BCG - Sep 7, 2021
It’s Time for CFOs to Embrace Agile
Contrary to what skeptics believe, it‘s not necessary to go all in when applying agile methods. A selective approach can promote efficiency and effectiveness.
MIT Sloan Management Review ($) - Sep 28, 2021
The Digital Superpowers You Need to Thrive
Digital leaders are best positioned to meet disruptive challenges with innovation.
Bloomberg Businessweek ($) - Sep 21, 2021
In Amazon’s Flagship Fulfillment Center, the Machines Run the Show
At BFI4 outside Seattle, the retailer uses algorithms and robots to ship more than a million packages a day—vastly changing the jobs of humans in the process.
Fast Company ($) - Sep 28, 2021
Why it finally may be time to hire a Chief Leadership Officer
This former Apple exec makes the case for a new C-suite post that would prevent toxic workplaces and help employees feel empowered.
Interesting article on Xiaomi’s approach to exploring new business opportunities. In an effort to navigate a dynamic environment, they leverage a blend of corporate venturing and ecosystem development to make hundreds of strategic bets. It reminds me of Lowell Bryan’s portfolio of experiments, but it is actually a portfolio of third-party ventures. Really appreciate the level of experimentation, but, as the article states, time will tell its effectiveness.
HBR.org ($) - Sep 9, 2021
How Xiaomi Redefined What It Means to Be a Platform
Traditional platform businesses generally fall into one of two categories: Ecosystems, such as Apple’s App Store, which offer limited resources to a wide array of independently-run firms; and Corporate Venture Capital (CVC) companies, such as Intel Capital, which invest heavily into a small number of ventures that promise either financial or strategic returns.
MIT Sloan Management Review ($) - Aug 23, 2021
How to find and fix hidden factories
An ever-growing list of workarounds is weighing on your productivity and profits. Finding these hidden factories can get your systems running again.
Appreciated this article on how Flagship Pioneering (venture firm behind Moderna) leverages “emergent discovery” to create variants of an idea and then seeks to evolve each idea by always trying to learn more and to ask what’s possible. As they say, the theme behind the firm’s innovation process is not a “shots-on-goal” approach where 1 in 10 ideas are expected to be succcessful, but, rather, a desire for every exploration to be a learning experience. This article reminded me of one of my all-time favorite books, Erik Beinhocker’s “The Origin of Wealth” which was my first introduction to evolutionary economics. Both the article and Beinhocker’s book are worth reading to gain a real understanding of emergent discovery.
Harvard Business Review ($) - Sep 1, 2021
What Evolution Can Teach Us About Innovation
Many people believe that the process for achieving breakthrough innovations is chaotic, random, and unmanageable. But that view is flawed, the authors argue.
HBR.org ($) - Aug 24, 2021
Which Hybrid Work Model Is Best for Your Business?
As more and more employees have shown that they can successfully work remotely, leaders of large international organizations are rethinking how much work needs to be done in offices and how much can be done remotely.
This article is fascinating; possibly one of my favorites of the year so far. From research (with examples), the author constructs a two-sided definition of agility – the agility for “speed” AND the agility to go “slow”. The author explains why specific situations may warrant slowness for certain dimensions of their organization. For example, for some companies, they may want to preserve identity or to be known for a set of stable client offerings while other organizations are willing to quickly pivot their identity or reorient their offerings. Noting that I have only touched on the depth and breadth of this tantalizing article – and its accompanying frameworks, it is really a required read for curious management thinkers. I wish I could have applied these ideas to a failed merger to which I was an equally responsible party! It’s unfortunate that this scholarly article is behind a rather hefty paywall. I’ve linked to a video summary. In addition, the author, Christiane Prange, has a book called Agility.X: How Organizations Thrive in Unpredictable Times. The book may be a cheaper option even though I highly recommended a subscription to California Management Review!
California Management Review ($) - Jul 22, 2021
Agility as the Discovery of Slowness
How can companies avoid the agility acceleration trap and align their level of agility with environmental complexity to include reflection and slowness?
HBR.org ($) - Aug 13, 2021
Is Your Organization Surviving Change — or Thriving in It?
The single biggest challenge we face as teams, organizations, and a society at large is to adapt fast enough to match the increasing uncertainty and complexity around us. And since all indications are that increasing volatility, complexity, and rapid change is the new normal, organizations will need to find new ways to mobilize their employees to actively participate in gathering insights, creating solutions, and providing leadership.
As the world continues to explore more distributed models for business (ecosystems, virtual workspaces, factional workers, etc…), the domain of network graphs seem critical to the way that we approach and understand our organizations. The VIDEO at the bottom of this short, summary post is worth watching and studying. Pay special attention to the idea of trust and how it influences our need to convene, as well as the two concepts of “bonding” and “bridging” which inform who and how often our organizations will need to convene physically. With the move to more virtual models of doing business, much reflection is needed to rethink how best to create a corporate identity and a set of value-creating information flows that increase our value to both our customers and our employees.
Network Communities - Medium ($) - Aug 8, 2021
From Node to Link
Networks, Workspace, and Remote Working
McKinsey & Company - Aug 6, 2021
Much anew about ‘nudging’
Almost 15 years after introducing a critical choice-making framework, behavioral economists Cass Sunstein and Richard Thaler reflect on its continuing impact on business and society.
This post pits the idea of dialogic “what is possible” versus that of diagnostic “what is true” (which typically means – true to me – within the constructs of my understanding). I continue to spend more and more time thinking about how to reframe my thinking to always be about what’s possible, or possibly true, as opposed to framing within what I think is true. It’s very hard for me, but it has helped with my marriage, my kids, and my work! The post goes on to explore the needed attributes (generativity, narrative, and emergence) of change conversations from this perspective.
Culture Co-Lab - Medium ($) - Aug 3, 2021
Rethinking organisational development
There’s a real opportunity to create a movement of OD consultants and practitioners who are able to 1) help determine whether there is a technical problem or adaptive challenge 2) challenge the dominant mindset and the desire to solve an adaptive challenge with a technical solution and 3) embrace the opportunity for adaptively, iteratively, perpetually changing and learning.
I’m intrigued by the concept of “job sharing” – the idea of two part-time, but overlapping, employees doing one job. Seems like a great way to combine complementary on-the-job skills and/or personalities(!) while also providing flexibility to staff. This article discusses how Swiss companies have made a common practice out of what the author says was an idea that originated in the US!? As a leader, it is worth understanding job sharing. It seems to hold merit as employees look for balance in their work and non-work lives.
Fast Company ($) - Jul 29, 2021
Is job sharing the solution to our flexible work problems?
Job sharing can help protect against burnout, let employees explore their interests, help with retention, and give everyone the flexibility they crave. So why aren’t more companies doing it?
strategy+business ($) - Jul 29, 2021
The surprising link between creativity and risk
The squeaky wheels in your organization may also be important sources of innovation.
“Unsuck”, as in “not suck” the life out of everyone involved, is the term that this post uses as the podcasters dissect the critical elements of any group meeting. I found the honest dialog around each of the individual meeting elements to be on point and compelling. However, the time allotments provided at the end of the podcast are simply not possible – without a careful picking and choosing of what elements to include (which is my suggestion). Worth listening to for anyone who runs lots of meetings each day.
Brave New Work - Jul 27, 2021
Unsuck your next work meeting w/ Sam Spurlin
If we’ve said it once, we’ve said it a thousand times: Meetings are the worst. Instead of being a meaningful work tool to help teams strategize efficiently, meetings more often block things—anything—from actually getting done.
strategy+business ($) - Jul 27, 2021
Rethinking total reward strategies
Pay, incentives, and benefits haven’t significantly changed for decades, but people’s preferences have. Employee compensation needs a rethink if companies are to attract and retain talent.
Ryan Gosha ($) - Jul 22, 2021
The type of Redundancies NOT to be eliminated — A Side Note.
This is a general guide to post-pandemic business management.
McKinsey & Company - Jul 19, 2021
How Johnson & Johnson transformed its corporate business-technology operating model
Johnson & Johnson remodeled its technology–business partnership to elevate the employee experience.
Here is another article this week referencing an aspect of the decade long re-creation of Best Buy. Using remote work to grab our attention, this article describes the move toward ROWE (a results-only work environment) where worker autonomy is optimized by leveraging fully flexible work arrangements and structured negotiations between requestors and providers of work product (“both parties had to agree on a plan that balanced the urgency of the task and the reality of its executor’s workload”). The outcome was a shift from in-person surveillance to outcomes that reduced staff turnover. Unfortunately, the cultural experiment has since been reversed. We’ll see what happens. It’s a must-read for management aficionados!
The New Yorker - Jul 9, 2021
How to Achieve Sustainable Remote Work
Companies must move away from surveillance and visible busyness, and toward defined outcomes and trust.
Management Innovation is novel principles, processes, and practices that alter both the system and the way that organizations perform work
All Time Favorites
California Management Review ($) - Apr 1, 2008
McKinsey & Company - Apr 1, 2006
The idea of a Chief Leadership Officer seems so obvious after I read this post. It’s so hard for senior executives to give feedback to one another, especially for something as delicate as leadership behaviors. Imagine if an internal resource was given the permission to assess and develop the leadership capacity of the top team and beyond. It would need to be a very trusted advisor and gifted coach, but the rewards would be high. I like this idea.