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Leadership Lessons From Top Executives

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Thu Mar 28 2013

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(From Huffington Post)—As chairman and CEO of Citigroup, Sandy Weill ran the world's third largest financial institution with 250,000 employees in 102 countries without a computer and barely knew how to use a cell phone.

Amazon.com soared from a $9 billion to a $70 billion company with Mark Onetto in charge of the supply chain and customer service for the world's largest Internet retailer.

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And Whole Foods Market co-CEO and co-founder John Mackey has grown a single store in Austin, Texas, founded in 1978, into an $11 billion Fortune 300 company, and a top U.S. supermarket with more than 340 stores and 70,000 team members worldwide.

I recently interviewed each of these three gifted business leaders at a series of public events in February sponsored by the UC Davis Graduate School of Management.

These business leaders came from very different industries: a legendary financial industry leader, the innovative operations guru from the book seller turned-global retail and media powerhouse, and a risk-taker who put natural foods on the map.

What leadership lessons can we glean from three leaders in different industries? They spoke with a common voice that reinforces the virtues of sustainable business and what we should be teaching the next generation of business executives and entrepreneurs.

The message was loud and clear: leadership matters. Emotional intelligence and putting people first are keys to a well-run, values-centered company. And, the most important lesson is that, whether operating in retail, banking, grocery or other industries, the health of today's companies relies more than ever before on creating a reciprocating network of shared value for all stakeholders.

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