Estée Lauder’s innovation-free secrets

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in Best-Practices Leadership,Leaders & Managers,Leadership Skills

“I’m hard pressed to think of a trend that [Estée] Lauder started,” writes fashion insider Grace Mirabella. Nonetheless, Mirabella heaps praise on Lauder’s unparalleled cosmetics empire.

How did Lauder achieve prominence without ever being on the leading edge of skin care?
  • She embodied “think globally, act locally.” Wherever a new counter for her products opened in a department store, Lauder flew in for the opening. In New York? Of course. In Moscow? Absolutely. You could count on her to greet the public and show salespeople how to sell what she made.
  • She merged society activities and business. Over the years, she invited numerous important people to join her for dinner at her table, which seated 30 guests. After dinner, she gave away samples. Most executives today would shun such intimate ties between society and businesses. Not Lauder; she capitalized on them.
  • She quickly followed the leaders. When she noticed a fledgling market for skin products for people with allergic and sensitive skin, for example, she launched her Clinique line and charged right past the innovators. She knew that her other leadership skills could be counted on to quickly close the gap and move her into the lead.
— Adapted from The Time 100: Time Magazine’s Most Important People of the 20th Century at www.time.com/time/time/time100.

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