What the breakup of the global economy means to investors and managers

The world’s biggest economies are no longer moving in lockstep—and that makes the world more risky. Just how aligned is the global economy? To what extent is it one comprehensible system, as opposed to a lot of independently operating systems? Getting the answer right is crucial for anyone who wants to manage or invest wisely—and…

Here’s what Elon Musk and Ralph Lauren have in common

Sometimes a leader’s vision is a distraction from what needs doing. But when a vision is real, its power is beyond imagining. Two of my favorite CEOs are in the news, and while they could scarcely be more different, they share a leadership trait that’s worth a closer look: vision. I know, not every company…

Whole Foods, FIFA, and how leaders can respond to bad news

  Facing bad news is a large part of what leaders get paid to do, and how they do it is an excellent measure of leadership. The legendary consultant Ram Charan likes to ask CEOs, “Are you hearing lots of bad news?” If not, that’s a problem. Every organization has bad news every day, and…

VW’s new CEO already has a very, very long to-do list

Matthias Mueller faces one of the largest leadership challenges in recent business history. Who’s the leader most worth watching now? The field of candidates is crowded and includes the new Speaker of the House, whoever it might be; Vladimir Putin, craftily widening his influence in the Middle East; and President Obama, negotiating with Putin and…

Don’t mess with the SEC’s Mary Jo White

Some wish Wall Street’s top cop would crack down harder on the big banks, but she’s maintaining her reputation as a serious enforcer. The Securities and Exchange Commission attracts little attention except when there’s financial trouble, and then it gets tons. Today the lingering trauma of the financial crisis is drawing plenty of notice to…

Volkswagen’s scandal management: Needs improvement

The quality of Volkswagen’s response to its emissions scandal is decidedly mixed so far. And time is of the essence. We’re about to find out whether Volkswagen’s leaders passed Scandal Management 101. The initial signs are decidedly mixed. To no one’s surprise except maybe his own, CEO Martin Winterkorn resigned on Wednesday after a meeting…

Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn’s drastic fall

  Martin Winterkorn may be out the door at VW. The auto giant’s emissions scandal is a terrible story that will be rich with leadership lessons. A German newspaper reported on Tuesday morning that Volkswagen CEO Martin Winterkorn will be fired by the end of the week. The report is unconfirmed, but it’s totally unsurprising;…

Carly Fiorina’s disastrous record as HP’s CEO

  The more closely voters examine Carly Fiorina’s record as HP’s CEO, the worse she’ll look. A new CNN poll released yesterday shows that Carly Fiorina has surged in the rankings since her impressive performance in the Republican candidates’ debate Wednesday evening. She had 2% to 4% support pre-debate and now has about 15%, taking…

How CEO Mary Barra is using the ignition-switch scandal to change GM’s culture

“I never want to put this behind us,” the CEO told stunned employees. The announcement yesterday of a $900-million settlement between General Motors GM and the U.S. Justice Department in the ignition-switch case reveals new information about CEO Mary Barra’s continuing cultural rehab of the company. It’s an unusually powerful story so far—and one reason…

Republican debate: How Donald Trump and Ben Carson stood out

The two most successful Republican presidential candidates so far are the loudest one and the quietest one. If you had just landed from Mars on Wednesday night, having never heard of the Republican candidates or seen a polling number—if all you had to go on was what you saw in the debate on CNN—whom would…

Why crazy market swings can be a good thing

Our interconnected global markets may slip into occasional madness, but they bring more liquidity and opportunity, too. Investors from Manila to Munich to Manhattan were aghast at the spectacle of market contagion during August’s global stock-price meltdown—all those markets and many more took a heavy hit. What’s an investor to do when a bursting bubble…