Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 9/24/19

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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 Brian McConnell, Sundar Pichai, Tracy Young, Kat Cole, and Judi Sheppard Missett.

From Gabriel Perna: InterOptic CEO On Challenging The Behemoths In Fiber Optics

“In October of last year, McConnell was summoned back to the fiber optic world when he became the chief at InterOptic, which produces fiber optic transceivers that plug into name-brand routers for data interconnection. It’s here that his experience in fiber optic technology has combined with his ability to market and scale up innovative technologies against well-funded competitors.”

From Kaya Yurieff: He didn’t have a computer growing up. Now he’s CEO of Google

“Google CEO Sundar Pichai grew up in Chennai, India, with little access to a phone — let alone a computer or the internet. But it was this upbringing that helped show him just how powerful technology could be.”

Thanks to Smartbrief on Leadership for pointing me to this story

From Will Grahame-Clarke: An unlikely construction disruptor

“Concrete, dust, dirt, high-vis jackets and noise; building sites are not obvious places to stage a disruptive digital start-up. Much less that construction would attract a female entrepreneur to make millions, but that is exactly what Tracy Young has achieved with PlanGrid a collaboration and productivity platform.”

From Adam Bryant: Do You Avoid Tough Conversations? Try This Approach to Reframing Them

“The art of difficult conversations. Building teams. Creating high-performing cultures. Kat Cole, chief operating officer and president, North America of FOCUS Brands, has smart insights and practical tips on all these topics and more. Guaranteed you’ll learn something from our interview.”

From Leigh Buchanan: After 50 Years and $100 Million in Revenue, Jazzercise Still Views the Couch as Its Only Competitor

“At age 75, Judi Sheppard Missett is still dancing, still teaching, and still CEO of Jazzercise, the ur-dance-fitness company she founded and that celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. She also has a new book: Building a Business With a Beat. Created when Jane Fonda was better known for Barbarella than for aerobics, Jazzercise today is a $100 million business with more than 8,500 franchisees, and it cracked the Inc. 5000 in 2010, at the ripe age of 41. The company not only forged fitness culture for women–It’s fun! It’s easy! It’s social! We don’t judge!–but also has helped thousands of women become business owners, some of whom have launched multiple studios to teach the program.”

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

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