The Lead: Europe’s Copyright Laws, Apple Expands, WeWork Beyond the Workspace

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.

Europe’s New Copyright Rules

The European Parliament voted to approve copyright rule changes that make platforms such as YouTube responsible for copyright infringements committed by their users. Google voiced concerns by saying the new rules will “lead to legal uncertainty and will hurt Europe’s creative and digital economies.”

Our View: A passive approach to developing standards for big data is not a good option for industry or government. Complacency will not only discourage the innovation big data is capable of sparking but could also create real harm to people. The urgency in setting the ethics around big data is upon all leaders today. The challenge of protecting the privacy, health, safety, security, and sovereignty rights of the global community, all while encouraging growth and innovation, may seem insurmountable, but given the stakes, the conversations around setting appropriate standards need to take place. Even developing shared definitions for the new semantics surrounding big data analytics can go a long way in reaching common ground. Everyone can agree to have integrity, but if people define integrity too differently, it loses its value. Further Reading

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Apple Expands with New Services

In addition to the announcement of new iPads, Apple unveiled a big services push which will include updates to its video streaming, more video game offerings, a new credit card offering, and news subscription additions. Magazines (Time, Vogue, People, National Geographic, and others) will be available in Apple News. The news offering will also include digital subscriptions to news outlets like the Los Angeles Times, TheSkimm, and The Wall Street Journal. These announcements were made with an emphasis on Apple’s ideals of privacy, simplicity, and transparency.

Our View: Ensuring that company values align with its culture and strategy can seem like a big challenge for leaders. Testing your company’s values works best in challenging situations, because success isn’t always the best teacher. List a few of the most challenging situations your team has faced and your team’s response. Evaluate this further by asking if your company’s values helped make sense of what was done and why? Further Reading

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WeWork to Transform Beyond the Workplace

Formerly known as WeWork the co-working startup, The We Company is diving in to the booming business of “smart cities.” The firm is branding itself as an all-encompassing life-service platform and plans to build data-driven products and partnerships with cities and community groups with the hopes of creating better jobs, housing, and education. They will be leveraging rich data filtered from its members-only network of more than 400,000 WeWorkers and 18 years worth of information about how folks socialize offline from its purchase of Meetup, a platform used to organize online groups that host in-person events for people with similar interests.

Our View: To successfully grow an organization, leaders must optimize a wide variety of organizational aspects, including everything from implementing the right systems to developing the right skills. Strong financial management and robust market understanding are prerequisites to growth. Instill a mindset that embraces change and avoids assuming continued success simply because of past success. Complacency hinders growth. Further Reading

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McDonald’s Tech Acquisition

McDonald’s just made its largest deal in 20 years by purchasing the personalization and decision logic tech company Dynamic Yield to help personalize its drive-thru service. The fast food giant is updating its stores to incorporate new technology and prepare for delivery, and it plans to spend nearly $1 billion in upgrades (to about 2,000 U.S. locations) in 2019 alone.

Our View: Mergers and acquisitions can go beyond just growing your company to spurring real transformation. Leaders should utilize the vast body of research on best practices for successful M&A in order to manage investors, customers, employees, and all other stakeholders involved. The integration that occurs before, during, and after an acquisition all require special attention to stay ahead of the risks that inevitably come with change. While there isn’t a one-size-fits-all approach, there are guidelines available that help determine how to integrate. Sometimes preserving the target’s organizational autonomy (because of its skills, culture, or geographic distance) will make sense, while other times taking a more interdependent approach is ideal. Further Reading

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March Madness Morale

A recent research study showed that morale and motivation in the workplace receives a boost during March Madness. The study concluded that even non-sports fans perceived that March Madness provided more company outings and chances to socialize with coworkers.

Our View: Boosting employee morale starts with leaders who listen and keep an open dialogue with their team. Sometimes leaders need to be opportunistic and boost morale during the positive special events in order to build a reserve for the more challenging times. Employees are more apt to work harder for leaders that recognize and reward them. Further Reading

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