Here’s What American CEOs Most Fear About the Election

And business in 2016 What scares leaders now? It’s the obvious Halloween question, so let’s take a look, focusing especially on business leaders. It’s a deep question, and the answer to it depends on how deeply you want to probe. At the shallowest level, business leaders have no trouble speaking right up about fears for…

Pundits Are Wrong. Donald Trump’s Brand Could Survive a Disastrous Election

Even if he loses big, his brand could become more valuable. Let’s assume Donald Trump loses. The polls and forecasting models could be wrong, of course; there’s a decent chance they’re underestimating turnout by Trump supporters. But let’s say the models are right and Trump wakes up in 12 days as a businessman deciding what…

How Entrepreneurs Like Elon Musk and Reed Hastings Become Global CEOs

None of them were ready to be CEO of a big corporation when they launched their firms. Excellent leaders are rare, and some of the very rarest and best are of a specific type: entrepreneurs who start a successful company (a tiny percentage of total entrepreneurs) and who then continue to manage it well as…

The Vitriol on Social Media Is Wearing Out Republicans and Democrats

A new study explains Anger and incivility are among the most striking features of this election, and everyone has an explanation (usually that it’s the other side’s fault). Now the Pew Research Center offers important new evidence based on actual data. The bottom line is that while social media are a blessing in many ways,…

Why PGA Tour’s Pitch to China Is Such a Challenge

The Chinese government isn’t exactly embracing the sport. It’s easy for business leaders to forget that they’ve got more to worry about than advancing technology, regulation, the election, and the war for talent. There’s still China. Though it’s growing slower than it used to be and slower than the official statistics say, it’s still growing…

Time Warner’s Jeff Bewkes Deserves a Gold Star for Focusing on CEO Fundamentals

And not letting ego get in the way. Public company CEOs should download a photo of Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes and make it the wallpaper on their phones, a persistent reminder of what the chief’s job is and how to do it. Forgetting those fundamentals is perilously easy, but Bewkes has remembered them during…

Three Big Mistakes Leaders Make When Managing Millennials

And how to fix them. Millennials have become the largest demographic in the workplace. But managers of all ages have struggled to find the best way to connect with a wave of twenty- and thirtysomethings who do most of their typing with their thumbs, work wearing earbuds, and claim they can hold meaningful conversations while…

The Moment that Donald Trump’s Downward Spiral Began

There was a tipping point. Pretty near every leader on earth, in business, government, or any other realm, has something riding on who will become the world’s most important leader, the U.S. president. Now that the debates are over, let’s review the ways we might foretell the outcome. They reveal not only what’s likely to…

Why Walmart’s CEO Is Taking His Billion Dollar Risks

Doug McMillon seems to think they’re Walmart’s best chance to survive retail’s revolutionary era. Our unplanned theme this week is leaders taking risks. Tuesday it was Caterpillar CEO Doug Oberhelman’s high-stakes (but unsuccessful) bet on commodities and emerging markets, which is costing him his job. Yesterday it was the staggering risks that Neflix CEO Reed…

The Real Reason Why Caterpillar’s Doug Oberhelman Is Leaving

Caterpillar’s CEO is retiring a year ahead of schedule. I was sorry to see Caterpillar’s announcement yesterday that CEO Doug Oberhelman would retire a year early, on January 1, after four years of falling sales. The board was right to act. But Oberhelman’s story is a reminder to all leaders that the phrase “high risk,…

Hillary Clinton’s Goldman Sachs Speeches Don’t Matter. Here’s Why.

In any other election, Clinton’s Goldman Sachs speeches would have been big news. In the olden days, voters during presidential races would get into heated arguments over such amusingly quaint topics as tax policy, health care, and the future of Social Security. Back then, the release of a major candidate’s paid speeches to a leading…

Why So Many CEOs Make John Stumpf’s Same Fatal Error

Both VW’s CEO and Samsung’s CEO made similar blunders. John Stumpf’s sudden retirement yesterday was no surprise. As Wells Fargo’s fake-accounts scandal continued to grow, it became clear that the bank couldn’t move on until Stump left the building. What makes the news interesting is that it fits a larger recent pattern, along with the…

Why President George H.W. Bush Is ‘Looking Better and Better’

A lot of his so-called failings look like virtues now. You’ve got to wonder what George H.W. Bush thinks of this presidential race. You can wonder, but he won’t tell us, a reticence that may be one reason the 41st president is lately being reevaluated in a distinctly kinder, gentler way. Pulitzer-Prize winner Jon Meacham…

A Brief Defense of Paul Ryan’s Torturous Relationship With Donald Trump

The critics are wrong. The House Speaker has pursued an honorable course. Imagine the agony of Paul Ryan now. On Monday the House Speaker, America’s top ranking elected Republican, said he would never again campaign with or for Donald Trump and would no longer defend him, in the wake of the now-infamous video released last…

Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton Face the World’s Hottest Campaign Crucible

Their current struggles could be good training for whoever wins office. Can Donald Trump survive the crucible of a presidential campaign? Many people (including me) have bewailed our unique and arguably insane American system of choosing a president, requiring candidates to invest two years of exhausting non-stop work toward a highly uncertain outcome. What kind…

Populist Rage Is Not a Leadership Strategy

The mainstream trend of rejecting “the elites” is going to backfire. Leaders face a particularly tough new challenge: Being a leader without being an authority. That imperative arises from the mainstream trend of defying and scorning authority. The evidence is all around us here in America, and it’s much more than a U.S. phenomenon. Consider…

The AI Revolution: Why You Need to Learn About Deep Learning

Leaders need to start planning now for artificial intelligence. We’re taking a break today from the election and corporate scandals to do something that most leaders–in fact, most people–generally, don’t do often enough: Thinking great big thoughts about how technology will change our lives. Many CEOs tell me their greatest fear is being blindsided by…