Category: Leadership

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer’s Epic Goodbye

Microsoft CEO, 57-year old Steve Ballmer, was visibly emotional as he said goodbye to the 13,000 employees of the company that made him a billionaire. The 6’5″ hulk of man screeched “you work for the greatest company in the world” to roaring applause and screams of “we love you”, from the audience.

Appointed in 2000, Ballmer had held the post of CEO for the last 13 years, but he had worked for Microsoft for a total of 33 years. Steve Ballmer joined Microsoft on June 11, 1980, after graduating from Harvard University in 1977 with a degree in applied mathematics and economics. Hired by Bill Gates, he became Microsoft’s 30th employee and its first business manager.

Ballmer has long been …

10 Ways to Spot A Weak Finance Executive

My career in finance and accounting began in 1997 when I landed a job as an Audit Associate with Ernst & Young. In the years since, I’ve worked with three of the ‘Big Four’ accounting firms, as well as Financial Controller and CFO in several industries before removing my accounting hat to take on the role of General Manager.

The expectations of the role of the chief accountant, finance manager, financial controller, finance director and chief financial officer have evolved over the years. The accounting profession is no longer the realm of ‘bean counters’ in dark, dingy offices piled high with papers and over-flowing with adding machine tape. Today’s accounting professional is no longer just an administrator or cost cutter, …

11 Tips for Brand New Senior Managers

You’ve finally gotten the promotion you’ve dreamed of. You’re finally in charge. Being the new corporate head, division chief or general manager will be harder than you could have imagined. Here are ten tips to help you negotiate this unknown territory and remain grounded, while achieving the results you can be proud of.

1. Check Your Ego at the Door

You’ve gotten to where you are because you’re a superstar. You are brilliant. You worked harder than your colleagues and got promoted faster, too. Maybe you had passable technical skills, but excellent networking and people skills and brown-nosed your way to the top. None of that will help you now. It’s not about you any more. It’s no longer just …

Considering the Balanced Scorecard Approach

“When you can measure what you are speaking about, and express it in numbers, you know something about it; but when you cannot measure it, when you cannot express it in numbers, your knowledge is of a meager and unsatisfactory kind…” William Thompson

As the leader of a relatively young organizational unit, I am always looking for innovative ways to measure and improve overall performance and achieve strategic goals. A few months ago, I stumbled upon the Balanced Scorecard approach.

The Balanced Scorecard Approach in a Nutshell

The Balanced Scorecard approach was developed around 1990 and a result of the extensive research of Robert Kaplan and David Norton. They developed a methodology of translating organizational strategy into a balanced framework …

Leadership Lessons: Small Things Go A Long Way

Since most of us aren’t independently wealthy, we work in order to pay the bills and make steps toward building a secure financial future. If we are to do truly great work, however, we must feel both inspired and appreciated. That’s the really tough part. As the leader of a company, I spend a great deal of my time remaining committed to the part of my vision that aims to make it a great place to work. Actually, I use the word “love”. I aspire to lead in such a way that employees “love” working there.

I wrote in a previous post that employees want to feel special, to be treated like individuals, respected, and made knowledgeable. The big things, …

Leadership Lessons: Remember Everyone is Important


After a busy spate at work which lasted months, followed by a glorious week off in Toronto, I have finally gotten around to re-starting the next book on my leadership list: ‘Creating Magic: 10 Common Sense Leadership Strategies from a Life at Disney’ by Lee Cockerell. Lee Cockerell managed Walt Disney World resort operations for over ten years. He has won many leadership awards and crafted Disney’s ‘Great Leader Strategies’. “It’s not the magic that makes it work; it’s the way we work that makes it magic.” On a resort the size of San Francisco, with a staff complement of 40,000, Lee achieved one of the lowest turnover rates in the industry and created magic.

I have just finished Chapter …

5 Reasons Why Moving to Yahoo Was the Right Choice for Marissa Mayer

On July 16, 2012, Yahoo announced that Marissa Mayer would take the helm as its new CEO. The news of Marissa’s appointment shook the tech world, raising both eyebrows and hopes.

After finishing high school in the Midwestern town of Wausau, Wisconsin, Marissa headed to Stanford University where she specialized in Artificial Intelligence, and obtained both undergraduate and post-graduate degrees. In 1999, Marissa joined Google as its first female software engineer and quickly began her climb through its ranks. By 2001, she had already been promoted to Product Manager, and was promoted again less than two years later to Director of Consumer Web Services. By late 2005, Marissa was appointed VP, Search Products and User Experience, giving her full responsibility …

14 Leadership Principles from Steve Jobs

© Richard Davies

 

Like hundreds of thousands of Apple fans, I am fascinated by the incendiary brilliance of Steve Jobs and by the revolutionary products he created. I have no fewer than four Steve Jobs biographies in my library. I’ve read the unpleasant stories, and there are many: from Steve’s lack of basic hygiene in his youth, and his initial denial of paternity of his first daughter to the suggestion that he continually duped his long time partner, Steve Wozniak, the real brains behind Apple in its early days, but his luster remains. I am an admitted Steve Jobs junkie. Through his companies, Jobs transformed at least seven industries including animated movies, personal computing and music. I was delighted …

Be That Great Generation

If you still don’t know who Joseph Kony is or haven’t heard about the Kony 2012 campaign, then consider yourself a modern-day Rip van Winkle. Here it is in a nutshell:

Joseph Kony is a Ugandan warlord who came to power through religious family ties. His aunt was her tribe’s mystic and started the Holy Spirit Movement. Kony asserts that he is a prophet sent from God to purify Uganda and to bring peace under the rule of the Ten Commandments. As the leader of the Lord’s Resistance Army (LRA), Kony has been engaged in a monstrous campaign to set up theocratic leadership in the African nation since 1986.

Over the last 26 years the LRA have abducted and enslaved …

5 Reasons Why You Should Want A Tough Boss

Whenever I encounter someone struggling under the weight of new professional demands, I share the story of my very first job.

I was 18 years old and straight out of A-Levels. After re-sitting Chemistry, I took a job for a few months at a boutique before starting University in the fall. My attitude going in was that working in a retail clothing store would be dead easy.

Charmaine was my boss. Every day, she would grill me on the exact way to write up receipts, make sure all the hangers faced the same direction, and how to fold the clothes so that they formed precisely uniform stacks. The racks were to be dusted twice per day, and all the windows …

What Dreams Will Die with You?

Dr. Howard Thurman

A few weeks ago, I was driving home from work and listening on my iPhone, to a speech by the dynamic and inspiring, Les Brown. During this speech, I was captivated by a quote which he credited to Dr. Howard Thurman. Dr. Thurman was a remarkable man: an author, civil rights leader, educator, philosopher,  scholar, theologian and mystic. Some say, that if there had not been a Howard Thurman, there would not have been a Martin Luther King Jr as we know him.

Howard Thurman was born in segregated Florida in 1899, and raised by his once enslaved grandmother. He rose from his upbringing in the “dirty south” to graduate from Morehouse College as valedictorian in …