February 15, 2013
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SmartBrief on Leadership

Leading Edge
Want fewer leaks? Stop keeping secrets, says LinkedIn CEO
Companies that suffer from leaks typically owe their problems to a culture of secrecy, says LinkedIn CEO Jeff Weiner. Hiding information from curious employees inspires them to look for it, and that's the first step toward leaks, Weiner explains. "I've come to learn there is a virtuous cycle to transparency and a very vicious cycle of obfuscation," he says. CNNMoney/Fortune (2/14)
Don't sulk if you don't make CEO
After a hard-fought battle to become CEO, it's natural for the losing executive to want to go home and sulk. But succumbing to that impulse can seriously damage their career, experts say. It's important to show that you're a loyal lieutenant who can be counted on to support the new boss's vision. "Initial impressions count," says recruiting executive John Wood. "Simply being good isn't good enough. You have to get on board with the new CEO's plan." The Wall Street Journal (2/14)
Strategic Management
Why Warren Buffett hit the sauce
Warren Buffett has joined with 3G Capital to snap up Heinz in a $28 billion deal that includes debt. Acquiring the ketchup-maker gives Buffett one of the country's best-known brands in a mature, relatively stable market -- more of a priority for Buffett than the quicker profits available in other sectors. "Long-term competitive advantage in a stable industry is what we seek," Buffett told investors in 2008. The Washington Post/The Associated Press (2/14), Bloomberg Businessweek (2/14)
Maker's Mark decides to water down its brand
Maker's Mark will reduce its bourbon's alcohol content by 3 percentage points in a bid to stretch limited stock in the face of booming demand. That's a terrible strategy, writes Erik Sherman, since it risks alienating the loyal imbibers who helped make the brand a success. "Either scale up for growth or, if you can't or won't, be content with level revenue and profit," he advises. "Gambling with product quality is always dangerous." Inc. online (free registration) (2/14), Quartz (2/11), BourbonBlog.com (2/9)
Innovation and Creativity
Don Quixote would have made a lousy innovator
Innovators hate the risk-averse culture of the modern workplace -- but taking a quixotic stand against corporate conservatism won't get you anywhere, writes Gijs van Wulfen. It's better to accept such resistance as a given and work around it, Van Wulfen writes. "Managing innovation has everything to do with managing expectations and reducing risks," he argues. InnovationManagement.se (Sweden) (2/14)
The Global Perspective
Indian executives choose commuting over pulling up roots
Many top Indian executives commute to corporate headquarters in Mumbai from family homes in far-flung corners of the country. Not all companies are happy with that arrangement, which often drives bosses to take longer and more frequent holidays. "[N]ot relocating families seems to suggest lack of long-term commitment. But the lack of good talent is forcing compromises," said K Sundarshan, a managing partner at EMA Partners International. The Economic Times (India) (2/15)
Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
5 keys to building a front-line-focused organization
Senior leaders who are committed to a front-line-focused organization must establish a vision that puts customers first, respect and encourage insight from front-line employees, and "obsess over talent," among other steps, write Noel M. Tichy and Chris DeRose in this book excerpt. Executives "must imagine what the ideal customer interaction will look like and ask where breakdowns may occur throughout the process, from generating customer awareness to building post-sale relationships," they write. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/12)
Daily Diversion
Attack of the "night people"
In the mid-1950s, a late-night radio host named Jean Shepherd rallied his listeners -- who called themselves "night people" -- and ordered them to bombard bookstores with requests for a non-existent book called "I, Libertine." The surreal prank became a global sensation but got out of hand as the mainstream media began to investigate. "In our time of memes, virality, and reality blurring, the hoax Shepherd dreamt up seems extremely modern and prescient in its contours -- as does the fact that, eventually, it got out of his control," writes Matthew Callan. The Awl (2/14)
Who's Hiring?
Position TitleCompany NameLocation
Regional Human Resources Manager Total Wine & More Potomac , MD
Vice President of MarketingSleep ExpertsCarrollton, TX
Chief Financial OfficerChampion RecruitingBoston, MA
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Possessing a powerful worldwide brand is essential for sustained success."
-- Warren Buffett, as quoted in Bloomberg Businessweek
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