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Archive: Corporate leadership

The difference between compromise and negotiation

Politicians might learn something from management and labor negotiators. While both sides may talk tough, seldom does rhetoric...

By John Baldoni | February 15, 2011; 09:46 AM ET | Comments (4)

Where are men in the work/life conversation?

Many businesses today are making "allowances" for women, without framing flexibility as a total workforce issue and showing its benefits to all workers. This trend persists despite considerable research that shows positive support, regardless of gender, for more flexible work arrangements.

By Selena Rezvani | February 4, 2011; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (30)

Adrian Fenty to advise Rosetta Stone: Good news for education innovation?

A month after Adrian Fenty's last day in office, language-learning company Rosetta Stone announced that the former D.C. mayor would join their Arlington, Va., -based organization as an outsider adviser.

By Lillian Cunningham | February 3, 2011; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (27)

What makes a 'Best Workplace'? (Hint: It has to do with women)

Perhaps the secret sauce of a truly inclusive workplace isn't overly complex. Best companies find ways to "join up" with employees' lifestyle realities, rather than just tolerating them. What's more, they know that what can be especially positive for underrepresented groups tends to be good for everyone.

By Selena Rezvani | January 21, 2011; 04:54 PM ET | Comments (1)

Correcting the course

Now the elected officers are pursuing their respective visions, which in several cases result in attempts to reverse some decisions by previous leaders. That is the nature and the beauty of our constitutional system...

By Col. Charles D. Allen | January 5, 2011; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (12)

The death of old ways

Effective leaders of change focus on the future without describing the past as wrong. It is almost always unproductive to...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | January 4, 2011; 11:27 AM ET | Comments (2)

The man of all seasons: Sidney Harman

"If and when I die," he once said to me, during a tennis match years ago. I took that seriously. When the business world, in particular, is desperately looking for leaders with...

By Warren Bennis | December 22, 2010; 04:12 PM ET | Comments (0)

The givers: Bill and Melinda Gates, and Warren Buffett

The Giving Pledge is shaping social expectations around wealth and is suggesting an enlightened form of capitalism that redefines personal success...

By Angel Cabrera | December 22, 2010; 03:54 PM ET | Comments (10)

The unknowns: Your manager, perhaps?

I nominate all the leaders--executives, managers, supervisors, team leaders--who fly under the radar. You know the ones I mean. Their staffs, team members and employees rave...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | December 21, 2010; 01:52 PM ET | Comments (1)

Not a risk taker? Then chances are you're a woman

Girls learn about risk differently. Risky behavior, girls are told, is dangerous. For many young women, perfection is the more popular state for which to strive. Being simultaneously popular, a top student and pretty becomes a recipe for greatness. As you get older, this ideal morphs into Superwoman syndrome--the pressure to be that strange creature...

By Selena Rezvani | December 20, 2010; 06:21 PM ET | Comments (10)

When what you do outweighs who you are

A cloud of allegations hovers over this year's Heisman recipient, and a shadow has been cast on his character and on the integrity of those who chose him. In his case, fact and fiction are somewhat muddled; but what is clear is...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | December 16, 2010; 09:26 AM ET | Comments (2)

Offer redemption, then show the door

Spending time with my five grand kids always reminds me that children are great mimics. Spending a few minutes with the daily newspaper reminds me that adults are too--and often with far less charming results...

By John R. Ryan | December 15, 2010; 01:39 PM ET | Comments (1)

Integrity is essential

Today, more than ever, leaders are expected to set the standard. To be role models and...

By Susan Peters | December 14, 2010; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (3)

One strike and you're out

No exceptions, no matter how high your station, no matter how important you are to the organization. When you violate the fundamental rules of the institutional culture...

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | December 14, 2010; 12:46 PM ET | Comments (1)

The meaning of an asterisk

Add Cam Newton's reception of the Heisman Trophy to the long list of examples of athletic "excellence" coming before sports "integrity." Many names come to mind, but the quintessential example...

By Coro Fellows | December 13, 2010; 11:28 PM ET | Comments (0)

Strong character trumps perfection

As a veteran executive once told me, hire for character. Don't expect to develop something that is not there. If a person lacks a moral compass, don't think you...

By John Baldoni | December 13, 2010; 06:54 PM ET | Comments (0)

The road to ruin

Yes, Cam Newton is an incredible football player (I love watching him play), but we must care about the total person we hold up for emulation in our society. This is about repairing, not maintaining, the moral fiber of...

By Don Vandergriff | December 13, 2010; 03:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

Creating a Benedict Arnold

As with the Benedict Arnold example, star performers can move up the organization to positions of great responsibility, without a clear understanding of the value of ethical behavior and institutional rules and...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | December 13, 2010; 03:08 PM ET | Comments (0)

Don't care about values? At least stop pretending

it all depends on how important a culture of integrity is. If it is essential (as it is for many top organizations), then you must reward, penalize, hire and fire to that value. But if you aren't going to do that, at least have the courtesy and honesty to delete that...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | December 13, 2010; 02:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

Four ways to evaluate such a big decision

There is one area in which leaders cannot reverse: integrity. You can change policy, but you cannot compromise principle. As straightforward as this seems, all too often we have seen...

By John Baldoni | November 22, 2010; 07:47 PM ET | Comments (3)

Avoid backlash in the first place

Remember, no one likes change done to them; while most people willingly support change that they are involved in creating...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | November 22, 2010; 02:10 PM ET | Comments (2)

Worse than mere hubris

If one merely thinks a proposal is "a good idea" and could be helpful, it is not leadership but hubris to try to impose it against the public will. In the private sector, that bar of "necessity" is very unlikely ever to be reached...

By Mickey Edwards | November 22, 2010; 11:33 AM ET | Comments (5)

'Rapid' turnarounds can be years in the making

The fundamentals of our economy and the talent of our people are strong, but it is our debt and entitlement programs that stall our recovery and long-term profitability as a nation. As with GM, rapid turnaround can come, but it will take hard choices and the courage to reset programs like social security and Medicare...

By Robert Goodwin | November 19, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (0)

When culture eats strategy

There's a tendency in struggling organizations to focus on fixing systems and processes, as if structural repairs are all that stands between current problems and success. Certainly, GM did plenty of tinkering over the years, but it wasn't enough. That's because often it's the organizational culture--the day-to-day behaviors and beliefs and attitudes of employees at all levels--that needs changing...

By John R. Ryan | November 17, 2010; 02:35 PM ET | Comments (1)

How to save a company from demise

If culture is, as Terry Deal states, "the way we do things around here;" then corporate leadership must question the underlying assumptions that drive the behaviors of those within the company. Many assumptions are unconscious and have a dramatic effect on operations; surfacing them is critical to a company's ability to change. An integrated approach to leadership means...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | November 17, 2010; 10:55 AM ET | Comments (1)

The danger of complacency

In the army, leadership is continuously cycled. Lieutenants tend to only be a platoon leader for 15 months and then become an executive officer or take another staff position. Captains command companies for no longer than 24 months. Further, any military family can relate to the saying, "Home is where the Army sends you." This consistent leadership change keeps unit atmosphere continuously fresh, preventing complacency issues like GM had...

By West Point Cadets | November 16, 2010; 10:31 AM ET | Comments (3)

Combat insularity, confront reality

Failure to confront reality doomed General Motors, as it has many other companies. When you are really big, you tend to lose the hunger for excellence that many smaller companies have. In its early days, General Motors was a formidable competitor. It understood its customers and...

By John Baldoni | November 16, 2010; 10:18 AM ET | Comments (1)

Mapping GM's decline

It was a failure of leadership as astounding and momentous as the company's early achievement. Time will tell if the newly profitable automaker has truly overcome the last three decades of its own history and created an organization as committed to brave, effective and conscientious stewardship as the one that grabbed the industry gauntlet...

By Nancy Koehn | November 16, 2010; 10:08 AM ET | Comments (2)

Prior success is a powerful narcotic

Sometimes it takes a clear threat to organizational survival to prompt a new way of doing business that is responsive to changes outside of the company. As we have seen with General Motors before the bankruptcy, sometimes even that is not enough...

By George Reed | November 16, 2010; 10:02 AM ET | Comments (1)

The 'mechanics' of leadership

Remember when Rick Wagoner flew by private jet to DC to ask for a bailout? GM's executives ignored the seemingly obvious cost-cutting measure of reducing executive pay--something Toyota enacted without government instruction. A sense of "just" compensation--legitimate or not--prevents both union leaders and executives from making the obvious decision to cut costs...

By Coro Fellows | November 16, 2010; 12:34 AM ET | Comments (1)

GM's 'arrogance' virus

They arrogantly believed that foreign manufacturers were likely to produce lesser products that the American public wouldn't purchase. That is until Toyota came along and ate GM's lunch, Honda their breakfast and European manufacturers their dinner. By the way, GM would be wise to watch out for both Subaru and Hyundai, who are as we speak nibbling on pre-dinner hors d'oeuvres...

By Alaina Love | November 15, 2010; 05:37 PM ET | Comments (3)

Too big to U-turn

A company is asking for trouble when it becomes so big, when its profits are so great, that it believes it can do no wrong. GM's woes are the woes of a company that stopped scanning the landscape to see how the industry could be changing, a company that stuck to the same old formula for success and neglected true innovation, a company that forgot that what worked yesterday won't necessarily work today...

By Yash Gupta | November 15, 2010; 03:57 PM ET | Comments (0)

Laud the White House, not Woodward Ave

A mess as big as GM's could not have been fixed this quickly without the U.S bankruptcy code that allowed GM to wipe out its debt and the millions of dollars infused into the restructured company by the Obama Administration. This took guts and calm at a time when there was no good economic news and vigorous political opposition...

By Kathryn Kolbert | November 15, 2010; 01:18 PM ET | Comments (5)

Reviving a boiled frog

It is so much easier for leaders to rally the troops in response to crisis, because the rationale for change--the "burning bridge"--is evident. But today our organizations are dealing with forces that are so dynamic and fast moving that to wait until there is proof of crisis is to respond far too late. The way that the accelerated pace of change drastically shortens response time was once explained to me in the following manner...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | November 15, 2010; 01:11 PM ET | Comments (0)

How it can pay off for women to work abroad

While women are increasingly taking the international route, support structures have not necessarily caught up. A study by Mercer Human Resource Consulting showed that female expatriates are more likely than males to leave their partners at home when on assignment and are less likely than their male counterparts to have a partner prior to going on assignment.

By Selena Rezvani | November 12, 2010; 11:34 AM ET | Comments (2)

Every day is election day

It's hard--probably impossible--to get everyone behind you, and good leaders will always get feedback from their teams that is surprising, even disappointing. But good leaders headed to greatness are those who brush off the dust, check their egos, listen...

By Susan Peters | November 2, 2010; 11:04 AM ET | Comments (2)

Appraise the past to build the future

There is no better avenue for swift strengthening of one's leadership than to uncompromisingly review the immediate past. If President Obama and his team can dissect what went well and what did not in the first two years, their leadership of the second two will be far better for...

By Michael Useem | November 1, 2010; 06:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Take a deep breath

What that means for a leader is that setbacks, even those personally directed at your leadership, are not about you as a person; they are about you as a leader. You must consider such feedback or setback as a challenge. What you do after being tested is the measure of your...

By John Baldoni | November 1, 2010; 05:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Acknowledge the reality

I once asked an executive team what they were going to do with the devastating results of an employee survey. The managers' first reaction was, "Well, we certainly can't post those!" To which, I replied, "Why not?...

By Carol Kinsey Goman | November 1, 2010; 02:33 PM ET | Comments (2)

Fighting gender fatigue

At a time when companies are looking for any unturned stone to improve their financials, it seems like idiocy not to leverage women. Study after study documents that companies with more gender-balanced leadership teams see better financial results. And yet even in this economy, we find ourselves at a standstill. If the inclusion argument was not enough of a reason to increase women's proportion, I thought surely the business case would get CEOs' attention.

By Selena Rezvani | October 29, 2010; 01:51 PM ET | Comments (24)

Good business vs good television

The seeds of 21st-century leadership are evident in much of good popular culture-as are the signs of the times that we abandoned long ago, usually for the better. Today's forward-thinking leaders are connected...

By Susan Peters | October 20, 2010; 10:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Go against the grain

As much as we admire leaders for exerting leadership against the odds, there are times when a leader who goes against the grain is doomed to failure. We see this happening often with CEOs. They are so eager to put their stamp on the organization (which is good) that they do not give the organization time to digest new directives (which is not good). So here are...

By John Baldoni | October 12, 2010; 09:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Zuckerberg's on his way

Facebook's popularity has often spoken for itself. But as Facebook grows beyond 500 million global users, readies one of the most hotly anticipated IPOs in recent memory, and finds itself the subject of a controversial new film, that all must change. Zuckerberg's stakeholder community has grown exponentially-and he is about to be more dependent on it than ever before. With investors...

By Robert Goodwin | October 7, 2010; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (1)

Game is good, but sometimes you can win without it

More generally, chief executive officers do not face the same "outside game" requirements as, say, political leaders. CEOs sell a product, while politicians are the product. Campaigning is inherently linked to a candidate's image because voters...

By Coro Fellows | October 7, 2010; 11:40 AM ET | Comments (1)

Matching 'outside game' to 'inside self'

Our culture still tends to equate extroversion with leadership and introversion with followership. The former is perceived as active (good), and the latter as passive (bad). Much too frequently, a quiet demeanor and reflective deliberation are not seen as leadership behaviors; while verbal, outgoing, decisive action is. I find it irresponsible to attempt to coerce someone who is being authentic into an acceptable, conventional role or societal stereotype of...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | October 6, 2010; 02:13 PM ET | Comments (0)

Zuckerberg's expensive lesson

Who wants to take on such an undertaking when there are not enough hours in the day to manage a company, build a market and deliver on the organization's promise to customers, employees and shareholders? (One can almost hear executives of different stripes and spots asking themselves this under their breath.) But this is not the relevant question. The key question is: which leader can afford not to develop a good outside game? And at this moment in history, the answer is...

By Nancy Koehn | October 6, 2010; 02:00 PM ET | Comments (1)

Zuckerberg rightly focuses on his 'inside game'

The very purpose of Facebook is to keep people informed about each other, not about Mark Zuckerberg, and he seems to be leading the organization effectively. His focus is on his "inside game" of continually making Facebook better every day, which he seems to be doing quite well. Perhaps the best "outside game" is a good "inside game".

By West Point Cadets | October 5, 2010; 11:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leadership brand is more than a buzz word

A leader's brand radiates throughout the organization but it also carries to the outside. When the CEO is respected, it casts a halo of excellence around the organization. The prime example of this is Steve Jobs at Apple; his vision is Apple's mission. Similarly...

By John Baldoni | October 4, 2010; 10:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

Zuckerberg doesn't live his own company's story

one aspect of the Zuckerberg tale is fascinating for students of leadership: leaders should have a story to tell and they should embody that story in their own lives. Zuckerberg's story is about the power of connections and about the limits of privacy...

By Howard Gardner | October 4, 2010; 01:55 PM ET | Comments (0)

It's refreshing that Zuckerberg focuses on 'inside game'

It is true that the CEO represents the corporate brand, so attention must be paid to appearances and image as the "marketer in chief." But this must be balanced with "inside game," working diligently for shareholders and stakeholders to whom...

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | October 4, 2010; 01:35 PM ET | Comments (0)

When the going gets tough, the tough get...

In the case of strategic advice to a president, his senior military advisers must give him their best advice as they see it, no matter how painful. When faced with a desire to define an end state--and it is not clear that was the entire question at issue with the president in regard to Afghanistan--his military advisers...

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | September 28, 2010; 03:32 PM ET | Comments (0)

Leaders use advisers, not the other way around

President Obama's efforts to impose his views on the conduct of the war in Afghanistan bring to mind the example of an earlier president, Abraham Lincoln. During the first three years of the Civil War, Lincoln was served by military leaders who were either less than competent or...

By John Baldoni | September 28, 2010; 09:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leaders beget leaders

Call it "distributed leadership" or another term of academic jargon, it's the critical attribute that has real leaders empowering their subordinates and colleagues to make critical decisions for the organization.

By Ken Adelman | September 22, 2010; 04:22 PM ET | Comments (1)

What successful decentralized leadership looks like

Leadership does not belong solely to people with titles or even big reputations. Leaders come in all persuasions and personalities. A denominator common to leaders is a willingness...

By John Baldoni | September 21, 2010; 10:13 AM ET | Comments (1)

What's next for Gen Y women?

That the daughters of the feminist revolution are primed to balance the leadership ranks is an understatement. They represent a path to correcting women's low representation in top echelons of government. And what group, if not Gen Y women, is the answer to Fortune 500 boards and management teams becoming more gender balanced? Between their education and outlook, Gen Y women seem to be the answer.

By Selena Rezvani | September 17, 2010; 09:23 AM ET | Comments (9)

Get ahead of the crowd

We still need strong leaders, but we need to them to be responsive to change as well as willing to delegate control in order...

By John Baldoni | September 14, 2010; 11:53 AM ET | Comments (0)

Managing the tension between intent and impact

Leadership is not value neutral; some values serve a positive social purpose and some do not. The espoused reason for the existence of Craigslist was at risk of being overshadowed by those who values are the commercialization of sexual expression. A leader would ask himself whether...

By Katherine Tyler Scott | September 8, 2010; 11:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Stick to your principles Craig!

Like Craig Newmark, I am a vigorous advocate of the First Amendment and an open internet. Government should not prohibit nor interfere in the content of Craigslist's ads. Where there is concrete evidence of criminal activity or obscenity, the government can request that particular ads be taken down. Craigslist can then make decisions on a case by case basis. But pressure from the government for removal of all ads...

By Kathryn Kolbert | September 8, 2010; 11:09 AM ET | Comments (0)

Tactical flexibility, Reagan-style

Ronald Reagan set the leadership model here - no, not on "prostitution and casual sex," but on remaining firm on strategic goals yet loose on interim measures. Reagan's strategic goals were clear and remarkably consistent. His final address as president in January 1989 featured...

By Ken Adelman | September 7, 2010; 01:10 PM ET | Comments (0)

Craigslist changed policy, not principles

Craiglists's policies put a premium on free expression. That is fine, but when it has been shown that some users of Craigslist have abused that privilege and using it to purvey and procure sex services, management is within its rights to change the policy. It can put limits on free expression...

By John Baldoni | September 7, 2010; 12:17 PM ET | Comments (0)

Adopting principles for profit is weak leadership

In today's economy, we all too often see corporations and leaders using principled arguments when they are convenient and when they are profitable. The question of the essence of leadership, in this case, boils down to how transparent and consistent Craig Newmark has been about the issues of...

By Doug Guthrie | September 7, 2010; 11:52 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leaders must justify the value of their principles

Leaders need core principles, carefully arrived at, clearly articulated, maintained steadfastly even in the face of challenges. Otherwise, others will simply be confused by their actions and the reasons for them. But anyone who believes that core values are...

By Howard Gardner | September 7, 2010; 10:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Voluntary standards not the same as mandatory law

Leaders have significant freedom of action in determining whether voluntary standards apply in all cases or require some modification.They have far less freedom in responding to the dictates of law.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | September 7, 2010; 10:21 AM ET | Comments (1)

Confusing leadership and values

I believe that this question confuses 'leadership' and 'values'. Different people can have different values and still demonstrate leadership. If Craig Newmark wants to take a stand and be a leader in the fight for free expression, free markets and an open internet...

By Marshall Goldsmith | September 7, 2010; 10:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Newmark fighting for free speech, upholding the law

In this instance, Craig Newmark and his colleagues are doing the right thing in trying to stick by their ideals. That's because from everything I've read, the law is quite clear: publishers of advertising content are not responsible for...

By Jeffrey Pfeffer | September 7, 2010; 08:42 AM ET | Comments (3)

Falling back on the same old song

A leader needs a compass to guide the way through the uncertainty that always comes with tough decisions. Malcom X reminds us that "If you don't stand for something you will fall for anything." But falling back on the same map for every question that comes up is...

By Donald Kettl | September 7, 2010; 08:35 AM ET | Comments (0)

Craigslist founder saw the writing on the wall

The art of leadership is knowing when to stick to your guns and when to accommodate other views. Newmark saw the handwriting on the wall. He was not willing to risk sacrificing the franchise on the altar of freedom to advertise the forced sexual exploitation of young women.

By Marty Linsky | September 7, 2010; 08:28 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leadership's next frontier: Changing how we use our words and bodies

As we try to find a lingua franca both genders can use, new research offers some norm-shifting ideas. Whether you're a man or woman, putting your body in positions that speak power makes you feel good. See yourself as...

By Sharon Meers | August 27, 2010; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (21)

When to call all hands on deck

As much as we want our leaders responsive to the crisis at hand, leaders need to be careful they do not overplay the urgency card. For example, as in Chrysler's case, Marchionne wanted all his key executives working hard to ensure survivability. That works well in the short run, but over the long haul the price of such work can be expensive.

By John Baldoni | August 17, 2010; 08:39 AM ET | Comments (2)

Hurd shouldn't get a golden parachute

Companies can attract the leaders they want, and the public will feel a lot more kindly toward the company that does not reward negligent executives with golden parachutes. In the end of the day, it is rebuilding the public's trust and respect in the corporations that will be golden not the parachutes.

By Peter Hart | August 13, 2010; 08:52 AM ET | Comments (1)

No choice but to remove Hurd

As much as they may have wished to retain him it is impossible to see how they could have done so without severely undercutting his ability to lead and the corporation's reputation.

By Slade Gorton | August 10, 2010; 04:58 PM ET | Comments (0)

Board acted 'admirably' to remove Mark Hurd

The one thing a board must preserve is the good reputation and trust in a company. A responsible board would never squander the good name of the Company. In the end, the HP board chose the Company's character over the CEO's competence.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | August 10, 2010; 09:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Mark Hurd exits speaks for itself

The speed and manner of Hurd's resignation increases the likelihood that working for HP will continue to mean something special. Redeeming that likelihood is the challenge for the next leadership, thousands of supporting employees, and, especially, the Board.

By Howard Gardner | August 9, 2010; 05:16 PM ET | Comments (5)

HP needs a leader who is a role model

Leadership is about being a role model for the entire organization; it's about leading your people with character, compassion, competence, and constancy of purpose. On this score, Hurd has come up empty, even if the abuse was only "modest."

By Yash Gupta | August 9, 2010; 05:05 PM ET | Comments (2)

HP resignation: A breach of trust

Words are cheap. Clever public relations professionals can fashion prose that makes their companies seem not only prosperous and profitable but also as pure as the driven snow. While there may seem little harm in such statements, the problem is that so few of us, either inside or outside the company, believe it

By John Baldoni | August 9, 2010; 03:45 PM ET | Comments (3)

Our 'shut-eye' corporate sentries

Like Ken Lay before him, Tony Hayward's failing was not simply his myopia or cupidity or incompetence. It was his inability to create a company culture open to reality.

By Warren Bennis | July 28, 2010; 06:00 PM ET | Comments (2)

Don't let a few bad apples spoil the bunch

CEO heroes exist all around us. Somehow America has forgotten that our vibrant economy, the mass majority of our jobs, and the products we use every day are a result of strong business leadership.

By Amy M. Wilkinson | July 28, 2010; 11:19 AM ET | Comments (3)

Heroes and villians have always been there

Great leaders, and terrible leaders have been with us throughout our history. Some things never change.

By Marshall Goldsmith | July 28, 2010; 09:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

What would JP Morgan do?

In crisis, true heroes realize that their interests are inexorably tied to those of the people that depend on them.

By Robert Goodwin | July 28, 2010; 07:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

Neither heroes nor villians

CEOs are human beings who have a very big job, and who, in order to do that job well, need and deserve the support of their leadership team, their board, their family, and a host of other stakeholders. They do not need to be put on a pedestal.

By Erika James | July 27, 2010; 11:20 AM ET | Comments (7)

Fragile reputations

Even in difficult times there are CEOs who have managed to stay on their slippery pedestals.

By Michael Maccoby | July 27, 2010; 11:00 AM ET | Comments (1)

CEOs get booed when they lose too

Soon, we hope, a handful of CEOs will begin to invest and to hire and we'll have heroes again, however briefly.

By Slade Gorton | July 27, 2010; 10:46 AM ET | Comments (0)

Out with the hero label, in with a lunch bucket attitude

Leadership, like character, is what you do when the choices are hard. When things are booming, it can be fun to grow the business, introducing new products and services, hiring new employees, and reaping strong profits. Tough times mean facilities closings, layoffs, and bearish earnings.

By John Baldoni | July 27, 2010; 10:37 AM ET | Comments (2)

The heroes of Omaha Beach

Sitting on Omaha Beach today, it's hard for me to put the words "corporate hero" together.

By Lt. Col. Todd Henshaw (Ret.) | July 26, 2010; 04:32 PM ET | Comments (13)

Needed: SuperHUMANS not superheroes

Taking BP out of the whole it dug itself into will require a leader who's part experienced oil & gas executive, part government relations specialist, part statesman, part crisis manager, part credible spokesperson, part cheerleader, part trusted coach.

By Angel Cabrera | July 26, 2010; 04:15 PM ET | Comments (2)

Meet today's corporate heroes

It's time to focus more on the successes of CEOs who are making a positive difference and less on individual failures.

By Bill George | July 26, 2010; 03:55 PM ET | Comments (1)

Uncritical admiration of a 5-year-old

When asked about the quality he wanted most in his generals, Napoleon replied, "Luck."

By Sir Andrew Likierman | July 26, 2010; 02:49 PM ET | Comments (0)

Best heroes are the quietest

I don't think we lack any CEO heroes. But I suspect that the true heroes are largely unsung, and prefer to remain that way.

By Howard Gardner | July 26, 2010; 02:44 PM ET | Comments (6)

Need a hero? Check out DaVita's Kent Thiry

How do we know a business hero when we see one? When we see CEOs who understand the powerful connection between human values and economic value.

By William C. Taylor | July 26, 2010; 02:28 PM ET | Comments (2)

The power of uncertainty

Business investors hate uncertainties over which they have no control. Unless the administration can placate business leaders investment will remain weak.

By Slade Gorton | July 8, 2010; 11:32 AM ET | Comments (0)

Stormy Weather

If we cannot as a nation move away from ideologically stimulated tribal warfare and scapegoating, we are in for a very unpleasant future.

By Gen. Monty Meigs (Ret.) | July 6, 2010; 12:09 PM ET | Comments (0)

One for one, and all for me

Rather than accept any responsibility for generating our economic crisis or responding to government and taxpayers urgent requests to loosen up purse strings and display some of the optimism they profess to consumers, business leaders respond with complaints about 'anti-business' attitudes.

By Amy Fraher | July 5, 2010; 06:11 PM ET | Comments (1)

He who cast the first stone

The Wall Street financial crisis has brought the economy to its knees and now the corporate sector has the audacity to blame government for the catastrophe?

By Elizabeth Sherman | July 5, 2010; 05:31 PM ET | Comments (2)

Bad refereeing

For big business to now claim that the government is "anti-business" is like the umpire complaining about how badly his game was refereed.

By Kathryn Kolbert | July 5, 2010; 05:27 PM ET | Comments (2)

All about the benjamins

We are living in a period of great uncertainty. When business leaders feel that there is a good chance of a solid economic recovery, they will invest. We have been in business cycles before. This is not the 'end of the world'.

By Marshall Goldsmith | July 5, 2010; 05:21 PM ET | Comments (11)

Fragility of political capital

The leadership lesson of the oil spill? Initial public perceptions harden quickly, take on a life of their own, and are vastly more difficult to change than to set in the first place.

By Bill Shore | June 17, 2010; 04:27 PM ET | Comments (0)

Small gaffe, big generosity

I hate to see BP chairman's gaffe overshadow the fact that BP has now stepped up to put $20 billion dollars in escrow and has given Kenneth Feinberg the ability to dole it out to those in need.

By Kathryn Kolbert | June 17, 2010; 04:23 PM ET | Comments (1)

Warmth 101 for BP chairman

There are two sets of nonverbal signals that are especially important to our assessment of leaders: warmth and confidence.

By Carol Kinsey Goman | June 17, 2010; 04:19 PM ET | Comments (0)

On her own terms

"Women grow tired of over-working in the corporate world without the same rewards they see their male peers getting."

By Selena Rezvani | June 10, 2010; 10:54 AM ET | Comments (4)

Zuckerberg's empty-nest syndrome

And as parents will tell you, there is a great sense of accomplishment not in raising children, but watching them handle challenges on their own.

By Robert Goodwin | June 9, 2010; 02:58 PM ET | Comments (1)

What COO Sheryl Sandberg brings

If the examples of Google and Apple demonstrate anything, they point to the need to support innovative founders.

By Amy M. Wilkinson | June 9, 2010; 02:46 PM ET | Comments (7)

Facebook's urgent task

Facebook must retain the creative drive and bold innovation that gave it life while simultaneously ensuring that it will have a culture of ethical practices and trustworthy service.

By Katherine Tyler Scott | June 9, 2010; 12:59 PM ET | Comments (0)

Step up or step aside

Fred Smith founded Federal Express in 1971 - and he still runs it today with 280,000 employees.

By Michael Useem | June 8, 2010; 05:01 PM ET | Comments (0)

groupthink@facebook.com

How did Facebook -- or its leader -- become fixated on such a complex non-user-friendly solution as the only possibility?

By Amy Fraher | June 8, 2010; 03:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Seed planters not bean counters

The wise entrepreneurs know when to exit.

By Yash Gupta | June 8, 2010; 12:10 PM ET | Comments (4)

When a visionary needs a partner

As the Facebook grows Zuckerberg may, like Steve Jobs, lack the people skills and organizational knowledge needed to run a complex company.

By Michael Maccoby | June 8, 2010; 11:51 AM ET | Comments (0)

Maybe Mark needs a mentor

Bringing in a different set of eyes and ears may provide Zuckerberg with the wisdom he needs to maintain 'command and control' over a company that is still growing exponentially.

By West Point Cadets | June 8, 2010; 09:50 AM ET | Comments (0)

New leaders come from within

There are three general and related "laws" that make the difference between success and failure in selecting a new leader.

By Warren Bennis | June 8, 2010; 06:40 AM ET | Comments (0)

Facebook's human pyramid

As we've learned from the cheerleaders building their human pyramids, the person as the top is not the most important: It's the bottom and middle that do the heavy lifting.

By Kathryn Kolbert | June 8, 2010; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (0)

Wisdom Zuckerberg doesn't yet have

Leadership wisdom is something that accrues with age and experience: It's no wonder that Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook is struggling with large issues.

By John Baldoni | June 8, 2010; 06:25 AM ET | Comments (0)

Friending the next leader

Great leaders always put their company before themselves, and if that means handing over the reins to someone else, they'll be the one arguing forcefully for that change.

By Jon Cowan | June 8, 2010; 06:19 AM ET | Comments (0)

Leaps of faith

Responding to a crisis such as the volcanic earthquake in Iceland takes more than a gut feeling.

By Columbia University students | April 21, 2010; 02:07 PM ET | Comments (0)

'Mission accomplished?'

Airline CEOs taking to the skies this week in test flights, like George Bush declaring 'mission accomplished' in 2003, was premature and dangerously distracting.

By Amy Fraher | April 21, 2010; 01:56 PM ET | Comments (1)

Fly your leadership flag

Leaders are symbols themselves - and those most affected by disaster situations want to see the flag raised high.

By Robert Goodwin | April 21, 2010; 01:42 PM ET | Comments (0)

Hope for the future

On a day-to-day level, senior leaders may not impact us that much. But when crisis hits, senior leaders are the ones who can provide meaning and give hope.

By Col. Charles D. Allen | April 20, 2010; 03:51 PM ET | Comments (0)

Quiet symbolism

Symbolism doesn't have to be dramatic, but it's a big factor in keeping a team together and getting results.

By Barry Salzberg | April 20, 2010; 11:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

What is humanly possible

In situations where fear can paralyze followers, leaders can make a difference when they simply take action.

By West Point Cadets | April 20, 2010; 11:23 AM ET | Comments (5)

Doing rather than saying

For today's skeptical employee audiences, rhetoric without action quickly disintegrates into empty slogans and company propaganda.

By Carol Kinsey Goman | April 20, 2010; 10:49 AM ET | Comments (0)

Rising to the occasion

Leadership is as much about symbolism as about anything else. By taking part in these test flights, the CEOs of British Airways and KLM are letting passengers know that they are confident that air travel is safe again.

By Yash Gupta | April 20, 2010; 10:43 AM ET | Comments (1)

Receding airlines

It was Sy Sperling who showed what it meant to share risk with your customers: 'I'm not only the Hair Club president, I'm also a client.'

By Coro Fellows | April 20, 2010; 05:55 AM ET | Comments (2)

Present, visible and empathetic

We know the CEOs aren't the ones running experiments on the ash, but we want them on that plane. We feel safer.

By Ed O'Malley | April 20, 2010; 05:47 AM ET | Comments (0)

Not of their making

Perhaps working in the airlines favor more than symbolism is the fact that the crisis was not necessarily one of their own making.

By Erika James | April 20, 2010; 05:38 AM ET | Comments (0)

Injecting his own vaccine

Jonas Salk injected himself with the polio vaccine to show the world that he truly believed it was safe. He lived his commitment.

By Marshall Goldsmith | April 20, 2010; 05:22 AM ET | Comments (0)

The undercover bosses

By showing that they are not above the crisis, but rather in the crisis with everyone else, KLM's Hartman and British Airways' Walsh are being the not-so-undercover bosses that everyone wants.

By Scott DeRue | April 20, 2010; 05:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Crazy Horse in action

Every organization should be so fortunate as to be led by men and women who know how to lead from the front.

By John Baldoni | April 20, 2010; 05:10 AM ET | Comments (0)

Personal committment

It is extremely important for leaders to demonstrate their personal commitment to an uncertain path they propose pursuing.

By George Daly | April 20, 2010; 05:06 AM ET | Comments (0)

Live in Happyville

Putting one's money where one's mouth is is not only good common sense; it might also form the basis for good corporate and perhaps even regulatory policy.

By Paul R. Portney | April 20, 2010; 05:01 AM ET | Comments (0)

God still in charge

The symbolic actions of the airline executives is good public relations.

By Kurt Schmoke | April 20, 2010; 04:59 AM ET | Comments (0)

Defining your loyalties

It might just be because I'm in the military, but as I see it, any leader's duty, military or business, is to do the right thing.

By West Point Cadets | March 25, 2010; 10:51 AM ET | Comments (6)

It's not just China

For Google, losing the faith and commitment of its employees would be much worse than any dollar lost--or, in this case, a lost Chinese Yuan.

By Scott DeRue | March 25, 2010; 10:44 AM ET | Comments (0)

'Do no evil'

When an organization has the capacity and courage to act on values that are fundamental to their operations, its leaders must act or risk undermining the group's purpose and foundations.

By Coro Fellows | March 25, 2010; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (0)

Competitors, take note

Google is not the first company to resolve the conflict between country law and company ethics in favor of ethics. But its very public decision will make other companies rethink their own decisions.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | March 25, 2010; 06:20 AM ET | Comments (4)

Short answer: Never

If corporate executive find they are actually considering putting profit ahead of humanity, they should reflect on how they lost their moral compass.

By Mickey Edwards | March 25, 2010; 06:16 AM ET | Comments (0)

Apologize the Toyota way

No one is venerated more in Toyota culture than the engineer. It is these very engineers who must make good on Toyota's many public apologies, by fixing the design flaws.

By John Baldoni | February 25, 2010; 05:45 AM ET | Comments (5)

Failing its own test

Toyota failure stems from not meeting the standards it had set for itself.

By Coro Fellows | February 11, 2010; 01:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Why CEOs fail: the Toyota edition

Good organizations can juggle many priorities of course but if the senior team does not follow through on these priorities, that is, doing what they say they will do, things fall apart.

By John Baldoni | February 11, 2010; 10:42 AM ET | Comments (0)

Forgetting greatness

The fatal mistake I have seen leaders make is when they lose the clear purpose that made them great.

By Michael Maccoby | February 11, 2010; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (22)

Painfully simple failure

Toyota's leaders forget to obsessively remind their people about what's important: safety and reliability.

By Warren Bennis | February 11, 2010; 10:01 AM ET | Comments (1)

Flunking crisis management 101

Although the tenets of good crisis management are widely known -- communicate early and often -- there is little sign the Toyota CEO scrambled the planes in time.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | February 11, 2010; 09:56 AM ET | Comments (1)

Toyota's pride accelerates trouble

Early in this recall debacle, Toyota seemed more concerned with self-preservation than concern for customers.

By John Baldoni | February 4, 2010; 04:35 PM ET | Comments (9)

Fuel for the journey

Like Rockefeller and Carnegie, Steve Jobs understands that in a time of great transformation, much is up for grabs.

By Nancy Koehn | February 1, 2010; 03:48 PM ET | Comments (0)

Logical leaps into the future

Apple has become organizationally adept at inventing the future.

By Roger Martin | February 1, 2010; 06:07 AM ET | Comments (0)

Bounding over generations

The young techies at Apple stores have a benevolent, patient "you-can-do-it" attitude that soothes the confused boomers who sheepishly come into the store.

By Juana Bordas | January 29, 2010; 01:38 PM ET | Comments (0)

Right brain, left brain

If you're aiming for the level of success Apple has enjoyed, you need the kind of synergy its leaders have created between the creative and business sides of the company.

By Yash Gupta | January 29, 2010; 01:32 PM ET | Comments (1)

Making vertical integration work

Apple has proven, where others have failed, that a vertically integrated company can win -- and it takes a strong leader like Steve Jobs to keep internal agendas in check.

By David Flynn | January 29, 2010; 01:26 PM ET | Comments (5)

A forceful passion

Steve Jobs is a text-book example of a brilliant productive narcissist.

By Michael Maccoby | January 29, 2010; 08:19 AM ET | Comments (2)

Camped outside their door

Good leadership is, essentially, good storytelling. Apple's products aren't just objects, they are integral parts of consumers' daily stories.

By Coro Fellows | January 28, 2010; 03:16 PM ET | Comments (0)

'Insanely great' leadership

For all the stories of his ego and pushing people too hard, Steve Jobs still manages to inspire and lead.

By Deborah Ancona | January 28, 2010; 02:30 PM ET | Comments (1)

It's always been personal

How many times have you inquired about a product at a store, and the clerk answers with the word "we"?

By John Baldoni | January 28, 2010; 02:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Secret Apple-sauce

The code is cracked: Put on your apron and start cooking like Apple.

By Alaina Love | January 28, 2010; 02:11 PM ET | Comments (3)

Venture capital over charity

Would the funds that go to philanthropy be better spent as venture capital to create new products and jobs? When it comes to creating public goods, the greatest corporate contributions are employment and good products.

By Michael Maccoby | November 19, 2009; 03:22 PM ET | Comments (2)

The best of corporate philanthropy

As is the case with most leadership challenges, marshaling support in corporate philanthropy for investments that may not pay off until the long-term is the toughest task of all.

By Bill Shore | November 19, 2009; 10:52 AM ET | Comments (1)

Big cities, corporate solutions

The philanthropy that has served cities well in recent years is that which helps bring together government agencies, local charities and other groups to address hard-to-solve problems.

By Kurt Schmoke | November 18, 2009; 03:26 PM ET | Comments (0)

Defining corporate citizenship

One of the obligations of corporate citizenship is to provide philanthropic support for important "social goods" where neither the market nor the government do an adequate job.

By Benjamin W. Heineman, Jr. | November 18, 2009; 12:24 PM ET | Comments (0)

Dividends of giving

Stock price mostly indicates past performance; it might not indicate where a company is going. Philanthropy, on the other hand, is very much about the future.

By Yash Gupta | November 17, 2009; 10:20 AM ET | Comments (0)

Getting our hands dirty

Today, employees and leaders want to be engaged--humanly engaged, peer-to-peer, with those whom we are helping.

By Barry Salzberg | November 17, 2009; 10:15 AM ET | Comments (0)

What profit can't solve

Making social problems a business focus is great, but what happens when addressing social issues is no longer seen as profitable? We still need corporate philanthropy.

By Coro Fellows | November 17, 2009; 07:02 AM ET | Comments (4)

The biggest dollars

Rather than focusing a small percentage of revenue toward philanthropy, companies should be examining the impact of their product and how they spend the bigger dollars.

By Seth Goldman | November 17, 2009; 06:50 AM ET | Comments (33)

Too many chicken dinners

For corporations to be relevant in promoting social good, they should start with this question: "What would it look like for our company to exercise civic leadership?"

By Ed O'Malley | November 17, 2009; 06:44 AM ET | Comments (2)

'So long, sucker'

The behaviors of many big banks portends a return to an economy of risky behavior, where companies seem to salute no flag but their own corporate logo and worship no God but the almighty dollar.

By Andy Stern | November 17, 2009; 06:33 AM ET | Comments (16)

Milton Friedman's mistake

Thoughtful corporate philanthropy, like that practiced by Target, Wal Mart, Merck, Novartis, Exxon, Goldman Sachs and many other companies is capitalism at its best.

By Bill George | November 17, 2009; 06:30 AM ET | Comments (2)

Acid test of strategy

Sharp distinctions between how you do business and how you serve society, how you make money and how you make a contribution, are irrelevant.

By William C. Taylor | November 17, 2009; 06:11 AM ET | Comments (3)

Lending talent

Corporate philanthropy is not just about money, but about lending human talent and organizational capabilities not available elsewhere.

By Angel Cabrera | November 17, 2009; 06:06 AM ET | Comments (2)

 
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