Business

IKEA’s story: leading by design

May 17, 2012

When Ingvar Kamprad founded IKEA in 1943, he didn’t sell furniture. He sold a variety of goods, including wallets and jewelry. Yet, IKEA became a worldwide success at selling simple, inexpensive assemble-it-yourself furniture through a series of shrewd distribution and positioning moves on Kamprad’s part.

Look beyond your ‘kitchen cabinet’

May 4, 2012
Bob Frisch, author of  Who’s In the Room?, says decisions are typically made by the boss consulting with a small group of people—what he calls the “kitchen cabinet.” And everyone knows that when the boss makes big decisions, he turns to this close group.  Here’s what’s wrong with that…

DuPont’s CEO took helm in a storm

March 23, 2012

Talk about timing. As the economy tanked, Ellen Kullman, long on the short list of possible chiefs at DuPont, became president on Oct. 1, 2008, and CEO a few months later. As the chemical company’s sales fell, Kullman had to decide what should and shouldn’t change. Organizing the company to respond to these trends, Kullman decided on four principles:

Dale Carnegie’s natural-born success

March 13, 2012

Raised on a pig farm, Dale Carnegie moved to New York City, hoping to become an actor. That failed, as did selling trucks and writing Westerns. What worked? Teaching a class in public speaking at a Harlem YMCA. That class would form the basis of his ideas, methods and glorious self-improvement empire surrounding How to Win Friends and Influence People.

What’s in your waste can?

March 8, 2012
“Most of the things in your room right now will eventually become garbage.” That’s the simple idea that in 2001 drove Tom Szaky to launch Terracycle, a company that collects waste and converts it into new products. He says, “Right now is the time for innovation.” Skittles wrappers become a kite; Honest Tea containers become a laptop case …

Wolters Kluwer ‘inside-outsider’ CEO

February 16, 2012

Nancy McKinstry, CEO of the multinational publisher Wolters Kluwer, describes herself as an analytical person. She also calls herself an “insider-outsider” who knows her company thoroughly from the inside but also is an outsider—she became its first non-Dutch CEO and the first woman to lead it. She says she likes hiring people who have overcome adversity because …

The secret weapon of Zappos: patience

February 2, 2012

Online shoe retailer Zappos is known for its knockout customer service. But CEO Tony Hsieh says his secret of success is really about his employees. “Our belief is that if you get the company culture right, most of the other stuff, like great customer service, will just happen.” That includes some unconventional ideas like paying new employees $2,000 to quit…

Jack Dorsey’s two-tech workweek

December 17, 2011

Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey may have found the solution to the interruption-heavy life of a C-suite executive: He themes his days. If he didn’t, he might find it impossible to do his job. Or, rather, jobs.

William Wrigley: Double your pleasure

December 15, 2011
Chewing gum magnate William Wrigley had a lot going for him, although in the beginning, money wasn’t one of them. He arrived in Chicago from Philadelphia in 1891, holding only $32.  “A man’s doubts and fears are his worst enemies,” he said. “He can go ahead and do anything so long as he doesn’t know he can’t do it.”

Innovation: Vehicle to greatness

December 8, 2011
“The only sus­tainable source of competitive advantage is innovation. It’s that simple. And that hard, ” says Andrew Razeghi, who teaches innovation at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University and is an advisor to Fortune 500 companies. He says the real reason for Detroit’s failure to innovate lies in its rewards system …