Strategic Leadership

Customer service when hell freezes over

March 12, 2010

During a lull between monster snowstorms on the East Coast in February, with snowplow operators already in their ninth shift of 12 hours on, 12 hours off, we witnessed a breathtaking performance of how not to lead. It came during a delivery of snow shovels and ice melt to a neighborhood hardware store in Virginia:

Toyota puts brakes on crisis leadership

March 12, 2010

Family-owned businesses don’t get much bigger than Toyota. Yet, both company President Akio Toyoda and his father, honorary Chairman Shoichiro Toyoda, were curiously silent in January and February during the recall of about 8 million cars. It remains to be seen how badly this recall will hurt Toyota’s standing. But the Toyodas’ apparent unwillingness to take the heat sets a poor example.

Tips for talking like a leader

February 12, 2010

Without knowing it, you may be saying things that make you sound less leader-like. Here, courtesy of the editors at Reader’s Digest and Business Management Daily, are some tips that can help you come across better:

A laugh a minute helps you lead

February 12, 2010

If you’ve been a fan of Executive Leadership, you know that leadership lessons may come from anywhere. Steve Cody, a public relations consultant who blogs as The Repman, says he’s learned five things about leadership from practicing stand-up comedy.

Guy Kawasaki’s golden rules

February 12, 2010

Guy Kawasaki made a name for himself as the second software “evangelist” at Apple Computer, convincing others to create software for the new Macintosh from 1983 to 1987.  He recently shared with students at Wharton’s business school his “Ten Commandments” for creating something of value for customers. While he advises to “ignore bozos,” he also admits to being a bozo himself—once making a decision that cost him $2 billion…

3 recessionary problems, 3 solutions

January 11, 2010

The waning days of this recession pose three particular problems: absentee leadership, changing cultures and underperforming employees. Here are three solutions, adapted from “Leading during a downturn”:

Leadership lesson: Why lead when you can slink away?

January 11, 2010

Nobody said managing poor performers would be easy. So don’t manage them. Try these stranger-than-fiction methods of the truly cowardly. Example: Try “team-building.” Instead of working one-on-one with the source of trouble, drag the whole group into “team-building” in hopes that your poor performer will improve.

GM, retooling its leadership

January 11, 2010

Looks like General Motors plans to become even more aggressive in attempting a turnaround with the resignation of Frederick “Fritz” Henderson. The carmaker’s board sees Chairman Edward Whitacre, interim CEO and a former chief at AT&T, as a proactive outsider who has more experience with government oversight, mergers and acquisitions. GM also is looking outside for a new CEO—a dramatic cultural change.

Can AOL’s new CEO revive the brand?

January 11, 2010

Business gurus from Stephen Covey to Sam Walton have extolled the virtues of listening. Now, as AOL’s new CEO Tim Armstrong takes on the most difficult job in media today—reviving a dusty brand—he’s demonstrating the power of listening.

6 risk management mistakes

January 11, 2010

Here are six ways to guard against “black swan events,” those rare but catastrophic disasters that can take everything down with them, adapted from “The Six Mistakes Executives Make in Risk Management.”