Executive Leadership

Despite his success, Bill Gates says he never feels safe from competitors. In fact, he still loses sleep at night.

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Driven by curiosity and enthusiasm for life, Hans Christian Oersted
discovered electromagnetism and invented the first artificial aluminum.
A satellite bearing his name now circles the globe mapping magnetic
fields, and units of magnetic strength are called oersteds. The Danish philosopher, physicist and chemist earned a reputation
within his lifetime for credible science and good judgment. But along
the way, he learned a hard lesson: Don’t promise more than you can
deliver.

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You don’t have to follow a “normal” path to career success. Few truly successful people do. Take Miriam Rothschild, world expert on fleas, who grew up with no
formal education in a Doctor Doolittle environment created by her
father, banker Charles Rothschild.

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Apple Computer co-founder Steve Jobs gave a masterful commencement
speech at Stanford University in 2005 that’s been winging around the
Internet. Here are the highlights from Jobs’ three stories:

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Ever notice a tendency to blabber about your team, yourself or your
organization instead of actually interviewing a job candidate? Welcome
to the most common blunder in hiring. Here’s how to recognize this syndrome and fix it:

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“American Idol’s” most caustic judge, Simon Cowell, may come off as
unnecessarily cruel, but he’s spectacularly proficient at one
leadership skill: giving honest feedback.

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Petr Hlavacek first heard about the Ice Man’s shoes about six months
after the Stone Age hunter’s body was discovered, partially defrosted
in a glacier in the Alps. That was the moment—15 years ago—when Hlavacek, a Czech professor of shoe technology, turned into a leader.

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“Birdman” Tony Hawk became the best skateboarder in the world—with 70
first-place titles and credit for inventing 80 tricks—because he kept
setting higher goals.

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It’s natural to make excuses when something goes wrong. But excuses are
addictive. Watch for these warning signs that you’re over-excusing:

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Don’t worry that changing your mind will make you look weak … especially if you change your mind in light of new evidence.

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