Rise of the Robots

Rise of the Robots: Technology and the Threat of a Jobless Future, Martin Ford, 2015.

This is an eye-opening book that is the recent winner of the Business Book of the Year 2015. It’s hard to put down for any of us working in the areas of career transition, leadership and economic growth.

Ford is an author and founder of a Silicon Valley-based software development firm committed to helping us see the tsunami of a “perfect storm” of accelerated technology, long-term unemployment and income disparity. He begins by taking us back in history to WWII and the impact automation technology had on individual employees – short-term losses with long-term benefits.

But it is very different now. Technology is accelerating so fast that humans have already been left behind. The surge in “information technology” or artificial intelligence in the form of robots, computers, iPhones, etc. is rapidly replacing highly skilled workers in all industries. Ford speaks directly to the impact of this on our college graduates and gives us a disturbing prediction on the future of their careers. Pick up the book and let me know what you think.

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TEDTalk. “Why We Have Too Few Women Leaders,” Sheryl Sandberg, 2010.

I’ve watched this first TEDTalk by Sheryl Sandberg several times and always enjoy learning something new. Sandberg is such an inspiration because she is talking about what many of us professional women have been experiencing for years – external gender cultural barriers and internal self-imposed barriers that continually impact us – often very subtly – as we move through our professional careers.

As COO of Facebook and past Google executive, Sandberg speaks from a wealth of experience both personally and professionally on these issues. She reminds us that no one ever got to a leadership position by sitting on the sidelines – and women often do.

So how do we shift these barriers? In this TED Talk, Sandberg gives us three powerful pieces of advice to get started. First, we must always “sit at the table”. Second, we need to make our partners our “full partners” at home and at work. Third, we need to be careful to not “leave before we leave”. Want to know more? Check out Sandberg’s TedTalk – it already has 5.952,700 views!

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Your Brain: 100 Things You Never Knew,

“Your Brain: 100 Things You Never Knew”, National Geographic Magazine (reissue), Produced by the National Geographic Society, Washington D.C. 2012.

I picked this National Geographic Magazine up in Whole Foods and have been intrigued by the wealth of information it contains. It hits all the aspects of brain function from the learning brain, to the unconscious brain to the emotional brain (my favorite). It hits the highlights of the surge of brain science studies and advancements and how this information helps us as leaders be far more effective when we understand how we can “retrain” our brains to embrace more positive thinking patterns.

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Association of Talent Development (ATD) TD Magazine

I’ve been an active member of our local and national chapter of the Association of Talent Development (ATD) (formerly ASTD) for years. Professional trainers, HR professionals and executive leadership coaches have always known that ATD is a wealth of knowledge and resources for internal and external leaders working to recruit, retain and engage top talent in their organizations.

I particularly like ATD’s monthly magazine – now called TD – which I save and refer back to frequently. The articles are excellent and provide the latest research and insights from the industry’s thought leaders. The focus is squarely on talent management and how training supports those initiatives. I’ve even been a contributor to their website ATD.org community of best practices blogs. Check this association out – it’s well worth it!

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Leadership Resource: Harvard Business Review Magazine (HBR)

I admit it – I’m not much of a magazine reader because I love the touch and feel of a real book. And I buy books all the time with the result that I have a large professional library. But when a speaker at the recent ATD conference recommended subscribing to HBR, I decided to pick up a copy at the airport on a recent trip.

This recent edition focuses on Leadership and has a number of excellent articles. I found the one on what makes an outstanding CEO fascinating. It was not surprising to me that the top CEO rated world-wide is from Denmark – the Scandinavians have always gotten it exactly right when it comes to the power of people and talent management. So I decided to subscribe to HBR and will share with you the insights I gain each month.

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