Executive Leadership

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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Experience shows that you can triumph over the biggest setbacks.

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“Hot teams” improvise, do more work with less supervision and make the extra effort to follow through. Management consultant Laurence Haughton offers this advice for turning ordinary groups into hot teams:

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