By and About Leaders: 3/1/16

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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 Marvin Ellison, Gary Friedman, Tim Cook, John Repenning, and Alfred E. Mann.

From Phil Wahba: The CEO Who’s Reinventing J.C. Penney

“Marvin Ellison has scored some early successes at the troubled department store, but there’s a lot left to fix.”

From Jena McGregor: Why the CEO of Restoration Hardware may have written this BLARING ALL CAPS MEMO

“Many CEOs who write memos to their employees — even in tough times — hide behind euphemistic lingo. They cram their missives full of so many inscrutable ‘initiatives’ and MBA-approved phrases that any real sense of urgency gets lost in the shuffle. Gary Friedman is apparently not one of those CEOs. He likes to cut through all that and speak directly to workers. IN MEMOS SENT TO THE ENTIRE ORGANIZATION FILLED WITH ALL CAPS.”

From Adam Lashinsky: Exclusive Q&A: Apple CEO Tim Cook

“In an interview on Feb. 12 at Apple’s headquarters in Cupertino, Calif., CEO Tim Cook spoke expansively about the state of Apple , Fortune’s most admired company for nine consecutive years. He talked about how Apple behaves in a down cycle, how the company’s once-sacrosanct only-in-Cupertino mind-set is evolving, and the importance of services to Apple’s product mix. Without acknowledging its existence, Cook also shed possibly contradictory light on Apple’s widely rumored efforts to build an iCar: He suggested that Apple ultimately may decide not to make a car at all, yet he implied that if it did, it could utilize contract manufacturers to do so, just as it does with computers and phones.”

From Amy Lynch: 5 Questions with GreenCycle’s John Repenning

“Repenning’s parents started GreenCycle back in 1992, while he was still in college. When he graduated in 1995, Repenning moved to Indianapolis to become part of a three-employee team, and has remained with the organization ever since.”

From James Rufus Koren and Melody Petersen: Alfred E. Mann, entrepreneur behind the rechargeable pacemaker and an artificial retina, dies at 90

“Over the years, biotech pioneer Alfred E. Mann’s companies developed devices that helped the blind to see, the deaf to hear and the paralyzed to control their limbs. But as he began his 10th decade, Mann thought he wasn’t done yet. When people asked when he would retire, he would say at age 140.”

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