Profiles in Leadership

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In 1991, Jerry Sternin headed to Vietnam. His goal: to fight child malnutrition in poor villages. Sternin isolated the few people who were modeling problem-solving behavior when most were following negative patterns. He thus dis­­covered what the “positive deviants” did to produce such superior results.
During Alyson Pitman Giles' 13 years at the helm of Catholic Medical Center in Manchester, N.H., the hospital’s finances reversed course. By the time she left in 2012, its operating margin exceeded $3 million. But her success did not come without turmoil.
"We’re in an industry with 115% annual turnover," says Brian Fielkow, president and CEO of Jetco Delivery. "Our raw number is about one-third of that." How does he craft a culture than resonates with employees?
Whitey Herzog, winner of a World Series as manager of the St. Louis Cardinals, understood one of the most overlooked aspects of leadership: Make the best of what you’ve got.
Employees need to trust you as their leader if they’re going to outperform as a team. They must believe you’ll put their interests ahead of your own. But how do you communicate you'll do just that? The director of the National Institutes of Health, Francis Collins, provides an example.

Wayne Goldberg knows the hotel business. He's president and CEO of La Quinta Holdings, a Texas-based chain with roughly 7,000 employees. "I make it clear when speaking to our hourly employees that I’ve been an hourly employee," he says. "I’ve been a maintenance person, I’ve worked in the laundry. There isn’t a job I haven’t done."

In 1962, editors at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists judged that the world was perilously close to a nuclear holocaust. It was at this moment that physicist Freeman Dyson, a visionary in math to medicine, weighed in on bomb shelters ...
Once a year, Yang Yuanqing, CEO of Lenovo, invites his senior executives to his palatial home in a ritzy section of Beijing for a mix of lighthearted fun and dead-serious business. What happens at the place one of his employees calls “a mini-Versailles"?
When Glenn Murphy left a Canadian drugstore chain in 2007 to become CEO of Gap, the clothing retailer had sustained a multiyear losing streak. But it’s finally bouncing back.
Throughout his years in the financial services industry, Graham Coxell of brokerage firm Rowan Dartington has witnessed good and bad leadership. His conclusion? It’s better to seek to understand others than berate them.
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