Today we dispatched the November edition of our Leadership That Works Newsletter, a curated digest of the most fascinating leadership links to read right now, sent at the end of each month. In this month’s edition: the future of retail, how to learn empathy, why you should embrace discomfort, and more. As always, we’re sharing the articles from our newsletter here in case you’re not subscribed to our mailing list. (If you like what you see, you can sign up to receive our newsletter here).
The Beautiful, Giant Question
In this fascinating interview with Jim Collins, he explains that to truly understand and articulate your leadership philosophy, it helps to be guided by a “beautiful, giant question” that frames what matters most. Inspired by the grandeur of Peter Drucker’s approach to thinking bigger, Collins relates how he channeled that nobler spirit to define what fascinates him: how does one build a company that is great and lasting? Read the full interview here.
Kindness Isn’t Weakness
Almost half of today’s employees are afraid to show civility because they fear being taken advantage of. But it’s a false belief. In fact, civility is good for business and good for teams, according to this SmartBrief post. The good news? You can set standards around civility and model the behavior you want to see by following the guidelines provided here by civility expert and Georgetown professor, Chris Porath.
** For more on civility, explore Doug’s piece co-authored with Chris Porath in Harvard Business Review here.
The Future of Retail
“Online shopping is having an offline moment” as more companies that started in e-commerce are opening up brick-and-mortar stores, explains this thorough article in The Atlantic about why 2017 is a tipping point for retail. In the midst of what otherwise feels like a “retail apocalypse” with large, established retailers shuttering, e-commerce companies are realizing the value of storefronts. What does it all mean for the national economy and for the labor force? The Atlantic breaks down four major implications of these shifts here.
Empathy Can Be Learned
“Enlightened individuals understand that empathy correlates with performance” says Belinda Parmar, CEO of The Empathy Business, in this interesting Forbes interview. Many mistakenly think empathy means “being nice” but, organizationally, it actually refers to the “emotional impact a company has on its people” and creating an empathic culture is essential to getting the best results. Luckily, empathy can be practiced and learned; Parmar imparts actionable ways to nudge your organization towards empathy here.
**For more on transforming organizational culture with empathic leadership practices, explore our posts on the topic here, here, and here.
Boost Your Brain with the Best Books of 2017
Looking forward to catching up on some reading during your impending holiday break? No matter your area of interest, the editors of Strategy+Business have you covered with their expert picks for the best books of the year in this much anticipated annual list. In this master list, experienced writers expound on their top three reads from 2017 in Leadership, Strategy, Innovation, Economics, Narrative, Marketing, and Management. Jump to your favorite topic or explore the picks from all the categories. And, enjoy!
** For more expert picks on business books, explore Doug’s “Foundational Favorites” here.
7 Tips for Better Meetings
Meetings are an essential part of the modern workplace but they are too often mismanaged, time-wasting slogs. Understandably, the best leaders are always on the lookout for clear, usable guidelines for improving meetings. In this helpful post, Jesse Lyn Stoner offers seven simple best practices for more productive meetings. Tip #1? “Create a focused agenda.” Sure, it may seem obvious but even creating an agenda is so often overlooked.
**For more tips on better meetings, read our CEO Manifesto for Better Meetings here.
To Lead Creative Teams, Embrace Discomfort
Sandy Speicher, Partner in IDEO, shares some important insights about leading creative teams in this Quartz post. Speicher has seen firsthand that in the course of any creative project, there will be a time that will feel deeply uncomfortable. It’s usually the time when the creative people on your team must stitch all the disparate pieces together to make meaning; it’s the time for synthesis. Synthesis often inspires frustration and “disequilibrium.” But as tempting as it can be to jump in with a fix, as a leader, the best thing to do is, “acknowledge how hard this particular part of the work really is, ask them great questions” and allow them to flex their creative muscles to figure it out and get through it. By owning and embracing the discomfort, you can empower beautiful results.
**For more on getting good outcomes from hard circumstances, explore our post on how pressure makes you better here.
Enjoyed these links? Check out our recent link roundups from October, September, August. Explore our suite of leadership resources here. Or, join our mailing list here.
Ready to take your leadership to the next level? For an immersive and transformational leadership experience, apply to attend our leadership Boot Camp, taught personally by Doug Conant, here.
(Photo by Daria Shevtsova on Unsplash)