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 Todd Carmichael, Sheryl Palmer, Lord Karan Bilimoria, Bart Lorang, and Ken Morrison.
“Emaciated and delirious from cold, fatigue and hunger, Todd Carmichael nearly froze to death in Antarctica on a 39-day, seven-hour trek from the coast to the South Pole. He’s been shot at and knifed in the ribs in his pursuit of the best beans around the globe. But there’s something else that terrifies Carmichael, 53, chief executive officer and co-founder of La Colombe Torrefaction Inc., the Fishtown-based coffee roaster with national ambitions and a line of cold-draft lattes soon to be available in 7,000 stores.”
“The C.E.O. of Taylor Morrison, the home-building company, says she hates wearing shoes, and refuses to act a part.”
“Lord Karan Bilimoria CBE founded Cobra Beer in 1989 and started off by selling it to restaurants as a less gassy lager that would complement food. Cobra is now in a joint venture with the multinational brewing company Molson Coors with Lord Bilimoria as chairman. Born in India before settling in the UK, he divides his time between multiple ventures including being a member of the House of Lords, the chancellor of the University of Birmingham and the founding Chairman of the UK India Business Council. He takes a pause from his activities to reflect on what advice he’d give his younger self.”
“Bart Lorang, CEO of the cloud-based address book company FullContact, got sick of watching his employees waste their vacations. No sooner had an out-of-office notification gone up than the employee would start responding to emails, burning through precious time off out of fear of missing something back at the office. So Lorang instituted a radical new policy — paying FullContact’s employees to actually go on vacation.”
“AS HE patrolled the aisles of his shops in Leeds, Boroughbridge or wherever he might be, in his yellow and black Morrisons tie and his short-sleeved ‘get cracking’ shirt, Ken Morrison’s eyes would gleam with happiness. He was a grocer, the best job in the world. Better still, he was the best grocer in Yorkshire, God’s own county, where folk didn’t part with their money without a good excuse. The fact that his food-supermarket chain had also grown into Britain’s fourth-biggest, up from his father’s egg-and-butter stall in Bradford market, was also gratifying. Record sales and profits for 35 years, between flotation in 1967 and entering the FTSE 100 in 2001, were not to be sneezed at. But nothing was more energising than that daily round of pacing the floor, chatting to customers and giving the staff either pats on the head or kicks up the backside, as warranted.”