Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 3/21/17

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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 Idoni, LEGO, Facebook, Under Armour, and Cronan.

From Elizabeth Segran: These Fashion Startups Offer The Prestige Of “Made In Italy” Without Inflated Prices

“New American shoe and bag companies are making classic Italian craftsmanship accessible to the masses via direct-to-consumer business models.”

From BCG Perspectives: At LEGO, Growth and Culture Are Not Kid Stuff

“The turnaround of the LEGO Group is one of the famous business stories of this century. A victim of overexpansion and brand dilution, LEGO was on the brink of bankruptcy in 2004, when Jørgen Vig Knudstorp became the CEO. He was a 35-year-old former academic and consultant who quickly gained a reputation as a turnaround artist. But in this interview, conducted in his final days as CEO, the 48-year-old Knudstorp gives credit for LEGO’s ongoing success to employees and customers.”

From Ben Thompson: Manifestos and Monopolies

“The reality is that Facebook is one of the most powerful companies the tech industry — and arguably, the world — has ever seen. True, everything posted on Facebook is put there for free, either by individuals or professional content creators; and true, Facebook isn’t really irreplaceable when it comes to the generation of economic value; and it is also true that there are all kinds of alternatives when it comes to communication. However, to take these truths as evidence that Facebook is fragile requires a view of the world that is increasingly archaic.”

From Robin Lewis: Under Armour, Under Siege

“Well, as I’ve said, Under Armour ain’t no bamboo. Furthermore, nothing on Earth has infinite growth (except the bamboo in my yard). And Mr. Plank is now learning this. As reported, his steady stream of 26 quarterly sales increases of 20 percent plus, got slammed by Under Armour’s recent 4th quarter sales growth of only 12 percent. They also lowered their growth projection for 2017 to 11-12 percent and added that operating income would decline. Furthermore, gross margins dropped from 48 percent last year to 44.8 percent, and have been falling since the first quarter of 2015.”

Wally’s Comment: Good luck with that bamboo, Robin.

From Russ Mitchell: Her brand helps others brand themselves

“Karin Hibma, 65, is co-founder and principal of brand-strategy consulting firm Cronan, based in Berkeley, and is best known for coming up with the names for TiVo and Amazon’s Kindle. Cronan has done work for Apple, Levi Strauss, Estee Lauder and many others. Hibma and her team plumb a client’s history and values to home in on a ‘strategic identity’ for a new product, a new company or to help focus a major change in corporate direction.”

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