By and About Leaders: 12/27/16

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I think that one of the best ways to learn leadership isn’t studying “leadership” at all. Instead, study individual leaders in their natural habitat and decide what they do that you want to try. Articles by and about leaders and interviews with them are mini-case studies that show you an actual leader in a real situation.

That’s why, every week, I bring you a selection of post about individual leaders. This week I’m pointing you to pieces by and about Max Levchin, Bethany Yellowtail, Amancio Ortega, Max DePree, and Chris McIntyre.

From Adam Bryant: Max Levchin of Affirm: Seeking the Endurance Athletes of Business

“Suddenly I was in a place where outhouses were the norm in plumbing. We would walk in snow for four or five miles to get to school every day. I went from a sheltered upbringing among scientists and ideas to be told that when I was done shoveling snow, I could do my homework.”

From Tanya Tarr: How This Native American CEO Is Helping Her Community Own Its Worth

“Determining price in negotiation involves issues of cost, market value and an important definition of worth. That power in pricing is important to Bethany Yellowtail. Yellowtail is the CEO and designer of the B.Yellowtail label, a fashion line that reflects her contemporary take on her Apsaalooke (Crow) & Tsetsehestahese & So’taeo’o (Northern Cheyenne) Native American Indian heritage. She started her career with BCBG Max Azria Group, moving on to be lead pattern maker for several private labels before launching her own brand. Yellowtail also recently developed the B.Yellowtail Collective, an online brand featuring Native American makers. A chance meeting inspired her to help her community make an important change.”

From the Economist: The management style of Amancio Ortega

“IT IS a short walk from a tiny shop with peeling yellow paint in downtown La Coruña, in northern Spain, to a dazzling five-storey store, opened in September by Zara, by far the world’s most successful purveyor of ‘fast fashion’. In this stroll across three city blocks, the career of Amancio Ortega unfolds: from teenaged apprentice in the corner shop, Gala, a men’s clothing business, to Europe’s richest entrepreneur, the majority owner of one of its best-performing firms.”

From Michael Graber: Leadership Lessons from a Design Thinking Pioneer

“The former CEO of Herman Miller, Max DePree said, ‘I’ve got so many MBAs, but what I need is a poet. Poets are the original systems thinkers.’ This poetic mode is the critical perspective for a human-factor and design business – and Herman Miller is the most apt precursor in the design thinking revolution, so they knew the value of this holistic, poetic lens where anything can be better designed to better suit real people.”

From Charles Fleming: EagleRider co-founder Chris McIntyre

“Chris McIntyre is co-founder of EagleRider, the world’s biggest motorcycle tourism company. EagleRider, based in Hawthorne, offers bike rentals and sales, guided tours, branded apparel and related merchandise. Operating in 27 U.S. states and offering tours from 30 global locations, the company serves more than 100,000 customers annually.”

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