The Lead: Internet of Everything, Australia’s PM, Energy Harvesting Device

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.

The Internet of Everything

The Internet of Things or “smart” devices are popping up everywhere in our daily lives. They are pervasive and are now going well beyond smartphones and smartwatches. Engineers have developed printable metal tags made from patterns of copper foil printed onto paper-like materials that can be attached to plain objects to turn them into Internet of Things devices. Everything from water bottles to walls and doors can be attached to these metal tags which can also be made into control panels to remotely operate Wi-Fi speakers, smart lights, and other smart home appliances.

Our View: As the Internet of Things reaches new heights, so do the stakes. What ubiquitous connectivity means for humanity is a complex subject to grapple with. New security concerns arise, and with the advent of smart medical devices and smart cars, it is not an exaggeration that some security attacks could be life-threatening. Build trust with your consumers by establishing and following best practices for security. Further Reading

Australia’s New Prime Minister

Scott Morrison has become Australia’s new prime minister. Mr. Morrison, a former Tourism Australia official who started in parliament in 2007, won an internal ballot 45-40 over former Home Affairs Minister Peter Dutton. Australian politics are so turbulent, in part because elections come around every three years (two years less than in the UK). Not a single leader in recent times has succeeded in serving a full term as prime minister, and Morrison became PM after Australia’s former PM, Malcolm Turnbull, was ousted.

Our View: Leaders often have to manage diverse groups of thinkers that don’t always agree on everything. When the divides in thinking are too great, a leader must go back to their uniting vision that motivates people with a common cause. Promote common core values with a system of checks and balances that keeps everyone accountable regardless of their position. Educate your followers on why division is so harmful by sharing stories of failures from division in everything from sports to cities and countries. Finally, offer tools to help recognize and overcome division when it occurs. Further Reading

Energy Harvesting Devices

With the hope of keeping batteries out of landfills, researchers are looking to movement-based power. Creating sustainable energy sources from movements as basic as walking can be done with energy harvesting devices. Researchers from Penn State’s Materials Research Institute and the University of Utah have created one such device that’s wearable and can generate energy from the swing of an arm while walking or jogging to produce enough power to run a personal health monitoring system.

Our View: Environmental decisions that leaders make impact their business, consumers, community, and perhaps most obviously, the environment. Often times there are solutions to environmental challenges that are win-win and create a great “green” story that is both profitable and sustainable. Instill a win-win mindset in your team by asking questions like:

  1. Are there opportunities to more efficiently run our business by working with and gaining leverage from natural systems?
  2. Are there natural solutions to our business challenges?
  3. Can investments in maintaining, restoring, or mimicking nature’s systems create less expensive and more effective solutions to operational problems?
  4. Can these investments offer multiple opportunities, in terms of a benefit multiplier for local residents and regional communities, as well as for natural systems—in addition to a financial return on investment?

Further Reading

Tesla’s Stock Drops after Announcement on Twitter

When Elon Musk made an announcement on Twitter that there would be a buyout of the brand from a Saudi Arabian sovereign wealth fund, Tesla’s stock dropped. While the deal is now off of the table, the stock has dropped nearly 20% on the month. Analyst Joseph Spak from RBC Capital Markets wrote “Musk’s involvement in the company is critical, but now more than ever a solid #2 – someone with strong operational background that can help Tesla move from ideas to execution – is crucial.”

Our View: Who leaders surround themselves with has a profound impact on the quality and quantity of their work and more importantly, their ability to lead. Leaders should nurture their relationships with their mentors and their potential successors. Hire outside your comfort zone to take a chance on the best people that support and challenge you. Further Reading

AchieveForum Resources: Financial Services

Using New Vocabulary to Comprehend Rapid Changes

As the advancement of computers, the internet, and social media change our daily life and work, new words are invented and used so frequently that they become part of our common vocabulary. Writer Cameron Laux curated a list of 14 words and phrases that depict today’s environment and help provoke different ways of thinking. Hyperobject, woke, deletion, autofiction, and digital design ethics are just some of the items that made the list.

Our View: Language and leadership go hand in hand. Communication down to the finest detail of a particular word choice can be the difference in accurately demonstrating your intentions and vision versus creating a misunderstanding. While there isn’t a magic phrase to motivate your team and cultural differences can make word choice even trickier, use language that establishes common ground. Ray Carvey, executive vice president at Harvard Business Publishing, says “we’re connected by so many shared human experiences that enable us to live, grow and interact in universal ways. Whatever our industry, whatever our country [or] language, we all have to deal with the same business basics in order to run our companies successfully. It’s these common business situations and concerns that unite and move us forward.” Further Reading