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Executive Leadership

You can find lots of reasons to covet someone else’s position: The person who’s in it has burned out; you can do it better; it’s time for a change, etc. But sniping and politicking make you look like the last person who should get that job if it comes open. Here are two better ways to position yourself:

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Aside from his unearthly talent with a ball—“any kind of ball,” says a childhood friend—what made former New York Jets quarterback Joe Namath almost unstoppable on the gridiron was his toughness. It came from his three older brothers.

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Here’s the “doom loop” for new products: You’re out of touch with consumers. Your new-products people are tucked so far away in the organization that they wind up obsessing over technical problems and never seeing firsthand what customers want. Take these steps to avoid doom:

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By now, you’re probably sick of the wretched saga at Disney. Be that as it may, court testimony about the mess still offers lessons about precisely how not to confer and administer authority.

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Jack Stack invented the Great Game of Business, a form of open-book management that aims to persuade people to pull together with an ownership and growth mentality. Here, in a nutshell, are the Game’s main objectives:

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Both are important, but management and leadership are different, say experts Warren Bennis and Burt Nanus.

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Here’s a simple exercise that can help you derive more from your team. First, write down at random the names of any two people on your team. Then, ask these questions:

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Back in 1949, psychologist George Kingsley Zipf discovered the “Principle of Least Effort”: Most people, most of the time, are turned back by modest hurdles that they could overcome with only a little effort. Donald Trump consciously applies Zipf’s Principle (also known as “Ziff ’s Principle”) by negotiating in ways that take advantage of the other side’s laziness. Here’s how:

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Meet Mike Iaconelli. Not your everyday bass-fishing champion, “Ike” is from New Jersey, not somewhere in the South, and he listens to rap music, not Country. Even though Iaconelli has won only the 2003 Bassmaster Classic and an assortment of other prizes and sponsorships, he threatens to become the Tiger Woods of fishing and blast the sport beyond its staid, rural roots. Here’s what makes Ike a leader:

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Roger Hendrix, now a management consultant in Salt Lake City, served as mission president of a Mormon enclave in Chile in the early 1990s. He oversaw several hundred missionaries, mostly young men. Here are some communication lessons Hendrix learned:

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