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Getting a taste of leadership

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers

William Johnson, the man who oversees H.J. Heinz, the $10 billion food company, may taste 300 to 400 products in development during a given year.

But he’s usually the last person to taste a product, and he doesn’t even have a vote. “I’ve never believed in the rule of the ‘golden tongue,’” he says.

Ten years ago, when he stepped into CEO shoes, he thought that knowing how to execute and run the business would propel him to success. A couple of years into the stint, though, he realized that he needed to step back from operations.

When he did, he “really began to focus on leadership, on having the right people in the right place, and on making sure people were properly motivated, incentivized and directed.”

Weighing in on whether a mung bean drink (for the Indonesian market) tastes good enough for the Heinz label, then, no longer fit with the job description.

—Adapted from "You Have to Take a Risk," Richard M. Smith, Newsweek

 

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