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May 1, 2012
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Leading Edge 
  • Why Patagonia's founder traded his computer for an Etch A Sketch
    Patagonia boss Yvon Chouinard has a "management by absence" approach to running his company. He spends months at a time away from the office putting Patagonia's outdoor-clothing wear through its paces on climbing or fishing trips, and instead of a computer, his desk features an Etch A Sketch on which workers are encouraged to leave friendly messages. "If I had to be a businessman, I was going to do it on my own terms," Chouinard explains. The Wall Street Journal (4/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Good bosses banish buzzwords
    Good bosses never inflict management buzzwords or consultant-speak on their workers, Mike Figliuolo writes. Rather than articulating your leadership philosophy with such claptrap, explain yourself to your workers through true stories about your own experiences. "By replacing buzzwords with personal stories and experience, you will humanize yourself as a leader," Figliuolo writes. ThoughtLeaders blog (4/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Strategic Management 
  • How M&A can boost your company's growth potential
    Middle-market companies that aren't performing at their peak could be missing out on financing or buy-out opportunities, writes Kenneth Marks, who argues that strategic mergers and acquisitions can help boost returns and market standing. It's important for executives to conduct a thorough financial analysis with an emphasis on future cash flows, Marks writes. Business Finance (4/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Innovation and Creativity 
  • Innovation lessons from Gen. John Allen
    Gen. John Allen, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan, makes a point of spending at least 30% of his time on the battlefield. That's because he knows it's on the front lines where innovation happens and new ideas are generated. "I learn something every time I visit a line unit," he says. "Truth be told, visiting troops in the field recharges my batteries." IndustryWeek (4/25) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Innovation isn't always the answer
    There are many situations in which innovation is a waste of everyone's time, Gijs van Wulfen writes. If you're surrounded by lazy workers, timid bosses and unquestioningly loyal customers, then you might be better off sticking with the status quo. "In an organisation you cannot innovate alone. You need an awful lot of colleagues and bosses to make innovation happen," Van Wulfen writes. InnovationExcellence.com (4/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
SmartPulse 
  • How direct are you when providing unpleasant feedback?
    Direct -- they get the message but I sometimes soften it  72.95%
    Somewhat direct -- I can get a little wishy-washy  14.82%
    Very direct -- I don't hold back  10.88%
    Not at all direct -- my message gets lost in other things  0.93%
    Avoidant -- I rarely provide unpleasant feedback  0.41%
  • Feedback is a gift. Providing direct, actionable, unmistakable feedback is one of the most critical aspects of your job. For those of you on either side of "direct" (either "very direct" or "somewhat direct"), recognize the risks inherent in that approach. Being too direct can shut your people down and make them avoid you because of fear of getting "ripped"; being somewhat direct risks them ignoring the feedback or diminishing its significance. -- Mike Figliuolo is managing director of Thought Leaders and author of "One Piece of Paper: The Simple Approach to Powerful, Personal Leadership."

    Discuss these results.
  • What is your perception of leaders who use buzzwords?
They sound ridiculous and lose all credibility
It's distracting but they can still get their point across
I don't mind when they use buzzwords
It helps make their communication clearer via shared language

The Global Perspective 
  • Can India put Sony back on track?
    When Kazuo Hirai took the reins at Sony Corp. in April, one of his first meetings was with Masaru Tamagawa, the head of Sony's operations in India. That's because India is one of the few places on the planet where Sony's business is booming, with the company leading the market in premium TVs and digital cameras. "India is becoming one of the most important market for Sony globally," Tamagawa says. The Times of India (4/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
  • Ikea seeks a foothold in Indonesia
    Indonesia's poor roads and rail system, and sparse seaports present big infrastructural challenges to foreign companies -- but many multinationals are pressing ahead regardless. Ikea plans to open its first store in Indonesia in 2014, and other firms such as Samsonite, Starbucks and Carrefour are also looking to gain a foothold in the region. Bloomberg (4/29) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Engage. Innovate. Discuss. 
  • Brands should amplify the positive, ex-Dell exec says
    Dell's digital word-of-mouth program initially focused on finding unhappy customers and trying to give them a better experience, former Dell executive Caroline Dietz says. That's a valuable approach, but it's also important for brands to find happy customers, engage them and then amplify the positive buzz they're generating, Dietz says. SmartBrief/SmartBlog on Social Media (4/26) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
Daily Diversion 
  • Yodeling isn't just for lonely goatherds
    A German hairdresser named Doreen Kutze is on a mission to popularize yodeling, the traditional alpine singing technique, and is offering classes to the curious in her pine-cone-strewn salon. Kutze says yodeling sounds great as an accompaniment to jazz, reggae or classical music, even if the warbling yodel itself isn't particularly beautiful. "It sounds a bit like a donkey. It's not a pretty sound," she admits. Reuters (4/30) LinkedInFacebookTwitterGoogle+Email this Story
 
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SmartQuote 
Leading from the front line may be burdensome and time consuming. But it is also necessary to stay innovative in a ferocious, complex business environment."
--Andrew Goldberg, an executive vice president at Makovsky & Co., writing in IndustryWeek.
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