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Dec30
Leadership in the 21st Century
Earlier this month Fortune’s cover story was entitled “How to Become Great Leader.” It is good reading and worthy of attention if you have any aspirations to leadership. fortune Grove.jpg

The article has several features including an essay that provides thorough analysis of Andy Grove’s leadership at Intel by Richard S. Tedlow, Harvard Business School professor and eminent business historian.

There are great stories here and lessons from a self-made leader. Weaknesses are exposed, tales of near disaster narrowly averted. It is compelling.

In the essay, Tedlow describes Grove as “America's greatest student and teacher of business.” He illustrates several key decisions that reveal Grove's brilliance at grasping profound changes in the business environment including guiding the company into new and seemingly dangerous markets.

Tedlow points out how Grove stood at a critical point that in his own words may have  "wrecked the company."  He was a hair's breadth away from making a catastrophic blunder—the temptation to abandon the Intel's traditional CISC chip architecture for the faster and trendier RISC technology. Grove emerged from this critical moment as an exemplary leader because he allowed two executives to talk him out of the decision.  Observes Tedlow, “Grove's MO as a leader has always been to depend on 'helpful Cassandras' to make sure that he doesn't win an argument he ought to lose.”  Credit Grove with not only listening but hiring people that would challenge him and show their own leadership.

Tedlow proclaims that Grove’s leadership at Intel is “the best model we have for leading a business in the 21st Century.” That is quite a claim and should make you want to read this if only to decide if that claim holds any legitimacy. 

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