Profiles in Leadership

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When Jay Gould joined American Standard in 2012 as CEO, he faced a liquidity crisis. Draining cash, the once-venerable plumbing company was on the brink of collapse. The company's 5,500 employees had gotten used to layoffs, and there was little reason to believe more weren't coming. Gould needed a way to boost morale, and he found it.
In early 2006, Avinash Kaushik worked in data analytics at Intuit. After giving a talk at an industry conference, some influential attendees suggested he start blogging. Kaushik liked the idea, but prepared carefully before diving in. How did he so quickly become a thought leader read around the world?
Here are three points of advice from Dal LaMagna, the guy who launched more than a dozen businesses, sold Tweezerman to J.A. Henckels, and now is CEO of countertop manufacturer IceStone.
During the 2008-09 recession, Jim Goodnight of SAS didn’t just promise job security to his workforce. He also challenged them to use the slowdown to innovate. Housed on 300 acres in Cary, N.C., the tech giant’s campus offers its 14,000 em­ployees a chance to concentrate on ­creativity with a minimum of distractions.

"I like a battle of ideas because I think the best will win," says David Brain, president and chief executive of EPR Properties, and a leader more interested in the truth than being right.

Leadership expert Jim Collins loves to research why companies succeed and fail. He takes an intense and methodical approach to everything; how many people do you know who log—and clock—their daily activities?
For Super Bowl week, here's a cautionary tale of how tricky it is to lead a team to victory. In 2011, New York Jets coach Rex Ryan lacked the same familiarity running an offense as he did guiding the defense. As a result, he delegated—a bit too much.

Bruce Lee died in 1973 at age 32. In his short life, he thrived as an action film star, martial artist, screenwriter, movie director and ­philosopher. To operate at peak efficiency, Lee liked to “hack away at the unessential.”

Pierre Omidyar, eBay’s founder, always maintained high standards as a software engineer. But early in his career, he learned that he couldn’t impose his perfectionism on others. What was his personal 80% rule?
For John Foraker, image is everything. He has helped Annie’s Homegrown cultivate an appealing, healthy brand with consumers—and they’ve responded by buying his products with increasing fervor.
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