Weekly Pulse by William Meller | Week 27, 2022

The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.
The Weekly Pulse is my content curation and my highlights from readings, books, podcasts, insights, and everything I discovered during the week.

So, let’s go with some discoveries from the week!

#1 – What Leaders Really Do
#2 – Double Loop Learning in Organizations
#3 – Parenting: Who is it really for?
#4 – Revamping Your Business Through Digital Transformation
#5 – Is Your Company Actually Set Up to Support Your Strategy


What Leaders Really Do

Source: Harvard Business Review 
Author: John P. Kotter

Summary: They don’t make plans; they don’t solve problems; they don’t even organize people. What leaders really do is prepare organizations for change and help them cope as they struggle through it.

3 Highlights:

“… Management and leadership both involve deciding what needs to be done, creating networks of people to accomplish the agenda, and ensuring that the work actually gets done. Their work is complimentary, but each system of action goes about the tasks in different ways….

“… The most pernicious half-truth about leadership is that it’s just a matter of charisma and vision—you either have it or you don’t. The fact of the matter is that leadership skills are not innate. They can be acquired and honed. But first, you have to appreciate how they differ from management skills…

“… Management is about coping with complexity; it brings order and predictability to a situation. But that’s no longer enough to succeed, companies must be able to adapt to change. Leadership, then, is about learning how to cope with rapid change…” 

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Double Loop Learning in Organizations

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Chris Argyris

Summary: Why are employees reluctant to report to the top that one of their company’s products is a “loser” and why can’t the vice presidents of another company reveal to their president the spectacular lack of success of one of the company’s divisions? The inability to uncover errors and other unpleasant truths arises from faulty organizational learning. Such habits and attitudes, which allow a company to hide its problems, lead to rigidity and deterioration. 

3 Highlights:

“… The discovery of this formula and of the general principles upon which it is based has, of course, no emotive value…” 

“… The second comment I would make is that research on double-loop learning is in its infancy. To my knowledge, the experiment with the six presidents is the first of its kind anywhere. Also, apparently, there is no organization of any kind that has a full-fledged model that goes beyond Model II. We have to implant these new learning systems to see how we can ensure their take hold and grow. …” 

“… It is not easy to create organizations capable of double-loop learning, but it can be done…” 

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Parenting: Who is it really for?

Source: Sivers Website
Author: Derek Sivers

Summary: Derek Sivers shares how his life changed since his son was born and how his life changed doing e parenting things, things that are also for himself. And that’s an idea worth sharing.

3 Highlights:

“… Nobody else can play with us like this. Everyone else gets so bored. Of course, my adult mind wanders to all the other things we could be doing. But I let it go and return to that present focus.” 

“… By cultivating his long attention span, I’m cultivating my own. By entering his world, I’m letting go of my own, like meditation. By broadening his inputs, I’m broadening my own….” 

“… I thought I was being selfless. But actually, like most things we consider selfless, they benefit me as much as him...” 

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Revamping Your Business Through Digital Transformation

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review
Author: George Westerman and Didier Bonnet

Summary: There is no shortage of stories about companies that create amazing innovations with digital technology. By using mobile devices, social media, analytics and the cloud, savvy companies are transforming the way they do business. To gain the most business benefits from today’s digital technology, it pays to question key managerial assumptions.

3 Highlights:

“… Humans have their place in customer interactions. But not all interactions with humans are actually valuable to customers. At points where people simply serve as a customer interface or a vehicle for customizing services, customers may find it more convenient to interact with machines…” 

“… In the past, automation worked best for standardized, repetitive tasks. You needed people for tasks that involved manual dexterity, verbal comprehension, advanced visual discrimination, or unstructured conditions. But innovations such as IBM Watson, the Google self-driving car, and new flexible robots are redrawing the boundaries about what kinds of work can be automated. For instance, computers can now write corporate earnings previews and sports stories. Pharmacy automation has moved from identifying dangerous drug interactions to actually filling pill bottles, improving safety, and freeing employees for other tasks…” 

“… Transitioning to the new digital world does not necessarily require you to completely discard the old in favor of the new. The change is more subtle than that. Examining your strategic assets through a digital lens can help you identify which assets will keep their value, which ones won’t, and which ones you may be able to use in new ways. Look for ways to leverage assets that you have and that fast-moving digital startups do not. Then, use these to establish and grow your digital advantage…” 

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Is Your Company Actually Set Up to Support Your Strategy

Source: Harvard Business Review
Author: Eric Garton

Summary: For every company wrestling with evolutions in its strategy, success depends as much on matching the operating model to those evolutions as it does on the soundness of the strategy itself. Your operating model must define ways of working and behaviors that actually bring your company’s strategy to life. 

3 Highlights:

“… What high-performance behaviors are nonnegotiable, and how do you make sure that you’re enabling and reinforcing them? What is your approach to risk-taking, experimentation, testing, and learning? And finally, does the operating model support the company’s strategic mission with the right combination of people, process, technology, and tools?…” 

“… If your company’s promise to its customer is the lowest costs, is everyone focused on cost control? If your reputation is built on superb service, is everyone — not just the front line, but even back-office functions like accounting or legal or procurement —highly attuned to how they affect the customer experience? …” 

“… If your company’s operating model can’t deliver on your strategy, or needs to be upgraded to match the evolution of that strategy, start the redesign with your leadership team not by digging into the details, but by pulling up and agreeing on a few basic principles. Clarity and simplicity are the watchwords here.…” 

Access the full Weekly Pulse reading here >>


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