Elon Musk of Tesla called it a 'reorg' but the chief executive's promised leadership shake-up was straight out of the 1980s © Bloomberg
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Welcome to the FT Business school newsletter, a weekly serving of management wisdom, reading recommendations and business-related challenges. FT subscribers can sign up here to receive the newsletter by email every Monday. If you have feedback about FT Business school, please email bschool@ft.com.

How to Lead

Laura Cha, the first female chair of Hong Kong Exchanges and Clearing, features in our weekly series How to Lead. Ms Cha talks about securing a future for HKEX as its rivals grow. In case you missed it, read last week's interview with Eventbrite's CEO Julia Hartz, who explains how she is building a global ticketing company through acquisitions.

Andrew Hill's challenge

The FT's management editor sets a weekly test of your business, strategy and management skills.

Elon Musk has told staff he is "flattening the management structure" at Tesla, but, as I point out in this week's column, the chief executive's planned "reorg" is about as conventional as they come. Flattening and delayering came into vogue in the 1980s and have barely gone out of fashion since. Studies even suggest flattening may be more about centralising power than delegating it.

Part of the problem is that we're still in thrall to the old fashioned organisation chart, and most ways of reimagining hierarchy default to a pyramid structure, so for my management challenge this week, send me new ways of visualising corporate structure. Freehand drawings or single slides (no long slide-decks, please) are welcome, as is a written description. You may get some inspiration from some of the bizarre and eccentric org charts readers sent in when I wrote about org charts in 2016. Send your new corporate architecture to bschool@ft.com.

Last week, I asked for your tips about organising your work. Peter Hahn suggested reliance on an old-fashioned list "on a small piece of paper that survives electronic distractions" (I would worry about how to find the piece of paper under other pieces of paper.) Jim Boere takes that a few steps further. He uses a project sheet to organise tasks, "categorised by project, the task name, priority, deadline, owner, description, % of completion, and next action. The next action becomes the next task name and so on, so that all tasks are listed in chronological order for the project".

In further reading,consultants Ron Harbour and Jim Schmidt have published a short but provocative piece of futurology at HBR.org, pointing out that automation is not the be-all and end-all of smart manufacturing, specifically automotive manufacturing. Processes have to change, too, if production lines are going to move forward. New "roads to the automotive Factory of the Future…will likely be paved with human invention", they write — a hopeful thought amid generalised gloom about the future of workers after the rise of the robots.

Professor's picks

Every week a business school professor or academic recommends useful FT articles.

Angela Gallo, Marie Curie research fellow on shadow banking, at Cass Business School selects:

Shadow banking grows to more than $45tn assets globally The annual release of the Financial Stability Board report renews attention on shadow banking (SB). Each time, it reminds us of two things.

First, that SB did not fade away with the financial crisis.The report tells us that SB activities are spread around the globe and even growing at a fast rate.

Second, more than 10 years after the crisis, we are still working on definitions of SB.

We often hear that post-crisis reforms have tackled the fragility of shadow banks and their risky interconnections with banks. The report reminds us that policy reforms are far from complete. 

Jonathan Moules's business school news

The Paris Institute of Political Studies, more commonly known as Sciences Po, was created in 1872 as an institution to create leaders for a bygone era of war between Europe’s great powers. However, it has been rejuvenated under its current leadership, former Canal Plus head, Frederic Mion, whom I met recently for an FT interview.

The need for reinvention in education goes much further than France’s grande ecoles. Digitisation and increasingly long lifespans are creating an opportunity for new, more flexible ways of teaching — offering ongoing learning to people who may need to top up their skills, or retrain for a career switch multiple times during their working life.

Some business schools have been better than others at doing this, and we will be featuring some of these in coming weeks in the pages of the FT.

Ask the academics

Got a question for leading business school experts? Send it to bschool@ft.com and we will publish the best replies in future newsletters.

Test your knowledge

How good is your grasp of the news? Test your reading of last week's top stories with the FirstFT quiz.

Edited by Wai Kwen Chan — bschool@ft.com

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