Executive Leadership

In the late 1960s, Royal Dutch Shell hit a speed bump. The global oil giant suddenly struggled to forecast cash flows—a key element in budgeting and strategic planning. After a series of consultants failed to provide solutions, Shell looked internally for help. An eccentric manager named Pierre Wack stepped up.

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PayPal’s first product required the use of PalmPilots, which at the time were a global phenomenon. Millions of people around the world were hooked to their PalmPilots. Even though PayPal’s technology enabled PalmPilot users to beam money to each other, the product didn’t catch on. That’s because Peter Thiel and his team realized too late that they were pursuing a large, loosely knit market of customers with little in common.

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As a top executive at Merrill Lynch and TD Ameritrade, Joe Moglia’s employees viewed him as a supportive yet demanding boss who prodded them to excel. But Moglia gravitated to a career in finance only after abandoning a rewarding stint as a football coach. And then came the day when he decided to go back to the gridiron.

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Here are “five zeros” that will simplify your work.

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When leading a change campaign, there’s a sensible way you and your team can withstand forces beyond your control and keep advancing toward your goal.

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Here’s one of the most powerful tools to influence others’ behavior: Remember what they say.

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Some negotiators try to extract an extra concession at the last minute. If that happens, ask yourself, “Do I understand why they want this extra concession?”

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The vain attempt to be all things to all people continues to debilitate leaders and organizations.

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Every leader runs up against direct challenges. Some common ones threaten.

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For Brian Walker, leadership and inspiration go hand in hand. The CEO of Herman Miller wants the company’s roughly 5,700 employees to love their jobs, so he reminds his staff that the company’s goal is “to create a better world around you.”

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