Executive Leadership

What can you learn from Google? To obsess about producing the very best product, and never to become lazy, arrogant, complacent or “evil.” In more concrete language, here’s what that vision statement means:

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Charismatic CEO Carlos Ghosnhas driven Nissan’s historic turnaround with a simple leadership strategy:  State a lofty goal, and expect everyone to meet it.

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New York chef Marcus Samuelsson combined traditional Swedish cooking with ingredients from around the world to create novel dishes that made his restaurant famous.

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“All the first-rate decision-makers I’ve observed had a very simple rule,” says Peter Drucker:  “If you have quick consensus on an important matter, don’t make the decision. Acclamation means nobody has done the homework.”

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What seems impossible is often no more than preconceived notions and “mental models” distorting what we see. Don’t believe it? Check out these examples:

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When we joined a highly placed financial exec for lunch at the company cafeteria recently, we learned a leadership lesson when she asked a friendly cashier, “So, what’s on people’s minds today?”

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Pythagoras of Samos, who lived in the sixth century B.C., is best remembered for his pioneering studies of the geometry of triangles. He is less well known for his three-part assessment of people, based on his observations of the people who came to Athens to watch the Olympic games.

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When Eckhard Cordes took over Mercedes-Benz, he put off all interviews with the press, so he could engage in hard analysis before announcing his sales objectives.

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The best player in any game—business, sports or war, to name a few—will have a firm strategy in place from the outset for the last stages of a product, contest or battle.

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Since winning office two years ago, Atlanta Mayor Shirley Franklin has shown what it takes to turn crisis into opportunity.

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