In the CEO Afterlife

Leading Without Direct Reports

In the CEO Afterlife

Leadership does not begin the when you step upon the first rung of the management ladder. One direct report does not make you a leader; nor does ten. Yet, the moment you have direct reports, you are EXPECTED to lead.

What Connects Coca-Cola, Lego, In-N-Out, Intuit, and Nike? Focus.

In the CEO Afterlife

Complexity has many definitions; excessive complication is the simplest. In today’s business, chronic complexity is stifling, stagnating, and bringing companies to their knees. This is why we hear so much about focus from C-suites and corporate boards.

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Talent without Leadership doesn’t count for Diddly-Squat

In the CEO Afterlife

Every company wants TALENT. But not every company is bestowed with the LEADERSHIP that unleashes talent’s power. Talent without leadership is as good as spitting into a gale-force wind. . I learned that lesson growing up in a working-class district of Toronto in the 1950s.

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Why Boards Should Give a Damn About Culture

In the CEO Afterlife

During my tenure as a CEO, my Board of Directors never challenged me with questions pertaining to corporate culture. I wasn’t surprised in the least.

Charismatic Leadership: Style or Substance?

In the CEO Afterlife

Have you ever watched a charismatic person “work” a room? At the outset, they assess the collective mood. Then they advance to the gathering with a demeanor that suits the environment and their desired role within it.

How to Create a Personal Brand Strategy Statement

In the CEO Afterlife

Branding has flourished big time—we have product brands, service brands, country brands, political brands, cause-related brands, even cultural brands. In this post I want to help those of you who are keen to create your personal brand. To do that, you’ll need a brand strategy.

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Leadership Lessons from Nine-Year-Olds

In the CEO Afterlife

Five years ago, I became a blogger.

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The 10 Best Brand Names Ever

In the CEO Afterlife

Now that we are in the New Year, you can expect to see 2011 rankings by major periodicals on a variety of measures from most valuable global brands to the most innovative companies. My ranking of the “Best Brand Names” has no time constraint.

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10 Ways to Slay Goliath

In the CEO Afterlife

My business career is characterized with a bunch of David versus Goliath encounters. As a 23 year-old Macleans Toothpaste Brand Manager in 1970, my colleagues and I competed against powerhouses P&G, Colgate and Unilever.

Boldness Should Never Stand Alone

In the CEO Afterlife

A couple of years ago I read a book about RAF fighter pilots in World War II. One particular passage stood out. It was this: There are old fighter pilots and bold fighter pilots, but there are no old, bold fighter pilots.

The Decay of Brand Differentiation

In the CEO Afterlife

There’s a host of reasons why great brands decay. High on the list is weak marketing, weak management, and weak strategic discipline. I could add a dozen more. I won’t. I will say that the crux of the matter is the incessant pressure on management to maintain or rediscover corporate growth.

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Signs of the Spineless Leader

In the CEO Afterlife

Do you have to meet a spineless leader to know one? Not necessarily. Recently, I unveiled a spineless leader upon learning how he handled a single set of circumstances – the orchestrating of an unfair and unjust hiring practice that covertly circumvented the promotion of the best candidate.

What Makes P&G Great?

In the CEO Afterlife

I could talk about their brands, their global clout, their sales growth or their stock market value. Not today. The mystical factor that distinguishes P&G from everyone else is people. From 1837 to the present, P&G people have been the company’s sustainable success factor.

The Best Things in Business are Free

In the CEO Afterlife

Negotiating for a lower price or something extra is the modus operandi of every antique retailer, real estate broker, flea market merchant and automobile dealer. Everyone is looking for a good deal, a real bargain. I’m not taking issue with that.

10 Leaders who are the Brand

In the CEO Afterlife

Corporate leaders that are identified with brands are usually the ones who share the brand’s nomenclature, such as Martha Stewart, Donald Trump, and Michael Dell. Seems logical, no?

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Does a Mentor have to Breathe?

In the CEO Afterlife

To most of us, mentors are people of experience and knowledge who help the less experienced advance their careers and/or their education.

The Most Overused Word in Business

In the CEO Afterlife

Strategy has to be one of the most misused words in business. The word is tossed around boardrooms and customer meetings with reckless abandon. You’ve likely heard this: “Our strategy is to become the biggest and the best.”

10 Insights from the 100 Most Creative People in Business

In the CEO Afterlife

Why is creativity so important in business? Because it is the idea, and not the money that drives entrepreneurship.

Who is the 21st Century CEO?

In the CEO Afterlife

He or she is the leader who is constantly thinking about tomorrow – not the next week, the next month, the next quarter or even the next year.

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The Leadership Love-in

In the CEO Afterlife

I’ve read scads of books, blogs and journals on leadership. Everything I read has been said before – maybe in a different way and usually with different supportive examples; yet, I can’t seem to stay away from the subject. Apparently, neither can others.

Stop Trying to Do More and More

In the CEO Afterlife

In Theodore Levitt’s The Marketing Imagination , the renowned marketing professor said there was no such thing as a commodity, only people who think like commodities. Differentiation is still the name of the marketing game.

Why HR Needs to Be a Marketer

In the CEO Afterlife

Great marketing begins with great strategy. Great strategy seldom happens without sacrifice. Sacrifice is the natural path to differentiation. The best brand custodians know that you never promise a smorgasbord of benefits; trying to be all things to all people is a recipe for disaster.

Kellogg’s Special K: On a Slippery Slope

In the CEO Afterlife

I have been a big fan of Kellogg’s since my days at the Leo Burnett Advertising Agency in the early 1970’s. Here was an organization whose brand and company name stood for healthy breakfasts.

Are Great CEOs Always Great Leaders?

In the CEO Afterlife

In my mind, the best CEOs are usually the ones who are in a race to the future – they’re obsessed with defining the future because they can’t stomach the thought of reacting to a future created by their competitors.

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Where (and When) the Magic Happens

In the CEO Afterlife

A picture is worth a thousand words; clichéd but true. This illustration may also become clichéd, but whenever I see it, I grin and nod. Although the Promised Land lies within that magic circle, most of us can’t break out of our comfort zone.

Strategy for Non-Strategic Leaders

In the CEO Afterlife

I didn’t realize it at the outset, but blogging has provided a wonderful opportunity for me to ponder and reflect on the most valued (but often neglected) principles of business.

Inspiration from The Daffodil Principle

In the CEO Afterlife

Today I received an e-mail of The Daffodil Principle. I’d read it a number of years ago but had forgotton the important message. Spend a couple of minutes reading Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards’ beautiful story. If it inspires you, pass it on and benefit another. The Daffodil Principle.

Learn to Teach. Teach to Learn

In the CEO Afterlife

When I retired, I thought I was through with business. And I was, until the social network came along and enticed me to blog. Like most bloggers, I write about what I know; that’s strategy, leadership and branding.

The Latest in Corporate Bail Outs – Women

In the CEO Afterlife

When I left corporate life, the glass in the ceiling suppressing the advancement of women to the C-suite was beginning to show cracks. That was two decades ago. Today, there’s a venerable list of female executives who have shattered that glass and gone on to illustrious careers as successful CEOs.

The Difference between Strategists and Strategic Planners

In the CEO Afterlife

I’ve met both over my long career as an executive, a consultant, and a board member. Strategists and Strategic Planners may read the same periodicals and have similar destinations in mind, but there is a difference between the two.

The Moral of Workplace Morale

In the CEO Afterlife

When it comes to workplace morale, there is no shortage of articles suggesting the ways and means to build and/or enhance cultures that motivate employees to deliver the goods. Beyond their intent to boost morale, the commentaries have one thing in common – the counsel is generic.

Business Proverbs and BS | In the CEO Afterlife

In the CEO Afterlife

When I searched online for content on business proverb lies and mistruths I was amazed by the digital library's breadth and depth. The myths apply to business in general, as well as specific industries, start-ups and the new

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Why Strategy Withstands the Test of Time

In the CEO Afterlife

How often have you heard people say, “Our strategy is to become the biggest and the best?” This is not strategy. Strategy is not the what. Strategy is the how – how will you become the biggest and the best? Of course, within the realm of the definition, there are good strategies and bad ones.

The Strategy of Hustle

In the CEO Afterlife

I’ve read a lot of books on strategy. The best ones influenced my mode of operation as an executive of Jacobs Suchard , the maker of coffee and chocolate brands, Jacobs , Nabob , Toblerone , Suchard and Côte d’Or.

Homeless, Not Helpless: Entrepreneurship in Unlikely Places | In the.

In the CEO Afterlife

I've never thought of the homeless as innovative or entrepreneurial. I suspect few do. Some might say these lost souls don't have an enterprising bone in their bodies; if they did, they wouldn't be homeless. I understand why

Why Directors Should Give a Damn About Culture

In the CEO Afterlife

During my tenure as a CEO, my Board of Directors never challenged me with questions pertaining to the corporate culture. I wasn’t surprised in the least.

Proof That Less is More

In the CEO Afterlife

Ever since I started blogging about leadership and strategy, I’ve been harping about the notion of “doing less, better” as a business modus operandi. Wall Street is against the idea. They think companies have to “do more and more” to get bigger and bigger.

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Is Political Correctness Coming to a Brand near You?

In the CEO Afterlife

Earls Restaurants is a very popular casual dining chain with 64 outlets in Canada, Arizona, Washington and Colorado. Twenty-five years ago, they launched a whimsical brand of beer called Albino Rhino.

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When to Ditch the Leadership Love-in

In the CEO Afterlife

In my blog of two weeks ago, entitled The Leadership Love-In [link] I reiterated the never ending need for better leadership. I also extended kudos to a handful of passionate leadership bloggers who I consider to be experts in their field (links listed below).

Is Social Media an Excuse for Brand Positioning Laziness? | In the.

In the CEO Afterlife

I retired from the CEO's office in 1994 and from strategy and marketing consulting in 2008. Other than a casual Facebook page with a couple of dozen friends, I knew little of social media until I discovered Twitter in February

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