Leaders and Strategies in Real Life: 9/26/17

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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, Nutrisystem, Applebee’s, Casper, and Faber-Castell.

From Len Lewis: Amazon’s Acquisition Game

“Let’s be clear once and for all—Jeff Bezos doesn’t care if he sells you broccoli or ball gowns. Therein lies Amazon’s greatest strength and the potential chink in its digital armor.”

From Suzette Parmley: How Nutrisystem lost flab and got into fighting shape

“Shedding pounds is big business. And Fort Washington-based Nutrisystem is gaining ground on Weight Watchers in the battle of the bulge, thanks to CEO Dawn Zier’s embrace of technology and data.”

From Erik Sherman: Millennials, Applebee’s Has Given Up on You and Being Cool

“Forget millennials. Not that I’m suggesting it, but that’s what Applebee’s said this week. Enough is enough. They’re taking their sriracha and going home to the people who love them.”

From Erin Griffith: How Casper Flipped the Mattress Industry

“In any random commute, I hear my favorite podcast host sing the praises of Casper, the online mattress company that would like me to know it is about so much more than boring old beds. I look up, and my subway car is wallpapered with ads featuring Casper’s quirky illustrations of animals and humans sharing beds.”

From HBS Working Knowledge: Faber-Castell Doubles Down on the Pencil

“Faber-Castell is a 255-year-old company that makes pencils. How does an old company with a, well, boring product think about innovation, particularly if and when to introduce new technology? Assistant Professor Ryan Raffaelli’s research looks at established companies with mature products and how they manage technological shifts in their industry and in the world. This case explores Faber-Castell’s ‘companion for life’ strategy and its bet to double down on the pencil.”

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