Situational Leadership

The power of one idea per sentence

September 30, 2010
Write more clearly and persuasively with this strategy, advises Lynn Gaertner-Johnston: Remember the “power of one idea.”  That is, one idea for each message, one idea for each paragraph, and one idea for each sentence. Here’s how to remake sentences using the “one idea” strategy.

Aflac CEO: It only takes a duck

August 13, 2010

The once-obscure Aflac insures one in four Japanese households because of a duck. And a cat. Actually, a cat duck called Maneki Neko. The cat duck is so popular in Japan that Aflac’s new ad was voted No. 1. How? Why? Ask Aflac’s CEO.

Fly or abort? Ask yourself 3 questions

July 9, 2010

Fighter pilot Rob “Waldo” Waldman had survived six-hour combat missions in Iraq and Kosovo, so he figured that ferrying an F-16 from Spain to South Carolina was no big deal. Right? Wrong. The problem was 3,500 miles of ocean and Waldman had claustrophobia. Fly or abort?

After you make the wrong call

July 9, 2010

Some mistakes are memorable not because they provide pyrotechnics but because they show character. Case in point: Major league umpire Jim Joyce this summer made the most important call of his career, and it was wrong. His mistake cost Detroit’s pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game. After reviewing the video, Joyce immediately admitted that he’d blown the call.

How good leaders face up to adversity

June 14, 2010

After years of studying growth companies, author Keith McFarland noticed that the best ones experienced “a period of pronounced difficulty.” How companies respond to adversity may determine winners and losers, he decided. Superior leaders don’t focus solely on getting through tough times. Instead, they ask fundamental questions, listen and face facts.

How indecision killed the troops

May 14, 2010

All along, Gen. Ambrose Burnside had supported an unorthodox plan: Dig a long tunnel, load it with dynamite and blow a hole in the Confederate lines defending Petersburg, Va., a vital rail hub. But a last-minute change from above threw Burnside into a funk, and he made a leadership error that cost the Union a speedy end to the Civil War and relieved Burnside of his command.

Leadership at the Winter Games

April 12, 2010

In some ways, David Atkins was under more pressure than anybody at the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver, and he’s not even an athlete. As executive producer of the opening ceremony, Atkins had a tough act to follow: the 2008 Olympic ceremonies in China. Yet he succeeded with a budget 30% less by using less manpower and relying on tech-driven illusion.

Just do it: Why Nike boss kept Tiger

April 12, 2010

If you believe Nike president Charlie Denson, sticking with Tiger Woods as a Nike product endorser has more to do with Woods’ reputation as a golfer than as a philanderer. “A lot of people seem to overlook that very, very important component of the relationship with the athlete,” says Denson. “If we’re going to create the greatest product in the world, it’s the greatest athletes in the world [who] are going to confirm that.”

Bottom-line leadership: Slow and steady–best approach?

March 19, 2010

Jerry Galison struck gold twice—not by great new ideas or luck alone but because of careful setup and follow-through. Galison/Mudpuppy hit the Inc. 500, an index for fast-growing businesses, in 1989 and the Inc. 5000 two decades later.

Waste Management’s undercover CEO

March 12, 2010

Since taking over operations at Waste Management six years ago, President and Chief Operations Officer Larry O’Donnell has kept profits moving up. So why on earth would he agree to take part in a reality TV show that has CEOs spy on their employees? Why risk it?