Executive Leadership

Most of us believe that seeing into the future is impossible. Not so.
We actually have a good idea of many things the future holds. We just
need to access that knowledge. To do so, take out three sheets of paper. Label them “One year from
now,” “Five years from now” and “10 years from now.” On each, answer
questions like these:

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Based on the experiences of men who ran for U.S. president and didn’t
make it, here are some lessons on how to recover from failure:

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From the U.S. Marine Corps— leaders by definition, as its members are
often the first combatants in a military offensive—here’s a checklist
of leadership strategies:

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Back in 1952, Sid Caesar was the highest-paid entertainer in America,
earning more than $1 million a year for his NBC variety show, “Caesar’s
Hour.” But that show brought incredible pressure. On weeks when programs were
aired, Caesar and his team locked themselves behind closed doors for
days, perfecting every joke and skit.

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Sandy Stash was handed an assignment from hell: Atlantic Richfield Co.
sent her to Butte, Mont., to manage the cleanup of the nation’s biggest
Superfund site, reduce the company’s liability and try to calm
everybody’s nerves.

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Dennis Donovan describes his style of leadership as being an agent for
change. When he joined Home Depot as an executive vice president, his
goal was to put a human resources person in every store.

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Most of us have had bosses so insecure that they could never let their employees succeed. Jack Winter was such a guy. Fresh out of college, he found himself in
Miami Beach on a venerable staff of comedy writers because TV celebrity
Jackie Gleason had picked some of his material. As it turned out,
Winter didn’t understand Gleason’s humor. What’s worse, Gleason turned
out to be a tyrant. Luckily for us, we can use his memories to become
better leaders. Some of Winter’s wonders:

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A personal symbol can help you stay centered during tough times. Some real-world examples:

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You start to think that you have to be perfect to be a leader. You have
to set perfect goals, make perfect speeches, arrive at perfect
decisions and motivate people perfectly. Not so. Even the greatest leaders have flaws. Sometimes very big flaws. Consider E. B. White, the legendary editor of The New Yorker.

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An organization that rewards people lavishly for mediocre work might
have a happy work force … but probably an unexceptional one, too.

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