Leadership Profiles

Change management lessons from Ford’s Alan Mulally

May 11, 2009

Ford’s chief executive, Alan Mulally, was mocked in 2006 for gathering more than 400 bankers into a ballroom and asking them to mortgage the company’s assets to pay for an overhaul of the carmaker. The cash, he said, would give Ford “a cushion to protect for a recession or other unexpected event.” Here are some take-away lessons from this forward-thinking leader:

Jim Collins on power vs. leadership

May 11, 2009

Asked to look back over 30 years in the context of our tumultuous times, Jim Collins, author of the best-sellers Good to Great and Built to Last, offers these thoughts about where we find ourselves and how to proceed.

Kenny Perry and life as a simple guy

March 13, 2009

PGA golfer Kenny Perry loves cars, golf, his family and his hometown of Franklin, Ky. His dream was to win at the Ryder Cup for Team USA. Perry got exactly what he wanted, and here’s how …

Cisco: Making the change with Web 2.0

January 9, 2009

It pays to give more than lip service to the Web 2.0 trend, with its emphasis on trust and openness. Just look at Cisco Systems. All decisions at Cisco used to be made by the top 10 people in the company, says CEO John Chambers. Today, he is spreading the company’s leadership and decision-making far wider than before.

Joseph Wilson: Xerox’s true grit

December 12, 2008

Joseph C. Wilson, the man behind the first Xerox copier, created an industry from scratch because he was willing to ignore market studies and act on faith. He could imagine people wanting “complicated”—though they said they wanted “simple.” He also possessed these five “quiet leadership” traits that led to his ground-breaking success …

Ulysses S. Grant picked his battles

December 12, 2008

Even in his youth, Ulysses S. Grant picked his battles. Arriving at West Point to study, he decided against arguing with the adjutant about his own name (actually Hiram Ulysses) and accepted the name given to him in a mix-up, realizing it would serve him better than the initials H.U.G.

Jane Addams: ‘truest American’

March 1, 2008
Jane Addams may not be a name you recognize, but she served as one of America’s most influential women and was the first American woman to win a Nobel Peace Prize. Ahead of her time during the “Gilded Age,” she established Chicago’s Hull House, an inner-city community center prototype. Much of her work became the basis for new laws on child labor, juvenile justice, unemployment insurance and elder care. 

Tips from the father of ‘spin’

October 1, 2007
Edward Bernays, father of public relations, swung his trade from propaganda to publicity in the early 20th century. It didn’t matter what he hawked.

Bill Marriott: folksy and fair

September 1, 2007
Like many leaders, Bill Marriott, the 78-year-old chairman and chief executive of Marriott International, finds it difficult to find time for rest and relaxation. His vacations don’t last more than a week, and then he’s off to check on his hotels. He visits about 300 a year. Besides being restless and exacting, Marriott also possesses these other marks of a leader …

A bit of inspiration for slow starters

October 1, 2006
Baseball legend Willie Mays went 1 for his first 26 at-bats in the majors.