Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 7/31/18

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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 WalMart, WeWork, Microsoft, dairy farms, and the Houston Astros.

From Pam Danziger: Walmart Is Undergoing a Transformation: JetBlack Isn’t the Half of It

“Walmart, the world’s largest retailer, is aggressively disrupting its established business seeking to establish a foundation for a future that puts no limits on the customers that it serves or the ways it serves them. As Robin Lewis so eloquently wrote, ‘Walmart is no longer a discount store. It is no longer defined as being a part of the ‘discount distribution channel.’ It is no longer limited to selling low-priced basic goods to lower income consumers.’ Walmart refuses to stay in its box.”

From the Economist: Big corporates’ quest to be hip is helping WeWork

“Sceptics abound, but there may be more to the startup than meets the eye”

From Brian Kenny: The Transformation of Microsoft

“In early 2015, Microsoft CFO Amy Hood and the rest of the senior leadership team faced a fundamental choice. Was the company ready to invest in long-term growth at the expense of some short-term profit margins? Professor Fritz Foley discusses how leadership faced these difficult decisions, and worked to get investors and employees on board.”

From the Christian Science Monitor: Slumping milk prices force dairy farmers to think outside the barn

“Dairy farmers have seen low milk prices before, but the current downturn has been severe in its duration. As some dairy farms fail, others are finding new paths forward.”

From Irving Wladawsky-Berger: The Transformative Power of Analytics – The Houston Astros: a Case Study

“In 2013, the Houston Astros finished the season with a 51-111 record, – the worst record in the history of the franchise, having also lost over 100 games in the previous two years. In 2017, the Astros won 101 games, finished first in the American League West Division, and went on to win their first ever World Series. How did the Astros go from worst team record to first World Series victory in only four years? The answer, in a nutshell, is analytics.”

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

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