Instead of studying leadership, why not spend some time studying leaders and strategies in the wild? You can learn a lot from leadership experts, but you always see the leader and what he or she does through the expert’s personal lens. Supplement that learning with studying real leaders in real life situations and draw your own conclusions. The posts in this series will help you.
Every week I’ll point you to articles by and about real leaders in real situations and to articles about how real companies are faring in the marketplace. Read them. Think about them. Draw your own lessons and conclusions from them. Then try to apply those lessons in your own real life.
This week I’m pointing you to articles about a low tech business riding the wave of ecommerce, Taylor Farms (the bag salad people), 3M. imageOne, and “Toys were us.”
“Nine days after Christmas and the packages kept coming — box after box, soft pack upon soft pack — crowding the tiny storefront in South Philadelphia with a variety of deliveries originating from Amazon, Zulily, Amazon, Farmer’s Dog, Amazon, and … Amazon. With every parcel-laden handcart wheeled into Fishbox by drivers for UPS, FedEx, and other shipping services came undeniable evidence that we are an enthusiastic society of online shoppers year-round. And for Napoleon Suarez, it was more affirmation that quitting a lucrative corporate job to start an after-hours package-delivery service — without a business plan — wasn’t such a wacky idea.”
“They are ubiquitous today, those bag-salad kits you find in the produce section of most grocery stores. But they are a recent innovation, one that truly disrupted a category. Since 1995, Taylor Farms has been doing just that: disrupting the produce department with bagged salads, salad kits, fresh-cut vegetables and other healthy foods.”
“The company is proof that a conglomerate structure can work if it’s managed well.”
“The process starts with each team member creating or updating their vision—a process I learned from Ari Weinzweig and ZingTrain in Ann Arbor, Michigan where an inspiring and practical ‘story’ is written by each team member. That story takes place in the future—in our case, usually 5-10 years from the time it is being written. Once their vision is in place, the team member starts to create their 5-year goals, 3-year goals, and 1-year goals. Many of the goals are inspired by the vision the team member has for his or her life—the goals are often more specific and actionable steps that move the team member towards the vision. Putting their vision and goals in place allows me and my team leaders at imageOne to have open, honest, and productive conversations with every team member that serve them as team members and as people.”
“But while Toys ‘R’ Us has suffered from some predictable brick-and-mortar burdens, its story is a complicated one that touches on family economics, modern leisure, and private-equity mismanagement. There are the three main culprits of the sad demise of America’s erstwhile titan of toys.”
Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story