Executive Leadership

Leaders solve problems. So, it should come as no great shock that
Barbara Kavovit, who owned her own construction company but wanted more
creative work, would hit on the idea of designing a tool kit for women. She got the notion while watching “Sex and the City” in 2001, when one
of the female characters wanted to put up curtains but didn’t know how.

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When the Royal Bank of Canada transferred Shelley Gunton and Brian
Connolly to Hong Kong in 1985, their beloved pointer-lab mix Joey
languished in quarantine for six months as a precaution against rabies.

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Ever wonder how military leaders persuade men and women to risk their lives? Here’s an excerpt from a “fight talk” Gen. George Patton gave troops before entering battle:

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People who work with former Secretary of State Colin Powell report that
he’s a perfect gentleman who’s always polite, attentive and civil. Yet,
he also drives people crazy with his laser-like focus on excellence. Powell himself admits that trait when he says: “Being responsible sometimes means pissing people off.”

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Judo lies at the heart of Ben Nighthorse Campbell’s leadership. That’s
because the sport required dogged self-discipline from a boy with a
troubled childhood who went on to become a U.S. senator.

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Psychologist Abraham Maslow organized human needs onto a pyramid, with
the most basic needs on the bottom and the most highly evolved on the
top. Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, from bottom to top:

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It sounds so easy: Expect high performance and you won’t be disappointed. Expect so-so performance and that’s what you’ll get. Reality
is more difficult to nail down. Start with these three practices to
define what you mean by higher performance, lay out how you expect your
people to attain it and inspire them to go for it:

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Chase your fears out into the open and pick them off, one by one.

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Leaders can develop tunnel vision about performance, so it’s important
not to lose sight of your role in conveying the meaning of your
organization. Here’s how your job helps people make sense of their own jobs beyond their paychecks:

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Want to win? It’s simple. Besides talent and laser-beam desire, you need something that racing
great Bobby Rahal sees in champions: a chip on the shoulder that says:
“You don’t think I can do it? Come out and take a shot at me.” Danica Patrick has that.

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