Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 11/27/18

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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 Tyson Foods, Box, Experian, Red Hat, and Walmart.

From Dale Buss: Tyson Foods Takes Aggressive Approach Towards Innovation

“Indeed, Springdale, Arkansas-based Tyson is taking one of the most aggressive approaches of any food giant toward re-envisioning its future based on how global diets are changing, on how new products and brands succeed in the global food business these days, and on how all manner of digital technologies are affecting the entire business. It’s a strategy that may hold lessons for other CEOs in the legacy economy that are trying to figure out how to leverage interest in entrepreneurial companies and outside innovations, instead of allowing disruptive upstarts to redefine markets with the traditional giants left on the outside looking in.”

From Simone Stolzoff: Box CEO Aaron Levie thinks big companies are responding to disruption the wrong way

“Levie’s story is one of Silicon Valley legend. In 2005, he dropped out of his junior year of college to start the file-storage company Box with a childhood friend. They secured their initial funding from Mark Cuban after sending him a cold email. A decade later, Levie took the company public at a $1.7 billion valuation.”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story

From Greg Satell: How Experian’s Digital Transformation Brought Its Business To An Entirely New Level

“If Experian was a startup, that would have been a relatively simple task, but the decades-old company relies on the legacy systems it has built to maintain an extremely high level of reliability and security. So Libenson embarked on a journey to transform Experian’s digital infrastructure and, in the process, transformed its business as well.”

From Ben Thompson: IBM’s Old Playbook

“The best way to understand how it is Red Hat built a multi-billion dollar business off of open source software is to start with IBM.”

From Robin Lewis: Walmart’s Leadership and Culture: Repealed and Replaced

“I vaguely remember the phrase ‘repeal and replace’ as a political slogan the Republicans used to gin up support for getting rid of Obamacare. As we know, nothing really happened. Well, it is happening at Walmart, based on the reversal and replacement of over a half-century of old-world leadership succession. With the appointment of Doug McMillon as the new CEO of Walmart in 2014, the Board and the Walton family knew they were ‘betting the house’ by unleashing a brilliant, visionary change agent who would risk everything by fundamentally transforming the entire Walmart business model. And to do so, he would have to repeal and replace the culture — which he is doing.”

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

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