Executive Leadership

Actor Paul Newman attributes his success to luck: the luck of having genes that gave him smarts, strong bones and good looks. But while that kind of luck may have helped him in his early days as an
actor after graduating “magna cum lager” from college, his later years
have composed an exercise in discipline.

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Tom Johnson—a capable, driven, highly successful exec—was having
trouble getting out of bed in the morning. With little warning, his
secretary would have to reschedule his appointments. The problem: Johnson, former publisher of The Los Angeles Times and later chief executive of CNN, was secretly suffering from chronic depression.

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When you stride up to a microphone, do you walk confidently or shuffle up with your head down? Here’s a technique that actors use to command attention:

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When you think about it, some CEOs are a lot like babies. Here’s what we mean:

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Even leaders have slumps. You can pull yourself out of one with a little wisdom and these tactics:

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The hard part of leading a creative team is deflecting ideas that are unrealistic, undeveloped or “not ready for prime time.” Take these critical steps:

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When the late Tim Russert was a teenager, his
father— known in his Buffalo, N.Y., neighborhood as Big Russ—got him a
summer job as a garbage collector. Here’s what Russert learned from his old man: “That everybody has a job to do and a contribution to make, and that no
matter how small that job may seem in the larger scheme of things, if
it’s worth doing at all, it’s worth doing well.” Here’s what leaders can take from Big Russ:

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eBay CEO and President Meg Whitman has five pieces of excellent advice
for you. They happen to be the best advice ever given to her.

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Illinois Budget Director John Filan was appointed in 2003 to whack back
the state’s $5 billion budget shortfall, and he’s done it without raising broad-based taxes. Instead, he shrank the number of state agencies by nearly a third, from
66 to 46, holding the number of state employees at 1970s levels. The
operational cost of government has gone down, while education grants
have gone up, and the state consolidated 22 data centers to five.

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In an annual review of 2004′s dumbest moments in business, these fine leaders came out on top:

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