Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 1/29/19

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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 Theranos, Piyush Gupta, Herb Kelleher, John Bogle, and Blake Nordstrom.

From Saichin Waikar: What Can We Learn from the Downfall of Theranos?

“The health company’s plummet carries valuable lessons for Silicon Valley.”

From Jeremy Grant: Transforming a Traditional Bank into an Agile Market Leader

“In 2014, Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank of Singapore, asked his staff to think like the employees of a fintech startup and build the digital capabilities they would need to succeed.”

From Ken Blanchard: Unforgettable Herb Kelleher

“Last Thursday, we lost probably the finest corporate leader I have known in my leadership development career: Herb Kelleher, cofounder and longtime CEO and president of Southwest Airlines. Not only was Herb the visionary who created the model for a low-fare, customer-first airline, he believed every executive is only as good as his or her people. And he walked his talk. More than anybody I’ve ever worked with, Herb Kelleher lived and breathed the philosophy that the number one customer of any organization is its people.”

From Roger Martin: Remembering Jack Bogle and Herb Kelleher, Two Great Strategists

“But the heart of true strategy is not about plans or proclamations or vision statements, it is about making the few key choices that enable you to serve customers in a distinctive and valuable fashion. It doesn’t matter if you call it strategy or ‘doing things.’ These two business giants were all about choices and when they made them, they chose distinctively. Where competition zagged, they consistently zigged.”

From Robert Spector: Blake Nordstrom: An Appreciation

“My first memory of Blake Nordstrom goes back to 1993. While researching The Nordstrom Way, the company allowed me to attend an employee orientation meeting. After the twenty or so new Nordies viewed a twelve-minute company-history video called ‘The Nordstrom Story,’ a tall, blond-haired, 33-year-old, walked to the front of the room to address the group.”

For some ideas about how to get more from this series of posts, check out “Studying Leaders in the Wild.

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