Brent Peterson learned a sad lesson at a food truck. One day, he only had $5. He figured that wouldn’t be enough for Indian cuisine, so he was ready to keep walking when the food truck’s proprietor stopped him …
Top executives often take up hobbies such as golf and sailing. But Mark Hellerstein is probably the only CEO who is also a professional ventriloquist. Hellerstein served as chief executive of St. Mary Land & Exploration Co. from 1995 to 2007. During that time, the oil and gas firm—now known as SM Energy Co.—grew from an $80 million private company to a $2.5 billion public company.
Many leaders pride themselves on their ability to listen. But to listen well, you must do more than concentrate on what you hear: You need to ask smart questions. Follow these steps to extract more information through probing.
Never happy with convention, Steve Jobs created Apple University to mold MBAs in his company’s image. His first hire was Joel Podolny, dean of the Yale School of Management. Podolny then hired Harvard University’s Richard Tedlow, a leading business historian. Now Apple has hired Morten Hansen, co-author of Great by Choice.
There’s new thinking about sponsorships. Consider how music innovator Will.i.am is helping corporate America figure this out.
In the 1920s, Alfred Sloan ran General Motors. When he convened his management team to explore whether to open a plant abroad, they all approved the move. Sloan replied that he wouldn’t make a decision until he heard some disagreement. He wanted the best judgments to flow from clashing viewpoints.
When Jeffrey Hayzlett took over as Kodak’s chief marketing officer, he didn’t know much about the founding father of the company, George Eastman. What he learned gradually, by raiding the archives and reading everything that Eastman had written, was that Eastman had been a change agent.
Arthur Ochs “Punch” Sulzberger, former publisher of The New York Times who died in 2012, had not been an obvious choice as leader. Mild-mannered, introverted and modest, Sulzberger remained modest even after great success in the family business.
Chuck Yeager turned 90 in February but refuses to slow down. “While I’m not gonna run no marathon, I still hunt and fish and fly,” says the guy who broke the speed of sound with a rocket plane in 1947.
In 1986, Richard Manoogian was CEO of Masco, a maker of faucets and household products that had produced 29 straight years of earnings growth. The firm was generating nearly $2 billion in cash—and Manoogian decided to invest a big chunk of it in the furniture business. Manoogian called it “probably one of the worst decisions I’ve made in 35 years.”