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Executive Leadership

George Stalk’s fiercely competitive spirit has helped companies around the world play to win … decisively. His gospel of continuous improvement in a “virtuous cycle” exhorts leaders to set the pace, never to rest on their laurels and to stretch out the life span of each product. Here are Stalk’s strategies:

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Every day is filled with interruptions, ringing phones and a flood of incoming information. Yet, certain events each day are different from everything else. They’re opportunities. Unless you’re on the lookout for them, they pass you by. To catch them:

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Private conversations alone can’t mobilize your people to execute a strategy. To initiate a conversation that matters, make sure it covers these bases:

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It wasn’t Babe Ruth’s ghost that the Boston Red Sox had to overcome. It was the curse of bad management.

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Every leader absorbs important lessons that propel him or her from follower to leader. Here are nuggets of wisdom that several celebrities say helped them reach the top:

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Last week, your right-hand person lost a million-dollar account, apparently because he failed to follow up after a customer complained. Do you forgive him or show him the door?

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Thomas Edison wanted smart, practical men to help run his empire of inventiveness. (As far as we know, he never hired a woman.) So, he devised a test to measure each applicant’s breadth of reading and knowledge.

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“Winnie the Pooh” creator A. A. Milne also wrote serious works of fiction. Yet, his greatest success came from the Pooh books he wrote for his son. Milne considered himself a failure because he didn’t achieve fame the way he wanted.

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Richard Fairbank was one of those people who saw beyond the conventional wisdom to an approach that not only built a new business, but a new way of doing business.

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The 9/11 Commission’s report on how the United States could have prevented the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon represents a masterpiece in organized thinking.

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