Leadership Theories

Plot your direction, make it clear, then go for it

December 3, 2014
Randall Hogan, chairman and chief executive of Pentair, says “thinking right to left” is a key to succeeding as CEO. He defines it as identifying where you are now as a starting point and then articulating a clear goal to reach a different point.

A banker’s unusual approach to analysis

November 3, 2014

Stephen Poloz runs the Bank of Canada, the nation’s central bank. As a central banker, Poloz scrutinizes economic models to predict movements in the global financial system. But Poloz doesn’t just rely on data that he gleans from his computer screen. In addition to scanning models, graphs and economic indicators, he also gathers evidence by interviewing actual people.

The power of contrarian thinking

July 16, 2014
In 1962, editors at the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists judged that the world was perilously close to a nuclear holocaust. It was at this moment that physicist Freeman Dyson, a visionary in math to medicine, weighed in on bomb shelters …

Get more miles from simple strategy

March 6, 2014

Bruce Halle’s competitors keep expanding their service and product offerings to capture a bigger chunk of car owners’ expenditures. Why does Halle resist? Because his strategy is to address what the consumer is actually buying.

Groups wield power at Whole Foods

February 20, 2014
For decades, management experts have praised Jack Welch as a model leader. The former CEO of General Electric was famous for firing the lowest-rated performers every year, causing employees to compete with each other to retain their jobs. John Mackey, co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, rejects that approach.

The flattened hierarchy lives

January 22, 2014
Eileen Fisher’s line of radically simple clothing has a pretty radical leadership structure.

Buying into the company culture

November 21, 2013

Rob Eberle, president and chief executive of Bottomline Technologies, cites three things as his primary roles as CEO: bring in new talent, help his people get better each year and listen to them. “The technology today won’t be the technology tomorrow,” he says. “It’s the people that matter most.”

Are we geniuses after all?

September 2, 2013
Michael Shermer, a contributor to Scientific American and founding publisher of Skeptic magazine, is deeply skeptical of a popular theory that wildly successful “outliers” are mainly the objects of good fortune.

Turning transparency into action

August 29, 2013
Mark Leslie ran two firms before becoming chairman and CEO of Veritas Soft­­ware in 1990. He knew from experience that when senior executives make deci­­sions based on shared information with their employees, it decreases office politics and helps everyone buy into the company’s strategy.

Margaret Thatcher on leadership

July 12, 2013
When former British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher died earlier this year, the media burned up with opinions on the conservative icon. Two things not in doubt are that she was a bold leader and one of the 20th ­century’s heroes.