Leadership Profiles

Did Columbus take undue credit?

June 14, 2010
Every October, we celebrate Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the New World. What history seems to have glossed over is some poor leadership on his part.

A Bronx bomber

June 14, 2010

Former CBS CEO William Paley is considered a genius of television management, having helped make CBS the most-watched network each year from 1955 through 1976. But not everything Paley touched turned to gold.

A word to the wise on enforcing rules

June 14, 2010

Part of being a leader is the ability to sort the important from the unimportant. Case in point: U.S. Army generals’ tolerance of Harvey Gough, a colorful Texan whose patriotism and generosity are exceeded only by his tendency to flout the rules.

The plane ride that sparked jet travel

June 14, 2010
In 1950, Boeing President Bill Allen flew in a B-47 jet … and the commercial air industry was never the same. The jet airliner that Boeing later developed under Allen became the Boeing 707, which became the mainstay of jet airline travel well into the 1990s. The lesson: Vision + wise investment = success.

Jockey Martin Garcia’s lucky break

June 14, 2010

When superjockey Martin Garcia won the Preakness Stakes in May—and with it the second jewel in horse racing’s Triple Crown—Terri Terry deserved a chunk of the credit. The deli owner in Pleasanton, Calif., had given Garcia a job in her kitchen years ago, and then took him to her ranch, where he leapt bareback on one of her mares. He was a natural.

The ‘boss’ who stole da Vinci’s resolve

May 23, 2010
As brilliant as he was, Leonardo da Vinci left hundreds of projects and ideas unfinished. It appears that a brief employment under the ruthless Italian duke Cesare Borgia is at least partly to blame.

Anderson Cooper faces fear head-on

May 17, 2010

From his early days as a reporter covering wars in Somalia and Burma and genocide in Rwanda, CNN newsman Anderson Cooper often traveled solo, learning to handle perilous situations—and fear. With experience came wisdom and a greater measure of security, but in the beginning, Cooper overcame fear by plunging in. He simply made a fake press pass, borrowed a camera and went to war.

GM CEO creating a new generation

May 17, 2010
In updating General Motors’ plodding company culture, CEO Edward E. Whitacre Jr. is trying to make the company more nimble—in a makeover akin to converting a family wagon into a Corvette.

If revenge gets the better of you

May 14, 2010
Unless you have a god or goddess willing to intervene on your behalf, it’s never smart to let revenge drive your decisions. Consider the story of Odysseus, who succumbs to anger and slays many of his wife’s suitors. Their families revolt against him and only an intervention from the goddess Athena saves him.

For Spielberg, realism was key

May 14, 2010
When Steven Spielberg released Saving Private Ryan in 1998, Hollywood hadn’t made a successful World War II film in two decades. Yet, it earned $440 million worldwide and won five Academy Awards. How did Spielberg succeed so well where so many others had failed?