Executive Leadership

Not only do real leaders never cheat, but they never take unfair advantage. That may raise eyebrows in an environment where businesspeople press
for every advantage, but petrochemical tycoon Jon Huntsman says that,
after negotiating a deal, both sides need to feel like winners … so
they’ll come back and do business together again.

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In The Republic, Plato
describes a group of prisoners who had been chained in a cave for so
long that they believed the shadows that played across its back wall
were reality. That sounds outlandish, but is it?

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Here’s one kind of fear that you want your people to feel: the fear that your organization will fail. The right and wrong ways to encourage that kind of fear:

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It looks like a chunky pepper grinder, but the world’s first pocket
calculator—mechanical, not electronic— came into this world only
through utter persistence.

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Male leaders can do a lot worse than getting in touch with their trendy “feminine side.” At least, that’s what a new study by management consulting firm Caliper
indicates. The research, which assessed 59 women leaders and compared
them with a representative sample of their male peers, pinpoints
women’s particular strengths. Namely:

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If a superstar leaves your employment, you’ll have to muddle through. Take some of the muddling out, with these steps:

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Even in grim circumstances, hope is what keeps leaders going. Certainly, that was the case for Lt. Bob Dole, who took a hit during
World War II and lost the use of his right arm.

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“Our keynote speaker just cancelled,” the caller says, “and we were
wondering if we could ask you to take her place. The problem is, we
need you to do it in three days.” Think you can’t give a top-notch speech on such short notice? You can if you take this approach:

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Famed mountain trapper Kit Carson once tried to rescue a captive, Mrs. James White, from some Apaches. Carson caught up with the natives who held her and might have been able
to save her, but his commander refused to let him attack. The commander
mistakenly thought the Apaches might want to negotiate.

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Coming to light after decades in the making, Bill Swanson’s flashes of
executive wisdom—compiled first on scraps of paper, then in PowerPoint
and finally in a booklet last year— have become an underground hit. Swanson’s Unwritten Rules of Management, by Raytheon’s CEO, offers these gems, with elaborations here by Swanson himself:

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