Why Tim Cook is Steve Ballmer

What happens to a company when a visionary CEO is gone? Most often, innovation dies and the company coasts for years on momentum and its brand. Rarely does it regain its former glory. Here’s why.

Editor’s Note: for more on this theme, read “Visionary, Salesman and Pragmatist Model of Business Succes.”

Five Practices of the Most Change-Ready Leaders

We have identified five leadership meta-practices of athletic CEOs. Each of them allows leaders to effectively manage a particular challenge. Within each meta-practice, we found a number of very specific behavior strategies, which we called leadership practices.

Jim Collins: On Leadership In America

Chief Executive magazine interviews Jim Collins. This is the first of five parts.

Adam Grant’s Simple Matrix to Get Employees (or Kids) More Engaged and Creative

When it comes to praise, leaders of any type (be they managers, parents, or coaches) hold unique power. The actions they exalt become standards of success, while those they critique become standards of failure.
Too often, leaders praise the wrong things and leave good work unremarked upon. The effect is that the people over whom they hold influence (be they employees, children, or mentees) are more … [ Read more ]

The Three Altitudes of Leadership

Leaders must cultivate the seamless ability to mix forward-vision thinking, tactical execution and self-awareness – across the altitudes of leadership.

The Four X Factors of Exceptional Leaders

Understanding what differentiates a great leader from a good leader will help companies make the right choices for the top jobs.

The Leadership Maker Movement

Rarely a day goes by without news about the maker movement — the DIY culture of hackers and traditional crafters that, with advances in 3D printing, is producing a dizzying range of items. An analogous revolution is also underway in how we adapt organizations for the fast-changing contexts in which they must operate. I call it the leadership maker movement.

After observing companies and speaking with … [ Read more ]

How Do You Measure Leadership?

This essay describes a way to measure leadership that I hope will be helpful to those who seek to improve as leaders. It is based on observations I made when working closely with four leaders that I consider extraordinary: Ed Catmull (Pixar’s founder), Steve Jobs (Pixar’s CEO), John Lasseter (Pixar’s Chief Creative Officer), and Bob Iger (Disney’s CEO).

Master the Art of Influence — Persuasion as a Skill and Habit

As a long-time product leader for Chrome at Google, Tyler Odean found himself using persuasion as a tool to herd massive organizations — engineers, designers and executives — toward product decisions and developments. He realized how powerful it was to be able to rally people to his and others’ points of view. Today, he regularly speaks on the topic and applies it in his role … [ Read more ]

8 Principles of Great Leadership

As a founder, learning how to launch your startup is incredibly important. But as your project grows, you will have more and more people following your lead. Many founders are inexperienced at the art of leadership and lack the management principles necessary to build an enduring company. History ー even the history of Silicon Valley ー furnishes many illustrations of skillful leadership and of principles … [ Read more ]

What’s Missing in Leadership Development?

We asked executives to tell us about the circumstances in which their leadership-development programs were effective and when they were not. We found that much needs to happen for leadership development to work at scale, and there is no “silver bullet” that will singlehandedly make the difference between success and failure. That said, statistically speaking, four sets of interventions appear to matter most: contextualizing the … [ Read more ]

Management Is All in the Timing

We have developed a framework for teaching executives about the importance of temporal perception in management. We’ve identified four temporal leadership types, depicting the degree to which a leader is high or low on both the preference for timeliness (the time urgency measure) and the preference for social synchrony. It also describes how important adhering to self-pacing versus group pacing is considered by different types … [ Read more ]

How to Collaborate with and Influence People Using the SCARF Model

In today’s interconnected world the ability to collaborate with other people is an increasingly important part of workplace communication. In order to understand how to better manage bigger groups and improve co-operation, it’s important to comprehend what drives social behavior. In this guide, we’ll examine one model explaining this behavior, called the SCARF model. Will explain the basics behind the theory, the way it explains … [ Read more ]

Leading in Your Sleep

Can leaders be connected, present and effective 24/7? Yes, and they should be—but only after they become sophisticated users of social media, which creates the need for instant accessibility.

10 Principles of Strategic Leadership

Most companies have leaders with the strong operational skills needed to maintain the status quo. But they face a critical deficit: They lack people in positions of power with the know-how, experience, and confidence required to tackle what management scientists call “wicked problems.” Such problems can’t be solved by a single command, they have causes that seem incomprehensible and solutions that seem uncertain, and they … [ Read more ]

The Essential To-Do List for New Leaders

If stepping into a new leadership role has you feeling a little nervous, multiply that feeling by ten to estimate the apprehension rippling through your new team. While you may be wondering whether you are up for the challenge, the people anticipating your arrival are wondering, “What’s going to happen to me?”

As you manage first impressions, existential anxiety can be paralyzing to the workforce. So … [ Read more ]

How Leaders Can Improve Their Thinking Agility

Leaders operate with near-constant deficits of time, energy, resources, and focus, which keeps them locked in a perpetual state of catch-up. This reality erodes quality contemplation. Although there are strategies to help you react to the urgencies of the day without sacrificing time to reflect, the value and impact of your thoughts are not simply a measure of minutes. Rather, they can be measured by … [ Read more ]

The Biggest Mistakes New Executives Make

Many new executives inadvertently set themselves up for failure within the first few months of their tenure through their own actions. As an executive hired from outside the firm, you’ll naturally want to add value and assure your employers and employees that you are the right hire. But based on my work helping executives transitioning into new organizations, I’ve discovered common traps new executives tend … [ Read more ]