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Corporate Escape Story — From BP Exec to Renewable Energy Leader

This is a fascinating corporate escape story from Fast Company . Cynthia Warner was the head of global refining for British Petroleum and a 28-year oil industry veteran. She left BP in 2008 to become president of Sapphire Energy, a company working  to produce renewable “green crude” from algae grown in open pools in the New Mexico desert


I Want To Live Like Common People: BP and the Great PR Divide

After his slicing, dicing, and grilling by Congress, BP's CEO Tony Hayward has been relieved of some of his duties, with responsibilities for managing the company's PR response shifting to chairman Carl-Henric Svanberg . This is just two days after BP's public relations debacle descended into class farce when Svanberg, a wealthy Swede, stated that, "We care about the small people


How To Punish Leadership Negligence

In any sensible system of institutional governance, negligence would be sanctioned.


The Gulf Oil Spill: A Classic Failure of Systems Leadership

There are two wonderful articles on the Gulf of Mexico oil-spill disaster in the May 11 Wall Street Journal that are required reading for everyone interested in systems failures and the need for systems leadership. The first is a case study in how to abrogate responsibility when thing go badly wrong . It describes the finger-pointing among BP, Transocean, and Halliburton over who is responsible for the explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig


Why Business Leaders Should Act More like Artists

Stereotypes abound about artists: they range from the mild ("they have fuschia-colored hair"), to the absurd ("they starve,"), to the disturbed ("they do things like uncontrollably peeing in the fireplace as depicted in the popular movie Pollock."). Granted I know artists with wild-colored hair and others who are certainly struggling to make ends meet, but they all choose to use the restroom. I've also met artists who are quite plain-looking and plain-acting CEOs, lawyers, stockbrokers, and scientists. Even as someone who has worked to weaken some of the sillier stereotypes about creative types, I must admit that I've carried a few stereotypes around myself. In particular, I'd always believed that artists are much like the kind of geeks I grew up with at MIT — passionately focused on their work with little regard to their own physical or financial circumstance, and often more comfortable working as a lone constructor instead of as a collaborative player on a larger team.


Three Reasons Why Bruce is the Best Boss

Bruce Springsteen — great leader? You might be skeptical, but bear with me as I describe a few practical ideas we can pull from Springsteen's repertoire of the critical "soft skills" that set the memorably high-impact leaders apart from the rest of the pack. Bruce's epic music is a source of inspiration for millions around the world. Like many others, his impact on me has been deeply personal. On a recent night in Philadelphia, listening to Bruce and his E Street Band, I was reminded once again of why the Boss (big B) is not only New Jersey's greatest export and America's rock poet laureate, but why he's a model for other bosses (small b).


How a 2-Minute Story Helps You Lead

Leaders gain trust and teach people what's important to them by telling stories. But these days there's so much to attend to — now! — coming at us so fast. You might be tempted to let slide your soft skills, like how to tell a useful story. Just get to the point and move on to the next thing on the list.


Is Jerry Yang’s Bond to Yahoo Too Tight?

It's his baby, after all. In 1994 Jerry Yang (together with David Filo) birthed an Internet web site named after him - " Jerry's Guide to the World Wide Web " - and since then they've been inseparable. While at the age of one "Jerry's Guide" was more formally christened - Yahoo! Inc. - the relationship between parent and child has remained close


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