Talk about timing. As the economy tanked, Ellen Kullman, long on the short list of possible chiefs at DuPont, became president on Oct. 1, 2008, and CEO a few months later. As the chemical company’s sales fell, Kullman had to decide what should and shouldn’t change. Organizing the company to respond to these trends, Kullman decided on four principles:
Profiles in Leadership
The former president of South Africa who ended apartheid there, Nelson Mandela, has an African first name, Rolihlahla, which translates literally as “pulling down a tree branch.” What that actually means is “troublemaker.” Mandela’s life means many more things: warrior, activist and statesman. Here are his rules of leadership.
Football Hall of Famer Joe Montana bookended his football career with two spectacular failures. Both times, his passes were intercepted. Montana—who wrapped up his 16 years in the NFL as the only three-time Super Bowl most valuable player—offers these two exercises so you can overcome failure in a low-stakes environment.
Nancy McKinstry, CEO of the multinational publisher Wolters Kluwer, describes herself as an analytical person. She also calls herself an “insider-outsider” who knows her company thoroughly from the inside but also is an outsider—she became its first non-Dutch CEO and the first woman to lead it. She says she likes hiring people who have overcome adversity because ...
The pace of change seems to grow more urgent every year. Some see it as an attribute of leadership in the 21st century—right up there with judgment and courage. Consider, then, Gen. Douglas MacArthur, who spread the speed creed 70 years before it was cool.
Online shoe retailer Zappos is known for its knockout customer service. But CEO Tony Hsieh says his secret of success is really about his employees. “Our belief is that if you get the company culture right, most of the other stuff, like great customer service, will just happen.” That includes some unconventional ideas like paying new employees $2,000 to quit...
Pete Sampras realized early in his tennis career that his opponent wasn’t beating him. Sampras was beating himself. It wasn’t just that he’d played badly, Sampras says now. “I also played without heart, which is a greater sin.” Later in his career, Sampras saw reality with rare objectivity. He lists five truisms as mostly fair and all realistic, starting with "You're only as good as your last win..."
Jean Henri Dunant arrived in Solferino, Italy, on a business trip in 1859 and found himself in the middle of hell. About 38,000 soldiers lay dead and dying, casualties of a battle to push Austria out of Italy. That moment inspired him to launch the International Red Cross. Another big idea that came from his work: the Geneva Conventions. How did he make it happen?