Executive Leadership

When your people say, “We can’t change that,” what they mean is that it’s hard. Changing one thing would mean having to change something else. It might even lead to unintended consequences and a cascade of unanticipated problems.

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For John Foraker, image is everything. He has helped Annie’s Homegrown cultivate an appealing, healthy brand with consumers—and they’ve responded by buying his products with increasing fervor.

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Tom Voss ran a company with a poor safety ­rec­­ord and the status quo was ­­un­­acceptable. At the time, Voss was chief operating officer of Ameren, a utility company in the Midwest. He sought to overhaul the firm’s lax safety culture by hosting a meeting with 200 of his senior man­agers. To galvanize his audience, the normally soft-spoken Voss turned into an inspiring dynamo.

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As Richard Branson found, frustrating experiences can provide the basis for innovation. Once you identify a problem, muster the courage to implement a bold solution.

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After a long career as a retail executive, Joe Scarlett retired in 2007. But he didn’t let his decades of knowledge go to waste; instead, he established the Scarlett Leadership Institute to help executives develop as leaders.

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When he lived in Chicago, humorist David Sedaris went to a book signing and bought a hardcover that cost a lot of money. His interaction with the author was a wake-up call.

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At a football game, fans check the scoreboard to see whether their favorite team is winning or losing. Do your employees have an equally easy way to keep score?

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Only 9% of leaders say they’re satisfied with the way they spend time, according to a 2013 survey by ­McKinsey & Co. As for the rest of the executives polled—the ones who were less than satisfied—they fell into four time-management categories.

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If you and your colleagues use group texting, consider adding these rules to your social media policy.

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To foster teamwork, give employees a voice. Let them work together to make decisions and they’ll collaborate more freely.

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