Op-Eds & Interviews

Op-Eds & Interviews Archive

Gutsy Leadership Blog

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The Three Leadership Principles that Drive Lenovo

In a recent interview with the CEO of the company, he discussed the company’s “protect and attack” strategy. The protect part consists of defending and rapidly expanding its core market in PC’s and the attack part has to do with preparing for a world dominated by mobile and the cloud. Regarding mobile, the plan is for the Motorola acquisition to assist Lenovo in moving from being the number two smartphone player in China and the number four worldwide into a more dominant position.

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Wanted: Highly Competitive People!

I am sure you have met people where it didn’t take long before you realized they are highly competitive. They hate to lose; but if they do, they want to play more to prove to themselves that they can prevail.

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How to Spark New Ideas & Avoid the Status Quo

It is rather amazing to see so many successful companies stare at new ideas, do nothing, and get run over. The classic large-scale examples are Kodak and digital photography, Nokia and smartphones, and Blockbuster and DVD’s by mail and then movies via streaming.

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An Important Reminder from United Technologies

Most managers tend to proliferate projects. Then they attempt to keep them all going forward, rather than regularly assessing things and picking the vital few that are clearly more important and giving them full attention. We know killing projects is hard, and that is why the recent success of United Technologies is worth scrutinizing a bit.

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Learning from Yahoo’s Ineptness

Yahoo recently reported their 2nd quarter, 2014 results. Total revenue fell 3%, its fourth decline in the past five quarters and below the company’s estimates. The item that really took people by surprise was the 7% decline in display advertising. One financial analyst from Pivotal Research who follows Yahoo closely cited, “it’s remarkable how bad […]

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Objectivity: Elusive But Necessary!

In the 1960’s and 70’s General Electric had a very robust business in nuclear power generation. In 1979, the Three Mile Island accident occurred in Pennsylvania and it dramatically changed the world of nuclear power. Public support plummeted and governments suspended plans for future expansion of nuclear energy.

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Warning: Beware of Silos and Fiefdoms!

General Motors’ ignition switch problems that apparently led to several reported deaths have gotten a lot of publicity. The problems were reported to low levels of management as early as 2001, but the news was never acted upon. The new CEO at GM summarized the problem as being one of a “silo” culture in which managers in different departments failed to communicate safety concerns to one another or to senior executives. Hence, the problem festered for over a decade.

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Three Steps to Avoid Losing Your Credibility

Surprisingly, the CEO opened that meeting by saying: “Let me start with this idea that we are going to lead the IT industry through this change (i.e., the cloud revolution).” Throughout her comments, she continued to emphasize that IBM will be the leader, but provided no specifics. Amazingly she made no effort to bring up the current problem, and gave no hints as to the strategies IBM would be using to solve these problems.

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Target: A Culture/Leadership Victim, Not a Hacker Victim!

It is too bad the CEO didn’t say something like: we caught the problem and could have prevented the incident from happening, but we didn’t; everyone at Target needs to learn from this and be absolutely paranoid about any kind of problem and get the entire chain of command quickly pulled together to solve it.

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What We Can Learn from IDEO about Giving Directions

There have been several articles over the years on the topic of the pitfalls of leaders giving vague directions.   There are various reasons for this happening: sloppiness, lack of knowledge, being rushed, etc.   Whatever the reason, it can lead to surprises, disappointing outcomes, excessive cost and wasted time. An example I saw in the Harvard […]

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