By and About Leaders: 3/8/16

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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 Andy Katz-Mayfield, Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan, Eric “Winkle” Brown, Howard Schultz, and Henry Engelhardt.

From Erika Brown Ekiel: Andy Katz-Mayfield: “90% of Success is Execution”

“Andy Katz-Mayfield is cofounder and co-CEO of Harry’s Inc., a New York-based grooming company. Harry’s designs and manufactures its razors in its factory in Germany and sells its blades at a lower price than the major brands. Harry’s sells product directly on and at The Corner Shop, its first combination barber-retail store in New York City. Katz-Mayfield says that Harry’s has well over one million customers within the U.S. and Canada.”

From Adam Bryant: Kamakshi Sivaramakrishnan: Finding Direction Off the Beaten Path

“I became an entrepreneur probably by accident. As you pursue a Ph.D., you’re an innovator, and that process is something I was constantly seeking. Being an entrepreneur is more about creating impact.”

From the Economist: Know your enemy

“The old fighter pilots’ motto summed up Captain Brown’s career. In the course of it he flew 487 different types of aircraft, most of them prototypes. He changed planes so often that he kept a loose-leaf folder, meticulously handwritten, of all the different cockpit layouts, hydraulics and emergency drills, to try to keep on top of things. Many of these craft he operated on aircraft-carriers; he clocked up 2,407 carrier landings and 2,721 take-offs, both world records. He tested the earliest helicopters, jets and rocket-powered machines. His working life took him from the wood-and-canvas craft in which he started with the Fleet Air Arm, to overseeing training on the nuclear strike force at Lossiemouth in the 1960s. The rising arc of power and accuracy was so steep that it astonished him.”

From George Anders: Howard Schultz’s Stormy Crusades: The Starbucks Boss Opens Up

“The other key reveals something deeper. It opens the shabby little store on the Seattle waterfront where Starbucks got its start. It’s always 1971 there, with the same rough-hewn bins and counters that defined the brand in the days of the Vietnam War. Nobody has ever modernized the place. ‘I go there at 4:15 a.m. sometimes, just by myself,’ the 62-year-old Schultz tells me. ‘It’s the right place whenever I need centering.’”

From Adam Gale: Why we need more leaders like Admiral’s Henry Engelhardt

“It’s safe to say that Admiral’s are the only annual reports in the car insurance industry that people actually enjoy reading. This time, they were headlined by a 6% rise in pre-tax profits to £377m for 2015, but that was overshadowed by the looming departure of CEO and founder Henry Engelhardt. The American’s stepping down in May after 25 years, during which time his quirky metaphors have turned the chief executive’s address into an art form (of which more later). As he enters his final shift at the helm of Wales’ only FTSE 100 company, let’s look at what Engelhardt’s legacy will be.”

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