Leadership Roundup: Never Swerve When Driving the Bus and More

A roundup of articles that caught my eye this week.

Never Swerve When Driving the Bus via @nytcorneroffice 
After this week's unexpected opportunity to discuss strategy with Autodesk CEO Carl Bass at the NAC3 meeting, I obviously did some googling. Corner Office is my favorite NYTimes column, so I'm not sure how I missed Adam Bryant's interview with Carl, but I'm glad I found it. Some of my favorite quotes from the article:
  • On setting direction: As C.E.O., you’re the one who’s driving the bus. And if you’re erratic while you’re driving, everyone gets pretty nauseous. It’s really important to be as clear as you possibly can be and not just wake up one day and say we’re going this way and the next day we’re going that way
  • On decisions: [I] try to be very clear about decisions, because there’s this built-in tension between hearing people’s opinions and people thinking everything’s a democracy. In some meetings, I will say upfront that this is my decision and my decision alone, but I want to hear your opinions.
  • On innovation: This is my current fascination: it’s this whole idea about keeping companies entrepreneurial and innovative and cutting-edge. I’ve been spending a lot more time trying to quantify or figure out if what we’re doing is right, or whether what we’re really doing is just celebrating the result of things that happened a while ago.

Is It Time to Rethink Your Pricing Strategy? via @mitsmr
Organizes pricing strategies based on two dimensions: price orientation and price setting.

Source: MIT Sloan Management Review

I don't want to overgeneralize, but I think the entire construction industry might be in the "white flag zone". Vertical and horizontal diversification may have significant potential impact on individual companies and the industry overall.

This is my favorite article of the week, mostly because of its link to the NYT article mentioned below. I don't believe that databases and algorithms alone will lead to better management. However, management is too often based on gut feeling, and will likely benefit from a dose of science.

Also see Google's Quest to Build a Better Boss, on Project Oxygen, Google's internal efforts to use data-mining and algorithms to improve management. via @nytimes & @nytcorneroffice

Small Firms Seeks Skilled Workers But Can't Find Any via @wsj
As we transition our practice, we struggle to maintain traditional construction knowledge while building new skillsets and processes. We are looking for unique combinations of skillsets, and as the article says, we don't necessarily have the resources (time or internal understanding) to train.

My short list: A programmer who understands construction processes, Revit workflows and the important of user experience. A trainer who can work with anyone, ranging from institutional clients to architects to superintendents. A MEP Manager who can set up the MAP database, price sheet metal and systematize coordination. (Seriously, I'm looking for all of those people right now! If that's even close to you, email me!)
This article is slow to start, but eventually, it builds the argument for the impact of 'motivational synchronicity',  where we are positively influenced by working near a highly motivated individual. The inverse of that is true - in fact, we perform worse after only 5 minutes of exposure to a negative colleague.
The impact of motivational synchronicity is arguably greatest in organizations that rely on creativity and problem solving to succeed...The people we work with shape our thoughts, influence our creative thinking and ultimately determine the quality of our work.
Motivational synchronicity is yet another critical factor to think about as we hire and structure teams.

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