Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 7/17/18

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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 Element AI, Intel, Netflix, Levi’s, and GM.

From Vauhini Vara: Can This Startup Break Big Tech’s Hold on A.I.?

“Element AI has the pedigree to push the boundaries of what is possible with the technology.”

From Ben Thompson: Intel and the Danger of Integration

“Last week Brian Krzanich resigned as the CEO of Intel after violating the company’s non-fraternization policy. The details of Krzanich’s departure, though, ultimately don’t matter: his tenure was an abject failure, the extent of which is only now coming into view.”

From the Economist: Can Netflix please investors and still avoid the techlash?

“BIG technology firms elicit extreme and conflicting reactions. Investors love them for their stellar growth and vast ambition: the FAANG group of technology stocks, comprising Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Alphabet (Google’s parent), is worth more than the whole of the FTSE 100. Without them to power its growth, America’s stockmarket would have fallen this year. Yet the techlash has also entangled the digital giants in all manner of controversies, from data abuse and anti-competitive behaviour to tax avoidance and smartphone addiction. They have become the firms politicians love to hate. All but one. Alone among the giants, Netflix is a clear exception to this mix of soaring share prices and suspicion.”

From Chip Bergh: How Levi’s Became Cool Again

“Few brands are as iconic as Levi’s, and Levi Strauss is one of the oldest companies in America. It was a brand I grew up with and had an emotional attachment to. The story of its founding is well known: Launched as a dry-goods retailer during the California gold rush, the company got a breakthrough in the 1870s, when it patented the use of rivets to strengthen the seams in denim work pants, inventing blue jeans. But as I began doing research to prepare for my first meeting with its board chairman, I was surprised by what I found.”

From Leah Fessler: GM’s dress code is only two words

“As chief executive at General Motors, Barra practices what she preaches. Her management philosophy is epitomized by GM’s workplace dress code—which is equally brief, and also an antidote to the restrictive, wallet-draining policies at many large corporations. It reads, in full: ‘Dress appropriately.'”

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

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