Roundup: Caught up

Continuing from Friday’s post, today we are going to finish up reviewing some of the blog and press activity of the past few weeks which touches on themes we expect to address here soon. Again, virtually all of this material is on my daily reading list, and I mention that here because I think it would make an immediately effective addition to the daily scan of any serious manager or student of management; I hope you will be persuaded and add some of this to yours. Please provide me your feedback, in any event.

Doers, directors and didactors. The Economist’s Schumpeter column is one to watch. Recently it has offered interesting insight into a growing movement by European directors and shareholders to influence corporate governance by splitting the roles of CEO and Chair of the Board among two people, rather than concentrating them in one as is more customary in the US. The governance issue will only continue to grow in visibility – especially in the US where there is so much duplicity regarding it – and this movement will grow as well. Watch for viewpoints and assessments like this one.

And speaking of advice, see this column from the series, touching on some of the marketing dynamics that drive so-called management gurus to make such ludicrous claims about their own “work.” The piece doesn’t go far enough, but it identifies and addresses the issue; you should, also.

Aristocrats and influence. I always read Peggy Noonan’s WSJ columns. She is insightful and combines a keen eye for the spirit of the times with an extraordinarily eloquent pen to identify and strike chords that originate deep in our cultural sub-consciousness, making them resonate powerfully into the light of day. But she also unapologetically yet awkwardly assumes the mantle of the intelligentsia, which, unfortunately, dissipates much of the force of her arguments. Please see this about “ranters” – yet another supposition that the political discourse of this country, which began with opponents accusing one of our founding fathers of using taxpayer money to import European prostitutes for his private enjoyment, as having somehow become unacceptably abusive lately. Then see this one about the callous children who “govern” us.

Job reports and headsets. Please see this piece, from Yahoo! Finance, about nine companies that have never laid off a single employee. You will find an interesting mix with some surprises. But the general explanation for this success in all of them? Alert and shrewd management. Imagine that. Now see this WSJ item reporting on GE’s efforts to retrain its top executives with games and studies of famous explorers so that these “leaders” can learn “humility” and “listening skills.” Even the press is being invited to witness this revolution, characterized with appropriate ineptness as the adoption of a “post-mortem headset.”

Culture, coherent chaos, clarity, and questions. Speaking of daily reading, here are some you should definitely add to yours: Cultural Offering provides a wide-ranging overview of matters small and large relating to societal and business culture – but whatever the dimension chosen, you will find valuable echoes in your own life and work. See, for example, this on confidence done right and gone bad, and this on illusory safety.

And speaking of wide-ranging scope, Eclecticity is a fascinatingly – and sometimes startingly – wild ride all around the landscape in which we live, with a secret unifying theme that you will define for yourself as you read. Aside from the site itself, some of the most edifying and enlightening sources I’ve found were first identified by the enigmatically omnipresent “E.” A must read.

On the other hand, Wally Bock is pretty focused: on management. And so are we, right? Well, we would be better at that if we not only read his site daily, but subscribed to it by email so we could enjoy his weekly newsletter, surely worth infinitely more than the subscription price. Easily one of the clearest-eyed and most effective writers in business and management today.

And for questions that will exercise your assumptions, you will want to read Miki Saxon’s Leadership Turn. She offers a range of intriguing challenges, images, riddles, and commentary that will force you to reexamine and become better acquainted with your own thinking. Another must-read.

Perspective. As an overseas American, part of my daily scan is of non-news and non-business sources, in order to try to maintain a sense of the atmosphere and attitudes at play in the States. For example, I used to read summaries of the late-night talk show monologues, until the shows became available here. But one source I recommend to anyone – whether American or not, whether in-country or not – is The Onion News Network. Items with titles like “Bomb squad member takes seven hours to open birthday present,” and “Scientists dissect co-worker to find out more about scientists” only hint at the superb radio, video, and print-news items offering striking, if not enlightening, perspectives on current events.

Okay: we’re caught up. See you tomorrow for something new!

Want to read articles from the Encyclopedia Britannica for free? Take a moment to scroll down the sidebar on the main site a bit: right below my current readings you will see a dynamically renewing box pointing to articles on capitalism from the Britannica. These are typically available only by paid subscription, but if you click through to an article from here, you will be able to read it for free. Try it!

And speaking of subscriptions, ours here are always free! Why not subscribe by email or RSS reader now?

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