Sam Walton opened his first Wal-Mart store in Rogers, Ark., in 1962,
the same year that far bigger retailers started Kmart, Woolco and
Target. Arkansas was so far off the beaten path, though, that Walton didn’t
attract much attention. At least, not until he came from behind and
pulled up nose to nose with the big boys. With the benefit of hindsight, it’s interesting to note how simple Walton’s success formula was:
Sometimes, a leader’s duty is simply to ensure the institution’s
survival. In the case of Queen Elizabeth II, her duty is to preserve
the British monarchy, an institution more than 10 centuries old. Also known as CEO of “the Firm,” Elizabeth accepted her duty as most of the world’s monarchies were crumbling away.
The difference between organizations that grow and those that die is leadership. Take some tips from the pros on smart growth.
Leaders in innovation change the rules of the game, says Karl Ronn, a
vice president at Procter & Gamble. His company’s change in
mind-set led its product developers to try switching from
chemistry-based to physics-based cleaning products. So far, P&G has
used this new stance to hit one home run: the Swiffer. Once you’ve changed the rules, use these three important benchmarks to test your innovations:
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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.
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: