The average person may never have to appease shareholders, appear before a congressional panel or pull the trigger on massive layoffs. But how CEOs handle success, adversity and all manner of corporate curveballs does offer some insight for the working men and women who may never be household names.
Here are 5 chief executives and the lessons their leadership can offer the average business owner, employee or entrepreneur.
1. Steve Ballmer, CEO, Microsoft
Be irrepressible. “No. 1, great ideas matter. No. 2, find passion. And No. 3, be tenacious, be irrepressible. Microsoft was founded on a single good idea that Bill Gates and Paul Allen had that nobody else had had.”
2. Alan Mulally, CEO, Ford
Thrive in the face of adversity; fortune favors the bold. To say that the last few years were not kind to the auto industry is a massive understatement. The iconic Ford brand, like its competitors, was in dire straits. Today, bold moves and shrewd negotiations have made the carmaker not just viable, but profitable.
3. Mark Pincus, CEO, Zynga
Simple can be better. In a world where bigger, faster, and flashier are vital buzzwords, Zynga has proven that there is still a place for simple pleasures. The Facebook-anchored game is decidedly low-tech and undeniably a hit with the U.S. public.
4. Larry Page, CEO, Google
Know your limitations; keep your ego in check. When Larry Page and Sergey Brin started Google, the two had the foresight to realize their skill set was not necessarily in line with the value a top-notch CEO could bring. So they brought in tech veteran Eric Schmidt to provide the “adult supervision” needed to make Google the corporate powerhouse it is today.
5. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO, Facebook
Think long term, not immediate gratification. There were numerous times Zuckerberg could have turned a quick buck selling his social media monster to eager suitors. He held out, believing the future held bigger and better potential. He was right. Many analysts have pegged Facebook’s valuation as high as $100 billion.