The New York Times broke another story on December 17 on the corruption at Walmart de Mexico and the unwillingness of senior leaders at their Bentonville HQ to pursue the allegations. Reporters David Barstow and Alejandra Xanic von Bertrab reviewed thousands of documents and interviewed dozens of witnesses to corroborate their allegations. Their findings allege that in one cited case (among 19 across Mexico) Walmart executives were not just paying off officials to expedite approvals that would have come anyway but were engaged in falsifying documents, circumventing laws, bribing officials throughout the country, and even excavating land with protected artifacts and treasures, all to get a store open before the holiday rush in 2004. When senior executives at Walmart’s HQ were alerted to the facts, they shut down the investigation …Continue Reading
Many people believe that leaders are born, not made. We disagree. Some people may have more natural intelligence, be more outgoing, have innate speaking skills, and so on, and these may be helpful in leadership. But we believe leadership skills can be learned, not necessarily in the old lecture-take-notes model, but through experience, dialogue, role modeling, feedback, coaching, mentoring, and more. If leadership can be learned, then it can be taught. Leadership is learned, not an innate trait of the gifted few. What do you think? Have you developed your leadership capacities over the years? How? Have you helped to develop the leadership capacities of others? How?
Leadership insights from John Krol Former chairman and CEO, DuPont Leaders Speak Series E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company, commonly referred to as DuPont, is one of the world’s largest chemical companies. It was founded in 1802, and its stock is a component of the Dow Jones Industrial Average. John Krol joined DuPont in 1963 as a chemist and rose through the ranks to be its chairman and CEO. He has been active on many corporate and nonprofit boards, including Tyco International (for which we interviewed him for Triple Crown Leadership). In that interview, Krol also shared insights on his leadership challenges at DuPont. Here are excerpts: Krol: Back in the 1980s, the world changed for DuPont because of globalization. We were very slow to move. DuPont was based …Continue Reading
For turnarounds to work, leaders must establish psychological stability in the organization. Too many turnaround leaders focus only on financial stability and neglect this critical element. In the turmoil of a turnaround, many people are demoralized, afraid, or angry. Some feel misled or on the verge of panic. Logo-inscribed ball caps stay in the closet. Some people bail quickly while others are out looking for new jobs. The turnaround leader must establish not only financial stability but also psychological stability. People need to be unfrozen, empowered to work on critical projects with confidence. At a successful turnaround Bob led, where the extreme negative cash flow flipped to healthy positive in a few years, he began to establish psychological stability through an all-day senior staff meeting early in the turnaround. Here …Continue Reading
Interview with Ursula Burns Chairman and CEO, Xerox Leaders Speak Series Ursula M. Burns is chairman and CEO of Xerox. With sales approaching $23 billion, Xerox (NYSE: XRX) is the world’s leading enterprise for business process and document management. Burns joined Xerox in 1980 as a mechanical engineering summer intern and then worked her way up to the top. Alongside then-CEO Anne Mulcahy, Burns worked to restructure Xerox through its turnaround. Burns became CEO in 2009. Today, she leads the 140,000 people of Xerox who serve clients in more than 160 countries. Burns is also a board director of the American Express Corporation and provides leadership counsel to the National Academy Foundation, MIT, and the U.S. Olympic Committee. In 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama appointed Burns vice chair of the President’s Export …Continue Reading