Executive Leadership

Want to increase your visibility as a thought leader? A simple, low-cost way to gain influence on a global scale is to start a blog.

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Asked for the best advice he ever got, business magnate and financier T. Boone Pickens credits his grandma with counseling him to take the rap for his own failures.

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Tesla CEO Elon Musk had recently given shareholders a heads-up that he might be planning something risky. What followed was a statement that the company will be very lenient with others who wish to use its patented electric car technologies.

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In November 1942, Col. Curtis LeMay delivered a briefing to his World War II bomber pilots. He told them they would fly directly toward the target, maximizing the risk of German anti-aircraft fire. LeMay revealed that he would fly the lead bomber, and his willingness to make himself a focal point for enemy fire inspired the squadron.

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Management is a technology—a technology from the 1850s. Few 19th century technologies are still in use. And no matter how you cut it, management is designed purely to get compliance. So how to replace compliance with engagement?

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Gary Walters, athletic director at Princeton, oversaw the Ivy League school’s rise to excellence in sports since 1994. This month he will end his 20-year tenure.

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Avon executive Deborrah Himsel did not anticipate the flameout of her CEO, corporate superstar Andrea Jung. “If anyone seemed immune to failure, it was she,” Himsel says. Yet, multiple challenges at Avon—new business models, global strategies and technology—took Jung down.

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Basketball star Pete Maravich (1947-1988) revolutionized the game with his ball-handling skills. But it didn’t happen by accident: Pete’s father blazed his son’s path to greatness with great care.

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What behaviors make great ­leaders? “Integrity is so essential. People will only follow someone who has integrity,” says Al Bolea, who has enjoyed an exciting career in the oil and gas industry. Today, Bolea runs Applied ­Leadership Seminars in Big Lake, Alaska.

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The headquarters of SAS Institute doubles as a self-contained world of ­innovation. Housed on 300 acres in Cary, N.C., the tech giant’s campus offers its 14,000 em­ployees a chance to concentrate on ­creativity with a minimum of distractions.

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