is It Time to “Repot” Your Career?
“Fifty years ago, in his book Self-Renewal, John Gardner, the late former cabinet secretary… first described a career strategy he referred to as “repotting” as a way to stay engaged and innovative. The idea is that a career reboot not only helps prevent managers from staying in one position too long, being lulled into complacency or leadership fatigue, but that it also pushes leaders to keep learning, to see new challenges with a fresh perspective and ultimately find meaningful work that leaves a lasting legacy.”

Three Ways Your Company Can Attract the Right Talent
“We’ve all heard how brutal the competition for top talent is. But some companies, like Google and Apple, hardly have to try, because top performers are already desperate to work for them. “Their pull is irresistible,”… because they’re not recruiting talent – they’re attracting it. So how can your company draw in the best employees, even if you’re not as famous or sexy as the Silicon Valley giants?”

If You’ve Just Taken Over a Team, Quickly Let Underperformers Go
“The best way for a manager to be successful is to build a top-notch team. But when most managers take on new positions, they hesitate to act quickly in replacing poor performing incumbents. Months later, when reflecting on what they could have done differently, almost all of these managers say that they should have moved faster in making the tough “people calls.”

Thinking Outside the (Big) Box
“For every dollar of increased wages, one retailer that was studied by Fisher brought in $10 more in revenue. For more-understaffed stores in the study, the boost was as high as $28…Ton, however, argues that workers are not merely a cost; they can be a source of profit — a major one. A better-paid, better-trained worker, she argues, will be more eager to help customers; they’ll also be more eager to help their store sell to them.”


This week in Strategy

Five Questions Every Leader Should Ask About Organizational Design
“A few years ago Dave Ulrich, a management thought leader from the University of Michigan, made a comment I found both insightful and profound: “Every leader needs to have a model of organization design.” Typically a graphic depiction of the organizational components to be addressed in a redesign (for example, McKinsey’s 7S model, which includes strategy, structure, systems, staff, skills, and so on)… Dave didn’t advocate any particular design model, just one the leader knows how to employ and one flexible enough to be applied to the range of organizational situations a leader faces in the course of a career.”

The Power to Decide: What’s the point of all that data, anyway? It’s to make decisions.
“This anecdote suggests a way of understanding the era of “big data”—terabytes of information from sensors or social networks, new computer architectures, and clever software. But even supercharged data needs a job to do, and that job is always about a decision.”

Strengthen Your Strategic Thinking Muscles 
“Being more strategic doesn’t mean making decisions that affect the whole organization or allocating scarce budget dollars. It requires only that you put the smallest decision in the context of the organization’s broader goals. Nurturing a relationship, such as one that could provide unique insight into a supplier, a customer, or a competitor is highly strategic. Everyone has an opportunity to think more strategically.”

The choreography of design, treasure hunts, and hot dogs that have made Costco so successful
“Costco, the sixth largest retailer in the world, succeeds because of its adeptness in breaking the rules of retail common sense. Costco has no advertising for non-members, though contained in a vacuous space, they offer no signage, then when you check out they do not bag your purchase. On top of that, the Costco store contains a mere 3,600 SKUs… At Costco, if you want ketchup, you get just one choice, not 12. And all this comes with a membership fee; the shopper has to pay to even enter the store. But it works, and here’s why”

Do You Know What Makes Your Company Distinctive?
“Your customers determine your differentiator. I often hear large companies claim that “leadership” or “culture” is their differentiator. But customers do not buy these; they buy the products and services that result from a great culture/leadership. If you believe your culture is your differentiator, ask yourself, “What does your culture make possible that is of value to your customers?” Or, how does your leadership translate into something that customers would say sets you apart? Your answers will provide critical insights into your unique value.”


Management.Disrupted is a blog about management beyond the production line. Thoughts on better management, leadership and strategy for knowledge work from Steve Pell.

Visit the website at www.managementdisrupted.com or follow me on Twitter @stevepell.

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