I never realized that long before Nike was Nike, it was Blue Ribbon. I’ve been reading books on business firms and leaders recently, such as Shoe Dog (by Phil Knight), Alibaba (Jack Ma), and Brick by Brick (about Legos). A common feature seems to be the role of turning points and how much difference they can make. Phil Knight’s story… Read more What are your key turning points? Phil Knight, of Nike, had several
Last week, I walked into a cool dark strip of sandy space, about 2 feet wide, flanked by high sandstone walls. Snow Canyon Slot in St. George, Utah, was the treat at the end of a long hot hike. To enter meant squeezing through about a foot of space between a tree trunk and a… Read more For leaders, a slot canyon can provide perspective on your perspectives
I understand that in the olden days, when people read print newspapers, many readers had favorite columnists. I buy that idea and even now, I have a few that I look forward to reading — both online and in print — because of their ideas, their writing styles, or the way they rile me… Read more Leaders must be more like artists, less like economists
Don’t think too much when you answer this question: As you review your career, what’s an example of an unexpected encounter or piece of information that took you in a direction you had not anticipated? Feel free to send me examples. I’d love to learn about them. If you have one, or many, of those… Read more Being open to proactive serendipity can alter your future
Recently I talked with a group of leaders who have built and run high-performing and very creative organizations. Several of them had been hired years ago to turn around those same organizations. In one case, the leader managed to rebuild the organization much faster than expected. So here they were, top of their careers, known… Read more Is this all there is? What do you do when you’ve done what you want?
Earlier this year, I visited a longtime friend in Japan who I’d not seen for 20 years. He was a former senior executive for a large Japanese firm. Now in his 80s, he and his wife are still in relatively good health, but I was concerned that things might change and I’d regret not visiting.… Read more Soon we may find retirement and health care in unexpected places
Many years ago, on the way to do an executive training session in Sun Valley, I stopped to get gas. I spilled gasoline on my shoes and skirt. Since I didn’t have time to change clothes, when I arrived at the training program, I didn’t smell especially fetching. I was terrified that someone would light… Read more Envision a world of drive-thru payments and one-card shopping
I’m an eclectic reader. When I’m in an airport, I’ll buy magazines I never would normally read — from wrestling or organic farming to hang gliding or horses. They give me ideas that might be useful for business or the rest of my life. Then I bump into other articles, and often they all connect.… Read more Leave it to the farmers to get it done
I recently spent a couple of weeks in Botswana on a photo safari. There were elephants and lions, bee-eaters and saddle-billed storks, monitor lizards and baobab trees that expand when they soak up water. Even for a nonzoologist, the safari was nirvana. One of the best parts, though, was learning from the guides. On… Read more Leaders can learn from a safari guide who sees ‘behind the trees’
You can’t get much further from Boise than an African safari: Thirty hours in transit with at least 23 hours on a plane. But I always can learn something for business leaders, no matter where I go. This time, I have lesson from safari guides who know how to find the “hard to see.” I… Read more Business leaders, what are your lions in the grass?