Tag Archives: power

Who Won the CEO Sweepstakes — Yahoo or Google? Why Losing Superstars Makes You Stronger

Marissa Mayer

Yesterday Yahoo announced the appointment of Google’s Marissa Mayer to the post of CEO. She will be Yahoo’s fifth CEO in the last 12 months. Most folks are saying that Yahoo may have finally got it right this time. Here is a question most people aren’t asking: “Why did Marissa Mayer leave Google?”

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Filed under Thoughts on Leadership

Succeeding at CEO Succession

Should she stay or should she go? Transitioning from one CEO to another is a task few companies do well and yet it is a decision for which the stakes could not be higher.

Chief Executive Officer is one of the few jobs that can make or break a company. Recent examples at Netflix, Hewlett Packard, and Apple illustrate the challenges and the consequences of good and bad transitions at the top. Should the Netflix board have replaced Reed Hastings when his pricing change blunders caused the stock to drop 75%? How could the HP board have made a better choice when replacing Carly Fiorina (or Mark Hurd for that matter)? Will Apple’s careful planning for the replacement of Steve Jobs pay off? Continue reading


Filed under Governance

Employee Feedback is Like Air: Leaders Can’t Do Without It

At varying points in time, all leaders are required to inspire, motivate, and challenge employees, colleagues, customers and stakeholders. At other times, leaders need to monitor performance, hold people accountable for results, and negotiate areas of conflict.

In all of these situations, leaders rely on feedback from other people to gauge their effectiveness. In particular, leaders need employee feedback. Without it they have little hope of inspiring or motivating.

Imagine, for example, you are speaking to a room of 200 people on a topic they should all be highly engaged in. Continue reading


Filed under Thoughts on Leadership

Power Cannot Be Taken. It Must Be Given.

It’s fascinating how many assumptions there are about leadership.

Even more fascinating is how many of them are flat-out wrong.Silhouette

Consider the image of the leader as dictatorial hero—the executive, general, or visionary who grabs the wheel and saves the day. The central assumption in this narrative is that a strong leader takes over a group and willfully exerts power over its members.

That idea of leadership is pure fiction. The only way for a leader to hold power over group members is for those members to give her power.

Sure, you can point to dictators who rocket to power and terrorize a citizenry into toeing the party line. But without exception, there comes a point when enough people are fed up and they change the power dynamic and choose a new leader. Continue reading

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Filed under Thoughts on Leadership