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And Then What? Reveal Your Leadership Blindspots With This Question From A Top Gun

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Innovate or fall behind. Even in a world that’s getting more uncertain by the minute, where threats can come from anyone and anywhere, the competitive imperative for nearly all businesses is still that simple.

For former Navy Top Gun instructor and current director of business development at Progeny Systems David Markert, the toughest and most pivotal question is “and then what?”

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MBAs can front a revolution in collaborative leadership

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There seems to be growing unease with the value we place on leadership. Susan Cain, author of Quiet, a best-selling book about the power of introverts, offers an example in a New York Times piece “Not Leadership Material? Good”. In it, she is specifically focusing on how college admissions favour applicants with leadership credentials.

She worries that too many slots are being offered to high-school seniors who are status and power-seekers. She bristles at the implication that students do not deserve merit scholarships or places at elite schools if they do great work as team players or solo artists.

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How to Cultivate Leadership That Is Honed to Solve Problems

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In the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013, the terrorists responsible for that act took the life of a police officer, Sean Collier, who worked at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). Those who knew and loved him at MIT resolved to commemorate his memory. J. Meejin Yoon, head of MIT’s department of architecture, designed a memorial that would honor Collier’s love of the outdoors and spirit of service, while reflecting the university community he served. The memorial is composed of massive interlocking granite blocks. Making them stand up required a feat of engineering that pushed the technical limits of the material. A multidisciplinary group assembled to figure out how to complete the project.

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How Does Amazon Stay At Day One?

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Visit the office of Amazon’s head of Devices, Dave Limp, and you may get an offer to look at a piece of corporate history: the original short documents drafted by an internal team in 2011 to propose the development of Alexa, the intelligent personal assistant Amazon launched in late 2014. Call it an e-memento; Limp hasn’t deleted it. And it’s hardly the only memento. He can also call up dozens of other sets of documents, amazingly similar in format, setting forth the initial visions for what would become blockbuster products and services.

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Testing the CEO President

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Perhaps one of President Donald Trump’s most endearing qualities to his supporters – a trait he promoted throughout a contentious 2016 election campaign – is that he isn’t a lifelong politician.

He’s a businessman. A salesman. A brander. He was the patriarch of the Trump Organization real estate empire before trading his iconic Manhattan tower for a seat in the Oval Office. And he sold himself to the American people on the idea that he could better streamline the bloated Washington bureaucracy – draining the swamp and running the country with a business-like efficiency.

But after six months rife with high-level turnover, legislative hiccups and public feuds within Trump’s own team, questions have been raised as to how effectively the CEO in chief is guiding the ship.

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Behind Rightmove’s Extraordinary Growth

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Ask Rightmove CEO Peter Brooks-Johnson to name the key to the company’s extraordinary growth and he takes no time to answer. “Are you familiar with the term network effects …?” He’s referring to the phenomenon by which a network (the simplest example is a telephone system) becomes more valuable to its users with each user it gains. Network effects mean that, for some kinds of businesses, there is a tremendous advantage to being a first mover.

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Expecting The Remarkable At Dexcom

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“I was in a meeting last week, and I asked a simple question: ‘Is this remarkable?’ They all looked at me. I just said: ‘I want remarkable.’”

The speaker, Kevin Sayer, is President and CEO of Dexcom, Inc. ranked #2 on this year’s Forbes list of Most Innovative Growth Companies (Last year, Dexcom ranked number four.)  Sayer, was describing his interaction with some engineering colleagues who were proposing a next-generation product for diabetes patients. Dexcom, a medical device maker based in San Diego, specializes in continuous glucose monitoring solutions.  Its G5 Mobile CGM System was a breakthrough when it was launched in 2015, as the first system allowing patients — even young children—to use a smart device to keep track of their glucose levels in real time.

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We Need to Ask How We Can Make Economic Growth More Inclusive

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Some questions have what I like to call a catalytic quality. That is, they do for creative problem-solving what catalysts do in chemical processes: they dissolve barriers and accelerate progress down more productive pathways. Take the question that has lately been put on the political table because of the prosperity bind facing so many mature economies. Innovation abounds (especially in technology) and new value is being created hand over fist — yet the resulting wealth gains go to the few, while the many wind up financially worse off. Case in point, even if everyone benefits from the freer flow of information allowed by the internet, information alone can’t pay your heating bill or buy a new transmission for your car. As the costs of things like phone calls and televisions have dropped, the cost for basic necessities like food and housing has soared.

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Bursting the CEO Bubble

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When you’re the CEO of a large organization—or even a small one—your greatest responsibility is to recognize whether it requires a major change in direction. Indeed, no bold new course of action can be launched without your say-so. Yet your power and privilege leave you insulated—perhaps more than anyone else in the company—from information that might challenge your assumptions and allow you to perceive a looming threat or opportunity. Ironically, to do what your exalted position demands, you must in some way escape your exalted position.

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