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Executive Leadership

You can have all the “vision” in the world, but, unless you can execute your ideas, you’re sunk.

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Early on, Neil Armstrong didn’t want to be an astronaut. From a young age, he wanted to design aircraft. He took up flying later because he thought a designer should know how planes work. He became a “stick-and-rudder man.”

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As a graduate student at the University of Chicago in 1970, Michael Powell opened a used bookstore after borrowing $3,000. He built shelves, started selling and kept increasing inventory, expanding the shop and adding employees. He repaid the loan.

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Whether negotiating a deal or arguing your point, it’s much more effective to emphasize whatever you have in common with your opponent than the differences.

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You may think of leaders as achieving incredible success in their careers, but true leadership is actually like a kaleidoscope of brilliant pieces reflecting a dynamic, balanced life.

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Deliver a tighter presentation by dividing your notes into sections and assigning a time period to each. Example: “Company Background, 9:00 – 9:10,” “Current Company Priorities, 9:10 – 9:25.” Wrap up each section on time and move on to the next.

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Reap the most from your network by deciding on a few things members can do for each other.

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Keep tabs on former star employees by calling them at least twice a year.

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Southwest Airlines co-founder Herb Kelleher tells the following story about acquiring tiny carrier Morris Air:


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Make people feel capable, as well as challenged. Effective leaders develop people by delegating a steady diet of ultrademanding projects to them.

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