Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 5/2/17

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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 Amazon, TiVo, Vitamix, Peapod, and Panera Bread.

From Robin Lewis: Amazon, Bigger Than You Think, and Their Loyalists Eat Your Lunch

“Are you sick of hearing about Amazon, the voracious Pac-Man of the modern world, chomping on your lunch in ever increasing ways? Think about it: If Amazon’s revenues are growing at the rate of 20 to 30 percent annually, while total retail sales are growing just over 2 percent, whose share of lunch are they really eating? Look in the mirror. And worse, here’s more to darken your day.”

From Matt Palmquist: How TiVo Confronted the Disruptor’s Dilemma

“Upstart firms that want to break into an established sector often must collaborate with the very power brokers they seek to unseat.”

From Adrienne Selko: Vitamix’s Secret to Success: Workforce has Zest for Life

“Sometimes corporations have to face a fork in the road. In 2004, Jodi Berg, CEO of Vitamix, had a decision to make. At the time she was overseeing the household division of the company, which manufacturers high-performance blenders, and her instincts were telling her that now was the time to choose which path the 82-year old family company needed to take.”

From Robert Reed: As online rivals sprout, Peapod girds for battle

“Peapod, the online grocery delivery system started in 1989, has prevailed in a business segment that’s seen some high-profile and aggressive competitors come and go. Now the Skokie-based company is girding for another wave of energized rivals seeking a slice of a market that’s expected to be worth $100 billion by 2025, according to industry estimates.”

From Adam Vacarro: The road to Panera’s $7.5 billion sale began at a Cookie Jar in Boston

“In 1980, fresh out of Harvard Business School, Shaich opened a cafe in downtown Boston called The Cookie Jar. A year later, he merged the small business with Boston-based Au Bon Pain, at the time a young company with just three bakeries.”

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