The Lead: Uber Buys Bike-Share, Bias Suit for Harvard, Flint Water Safe

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Uber Buys Bike-Share Startup

When you open your Uber app in the near future, it may have more options, including multiple modes of transportation like bicycles and subway rides. In its continuing efforts to disrupt the transportation industry, Uber acquired the bike-share company Jump Bikes. Uber users in San Francisco already have the option to reserve bicycles from Jump Bikes within the Uber app, and Jump Bikes CEO even credits Uber’s relationship with them with boosting the use of his startup’s bicycles.

Our View: As the sharing economy transforms the way people commute and travel, leaders have the opportunity to create major positive reforms in transportation. PwC predicts that the five main sharing economy sectors will generate global revenues of $335 billion by 2025. The transportation sector is currently the largest sharing economy sector, and leaders should recognize its growing potential to impact their businesses. The standard SWOT analysis remains an excellent tool to analyze the ways that leaders can leverage their strengths to capitalize on opportunities and mitigate threats. Understanding your own individual and your organization’s traits can help you detail a comprehensive strategy and specific action items to address threats and opportunities. Further Reading

Bias Suit on Harvard University’s Admissions Policies

A suit filed by Asian-American students in 2014 claimed that Harvard University systematically discriminates against people of Asian backgrounds. The U.S. Department of Justice recently notified the judge of its “substantial interest” in the case and pressed her to not seal six years of Harvard’s admissions data, as the university was looking to do.

Our View: Transparency as a leadership trait can add value to relationships between a leader and team as a whole and with individuals within the team. When leaders make a commitment to transparency, their honesty and openness snowballs and creates greater amounts of candid expression throughout the wider company culture. People are more willing to work together and reach resolutions to problems faster when their leader’s intentions are clearly shared. To become more transparent, express yourself honestly and openly, keep your commitments, and stay consistent with your messaging. Finally, listen to feedback from others, make changes appropriately, and show appreciation for feedback regardless of your agreement with it. Further Reading

Michigan Declares Flint’s Water Safe to Drink

This week Michigan officials will no longer provide free bottled water to the city of Flint, because they said lead levels in the water there have not exceeded federal limits for about two years. When Flint’s mayor, Karen Weaver, was notified of the decision, she said “we did not cause the man-made water disaster, therefore adequate resources should continue being provided until the problem is fixed and all the lead and galvanized pipes have been replaced.” Flint residents can still obtain free water filters.

Our View: Good leaders are not defined by the mistakes they make. Instead, they are often defined by how they correct their mistakes and those of their team members. An excellent way to address your own mistakes and those of others are by asking the questions:

  1. Why did the mistake occur?
  2. How can the mistake be corrected?
  3. How can the mistake be transformed into a lesson to prevent future mistakes?

Further Reading

NASA Plans to Explore Mars with Robot Bees

NASA is working on developing “Marsbees” which are tiny sensor-studded, fast-moving robots that will fly around the surface of Mars to map its terrain, take air samples, and search for signs of life. The Marsbees were developed to be less expensive, more robust, and more flexible than past Mars mission ground-based rovers like the Pathfinder, Spirit, and Curiosity.

Our View: Great leaders learn from other great leaders across industries, and space exploration is a forward-looking industry with several great leaders to emulate. For example, Peggy Whitson is the NASA astronaut who set new record for the most cumulative time spend in space by any U.S. astronaut at 665 cumulative days. Ranked eighth on the all-time space endurance list, Whitson credits her success with being humble, determined, grateful, adaptable, and resilient in the face of the inevitable rejections that line the pathway to success. Further Reading

The Future of Healthcare

As recently as in the past three months, the healthcare industry is seeing significant disruption. Continued vertical integrations, mergers, and acquisitions and big tech companies joining the healthcare space, like Apple launching its Health Records platform, are making the healthcare industry a rapidly evolving landscape. According to data from EY, Fortune 500 companies spent more than $265 billion in healthcare costs in 2017 and the U.S. healthcare system wastes about $765 billion a year. An optimistic view of the future of healthcare and its digital disruption posits that healthcare organizations will be better able to meet consumer and employer demands with greater efficiency, but in order to reduce complexity and costs, organizations must evaluate their M&A and partnership strategy and also consider vertical integration with non-traditional M&A partnerships.

Our View: Agile companies are nimble organizations that disrupt or readily adapt to disruption and outpace their competitors. Organizational agility is defined as “the ability to quickly reconfigure strategy, structure, processes, people, and technology toward value-creating and value-protecting opportunities.” The journey to becoming an agile company involves these four stages: agile foundations, experimentation, scale-up, and continuous evolution. Further Reading

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