February 20, 2013
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SmartBrief on Leadership

Leading Edge
How to lead like a chess master
Former chess star Justin Moore is now CEO of cloud-services company Axcient -- and he says his time at the chessboard helped prepare him to be a better boss. Chess is deeply strategic and involves planning several moves ahead, just as CEOs need to plan for their company's future. "Chess is constantly teaching you to think about what comes next, and what comes after that, and what the repercussions could be," Moore says. Fast Company online (2/19)
Strategic Management
Playboy CEO tries to build a better bunny
Playboy Enterprises is reinventing itself as a leaner, slicker and marginally less sleazy business. The company has sold off most of its TV and digital properties and signed deals with high-end brands such as Dolce & Gabbana. "Our favorite line is, 'Less sweatsuit, more Tom Ford,' " Chief Marketing Officer Kristin Patrick says. The Wall Street Journal (2/19)
Google borrows from Apple's playbook with retail stores
Google is planning Apple-style retail stores in an attempt to build a market for devices running its Android and Chrome operating systems. "Historically, Google has had trouble selling stuff directly to customers online," notes analyst Greg Sterling. "Apple is obviously a model of enormous success with its retail strategy, and if Google wants to do it right and invest in it, it can be a big boost for the brand." Bloomberg Businessweek (2/19)
Innovation and Creativity
Can Kraft Foods find a recipe for innovation?
Kraft used to be considered a company "where good ideas go to die," but after spinning off its global snacks business, Kraft Foods is seeking to regain its innovation mojo. The company is focusing on creating a can-do culture that produces fewer ideas, but ones that strike it big. "We understand our obligation to innovate and contemporize. This is not your father's Kraft," CEO Tony Vernon says. Forbes (2/19)
Innovation tips from John Cleese, Ricky Gervais and Louis CK
Comedians know a thing or two about creativity, says John Cleese. Work is a place for play and taking pleasure in finding new ways of doing things, Cleese argues. "Creativity is not a talent; it's a way of operating," he says. Inc. online (free registration)/Pragmatic Leadership blog (2/19)
The Global Perspective
How Mexican brands won a following in China
Mexican food companies are gaining a foothold in China despite consumers' relative lack of interest in Western food products, says Wharton professor Z. John Zhang. "With enough money and enough time, you can sell anything in China," Zhang notes. "China is big enough that no matter what you do, you can find enough people to sell to in order to be profitable." Knowledge@Wharton (2/19)
Engage. Innovate. Discuss.
How to sell your ideas like a "Shark Tank" contestant
The reality show "Shark Tank," in which would-be entrepreneurs pitch ideas to judges, should be required viewing for business leaders, Stephanie Scotti writes. Contestants use attention-grabbing techniques, make their presentations personal, get judges directly involved and end with strong calls to action. "Consider applying these lessons to boost your confidence, inspire your listeners and exponentially increase your chances for a high-impact presentation," Scotti writes. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Leadership (2/19)
Daily Diversion
My kingdom for a hearse: What to do with Richard III?
Read full story
Richard III/Reuters
Now that the remains of Richard III have been confirmed, experts are looking to the next step: a proper burial. The Richard III Society has been working on a design for his tomb, which it recently unveiled. Richard III will be reinterred next year. BBC (2/12)
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Editor's Note
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You should bring something into the world that wasn't in the world before. It doesn't matter what that is. It doesn't matter if it's a table or a film or gardening -- everyone should create."
-- Ricky Gervais, comedian, as quoted at Inc.com's Pragmatic Leadership blog
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Lead Editor:  James daSilva
Contributing Editor:  Ben Whitford
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