• Archive for February, 2012

    10 Ways to Slay Goliath

    by  • February 26, 2012 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Marketing, Strategy

    My business career is characterized with a bunch of David versus Goliath encounters. As a 23 year-old Macleans Toothpaste Brand Manager in 1970, my colleagues and I competed against powerhouses P&G, Colgate and Unilever. When I joined Jacobs Suchard (then Nabob Foods) in 1977, I found myself up against the muscle of Kraft and Nestle. Wherever I went, the major competitor was 20 times larger. That is clout. And yet, our little band of rebels was able to outmaneuver that might with two potent weapons that cost absolutely nothing.

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    Are Great CEOs Always Great Leaders?

    by  • February 19, 2012 • Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Strategy

    ISteve-Jobs-BW1n my mind, the best CEOs are usually the ones who are in a race to the future – they’re obsessed with defining the future because they can’t stomach the thought of reacting to a future created by their competitors. During his era, Steve Jobs was miles ahead of every other forward thinking CEO in that race. Somehow he was able to see the unseen, and marshal Apple’s resources to deliver the innovative products that fulfilled his view of what lied ahead. In the process, Apple became the most valuable corporation on the face of the earth.  That established Steve Jobs as the greatest CEO of our time. But was he the greatest leader of our time? Apple shareholders would surely say yes. Former subordinates, who suffered under his autocratic and abrasive style, might differ.

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    Ditching the Corner Office for Good

    by  • February 17, 2012 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Marketing

    93181872A year ago, Fortune Magazine published my reflections on my rise to the corner office, my life as a CEO and how I coped with the years that followed my exit from the corporate throne. In the sub-head to In the CEO Afterlifethe publisher described my tale this way: Former CEO John Bell gives his take on life after ditching the corner office for good and the search for fulfillment beyond business success. For those who may be interested, my days in the CEO afterlife are more fullfiling than ever. I can attribute some of that to joining the social network and sharing my experiences on leadership and marketing with anyone who cared to listen. Frankly, I am amazed at how my fading memory has unearthed so many vignettes that I thought were buried forever.

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    The Language of Leaders

    by  • February 12, 2012 • Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Strategy

    learnleadI have to be honest. I didn’t think I was going to enjoy Kevin Murray’s new book on how top CEOs communicate to inspire, influence and achieve results. Although Mr. Murray’s arresting title raised my curiosity, I became skeptical when I read the list of leaders he interviewed for insight. The 60 interviewees, all from the UK, were comprised of eight Sirs, four Lords, four Dames, one Lady, and a Baroness, but not one person was under the age of 40, and the majority were over 60. I couldn’t help wonder how this seemingly pompous club of elites could possibly empathize with the hundreds of thousands of hard-working “commoners” in their factories, offices and warehouses. With such a massive impact made by so many young entrepreneurs, I had doubts today’s business generation would benefit from the reflections of old guard, old economy leaders. I was wrong.

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    Stop Personal Branding; Start Running the Business

    by  • February 6, 2012 • Branding, Human Resources, Leadership, Life, Marketing, Strategy

    me-meInherent in the definition of career is the opportunity to progress. “Getting ahead” was my father’s way of saying it. Notwithstanding politics, nowhere is the notion of upward mobility more prevalent than in the world of business. More than ever, people are seeking mentors, “branding” themselves and carefully managing their careers in order to dash up that quintessential corporate ladder.

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