By and About Leaders: 8/18/15

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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 Steve Ellis, Sundar Pichai, Michael Gould, Mauro Porcini, and Mathias Doepfner.

From Hilary Burns: Steve Ellis, head of Wells Fargo’s new Innovation Group, wants to give good ideas a voice

“Steve Ellis was leaving Wells Fargo & Co.’s (NYSE:WFC) main office in San Francisco in 2006 when an idea struck him — almost literally. Ellis was on his BlackBerry as he crossed the street, right in front of a moving bus.”

A tip of the hat to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this article.

From Robert McMillan and Rolfe Winkler: Now Atop Google, a Low-Key Chief

“When Sundar Pichai joined Google Inc. in 2004, he seemed an unlikely CEO candidate: a semiconductor engineer with a business degree assigned to manage the Google Toolbar, software that lets Web surfers quickly search with Google on other browsers. When Mr. Pichai was named Google’s next chief executive Monday, he seemed the only logical choice: a protégé of CEO Larry Page who had been groomed for the job with increasing responsibilities in recent years.”

From Michael Gould: My View

“I got into retailing the summer of ’67 when I was in Columbia Business School and looking for a summer job. I was one of six accepted for a new summer program at A&S in Brooklyn. And so was Mickey Drexler! I was blown away by the experience. I couldn’t believe that people at such an early age had so much responsibility and authority. When I graduated, I joined A&S full time in ’68.”

From James de Vries: PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer on Creating an Organization Where Design Can Thrive

“Mauro Porcini is PepsiCo’s Chief Design Officer—the first to hold the position—where he oversees design-led innovation across all the company’s brands under CEO Indra Nooyi. Below is an edited version of my conversation with Porcini on a variety of topics, from prototyping to the essential qualities of a great design organization.”

From Joanna Slater: Axel Springer CEO Mathias Doepfner steps boldly into the future of media

“It’s a summery afternoon in June when I arrive at the headquarters of Axel Springer SE. On the plaza in front of the building, employees are sitting on chunks of the former Berlin Wall, drinking coffee, smoking cigarettes and basking in the sun. The location of the German media giant is no accident. Its eponymous founder deliberately chose this spot to build his office tower – a calculated affront to the notion of a divided Germany, expressed through real estate.”

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