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 Elon Musk, Richard Sheridan, Jeff Bezos, Carlos Ghosn, and John Foley.
From Jeffrey Sonnenfield: Tesla’s Enfant Terrible Needs to Grow Up
“Like other brilliant inventors, Musk’s audacity inspired some to believe in his ability to accomplish the impossible. We saw such a flash in his tease that he might buy the soon-to-be-shuttered iconic GM Lordstown factory. His success as a revolutionary carmaker, ingenious tech titan, and entertaining entrepreneur are roles he has loved—even when they often fell out of needed balance. At this stage of Tesla’s life, however, the pressure is on for him to prove himself capable of growing with his business — as did Andy Grove of Intel, Bill Gates of Microsoft, and Michael Dell.”
From the Harvard Business Review: How One CEO Creates Joy at Work
“Richard Sheridan, CEO of Menlo Innovations, says it took him years to learn what really mattered at work and how to create that kind of workplace culture. As a company leader today, he works hard to make sure both his job — and the jobs of his employees — are joyful. That doesn’t mean they are happy 100% of the time, he argues, but that they feel fulfilled by always putting the customer first. Sheridan is the author of Chief Joy Officer: How Great Leaders Elevate Human Energy and Eliminate Fear.”
From Wired: Why It’s Hard to Escape Amazon’s Long Reach
“In 1994, soon after Jeff Bezos incorporated what would become Amazon, the entrepreneur briefly contemplated changing the company’s name. The nascent firm had been dubbed ‘Cadabra,’ but Bezos wanted a less playful, more accurate alternative: ‘Relentless.’ (Relentless.com redirects to Amazon.com to this day.) Twenty-four years later, perhaps no adjective better describes Bezos’ empire than the name he once wanted to give it.”
Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story
From Amy Chozick and Motoko Rich: The Rise and Fall of Carlos Ghosn
“Mr. Ghosn, the ousted Nissan executive, wasn’t supposed to succeed in Japan, but he never expected to fail like this. He faces charges of financial wrongdoing at the company he helped save.”
From Daniel Gross and Brian Caisman: Business Cycle
“John Foley is the CEO and cofounder of Peloton, a fitness startup whose US$2,000 stationary bicycles and high-energy classes have gained a cult following since its founding in 2012. Peloton is a rare New York–based ‘unicorn’ — in August it raised $550 million at a $4 billion valuation. It has thrived by focusing on every aspect of its business so that it can provide an immersive customer experience: software, hardware, world-class instructors, an expanding retail footprint, and its own logistics network.”
For some ideas about how to get more from this series of posts, check out “Studying Leaders in the Wild.“
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