Family or Team? Can You Be Both in Business?

Many years ago when I was on the board of Kinko’s, we had a pointed conversation about our future initiated by John Davis, a board member and Harvard professor who specialized in family business. He believed we needed to change our culture from family to team. Even though we were a multibillion-dollar business, we were [...]

Business StrategyExamples: WeWork Doesn’t Work

In an apparent example of breathing his own exhaust, the founder of WeWork — now rebranded We Companies (We) — recently invested in another company tied to his hobby, surfing. When your current business model loses a dollar for each dollar it earns in revenue, wouldn’t you want to fix that first? We is private, [...]

Business Strategy: What Can We Learn From Xi?

“Xi does feel a sense of crisis… From Xi’s perspective, he believes his policies are correct, but the problem is they aren’t being implemented properly.” —Wall Street Journal talking about China’s paramount leader If only those fools would implement my policies everything would be fine! Perhaps I should “disappear” a few more! When people refer [...]

Effective Leadership: Is Failure An Option?

“I have not failed. I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” —Thomas Edison I just spoke with a mid-level guy in a firm who is in charge of hedging. Let’s pretend he’s in the airline business (he’s not) and that his job is to protect the firm against increases in jet fuel prices. […]

CEO Leadership Traits: Healthy Culture With a Weak CEO?

Not for long. Once a company decides where it’s going and why customers will buy from it versus its competition (vision and strategy), the next big question is how to align a strong team in pursuit of those objectives. For eons, managers and HR departments have focused on creating dream teams with star players — […]

CEO Leadership Traits: Speak Your Mind (If You Have One)

“You’re betraying your whole life if you don’t say what you think — and you don’t say it honestly and bluntly.” —Charles Krauthammer, American political columnist Not everyone is as articulate as Krauthammer. Saying what we think can get us in a bit of bother when the thinking part is ignored before the saying part. […]

CEO Leadership Traits: The Real Work of the CEO

It’s 7:30 a.m. on Monday. You’re the CEO, and you just arrived in your office. You run a rapidly growing organization with 500 employees. Your choices for the top priority to focus on that day are: (1) fixing a nagging production problem, (2) finding a new banking relationship, (3) attending a senior leadership meeting on […]

Effective Leadership: Is “Fairness” a Good Value?

I just finishing reading a book that a friend recommended, “Principles” by Ray Dalio, a wildly successful hedge fund guy who also has some interesting thoughts on leadership.  One of the things that he articulates that I agree with is the challenge of “fairness”, particularly when it intersects with generosity. For example, if you provide […]