Executive Leadership

About 10 years ago, Jim McCann sent a memo to his technology staff. He wrote about corporate news and some online strategies for the business he founded, 1-800-Flowers.com. Minutes after emailing his memo, he noticed that one of the recipients had already replied. Opening the email, McCann was surprised to see that a newly hired tech employee had sent the memo back to the CEO with reams of corrections…

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At Zingerman’s Roadhouse, a popular Michigan restaurant, the weekly sales figures are not a big secret. All 50 em­­ployees gather to discuss the results—and brainstorm on how they can help each other exceed those numbers in the week ahead.

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A lot of leaders often have a hard time asking for feedback. Are you one of them?

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Stephen Poloz runs the Bank of Canada, the nation’s central bank. As a central banker, Poloz scrutinizes economic models to predict movements in the global financial system. But Poloz doesn’t just rely on data that he gleans from his computer screen. In addition to scanning models, graphs and economic indicators, he also gathers evidence by interviewing actual people.

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Ask yourself the three things T. Boone Pickens does … Beware the trappings of success … Be aware that leadership is just as important as ever.

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When David Cote became Honeywell’s CEO in 2002, it was in disarray. And so he listed 12 behaviors that he wanted everyone to follow. He felt that unifying the company around the be­­haviors would work better than articulating vague, hard-to-measure values.

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After years of steep losses, Thomas Cook Group earned a profit with Harriet Green at the helm. When she became the struggling British travel company’s CEO in July 2012, it was burning through cash. Her turnaround strategy: Make decisive decisions, quickly.

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To gather market intelligence and grapple with your industry’s ever-changing competitive landscape, you can’t sit at your desk. You need to expand your network and keep probing to learn more from others.

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When you’re climbing the corporate ladder, you may model yourself on your superior. But sometimes it’s better to stay true to yourself—even if that means developing a distinctly different style.

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In fielding highly charged emotional statements, your first goal is understanding and clarification. Your second is conveying that you care.

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