Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 4/30/19

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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 Helena Rubinstein, IBM, IKEA, Miguel Patricio, and Satya Nadella.

From HBS Working Knowledge: How Helena Rubinstein Used Tall Tales to Turn Cosmetics into a Luxury Brand

“Helena Rubinstein used guile, brilliant branding, and more than a few falsehoods to lift cosmetics from an accessory for prostitutes to a desired luxury item. Geoffrey Jones reveals her history.”

From Greg Satell: IBM Is Building A Network To Drive The Future Of Quantum Computing

“Today, the computer industry is at a similar impasse. As Moore’s Law comes to an end, there is an urgent need to introduce new computing architectures, one of the most promising being quantum computing. However, this time, rather than working in secret, it has embarked on a highly collaborative journey to advance the technology and bring it to market.”

From Scott Mautz: Amazon Forced IKEA to Change Everything Almost. IKEA’s Genius Plan Will Help Any Company Fight Back

“The world’s largest furniture retailer just shared their change in business model. It’s a model to learn from.”

From the Economist: Kraft Heinz gets a new boss. Can he save the firm?

“WHILE WORKING at Coca-Cola, Philip Morris and Johnson & Johnson in the 1990s, Miguel Patricio gained a reputation as a marketing wizard. Shareholders of Kraft Heinz, who appointed him as the food maker’s chief executive on April 22nd, are hoping his magic touch extends to corporate turnarounds. Born of a merger in 2015 between two American icons, Kraft Heinz has struggled to keep up with changes in consumer taste. In February it announced a $15bn impairment, cut its dividend by a third and said that American authorities had launched an inquiry into its procurement practices. Its share price has fallen by 45% in 12 months.”

From Laura Rittenhouse: Why The Most Underrated CEO in Business Is the Real Winner

“For the third year in a row, Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella was named Fortune’s Most Underrated CEO. And for the fifth year since he was named CEO, Microsoft has posted record year-end earnings. What’s wrong with this picture?”

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

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