When Frances Hesselbein was CEO of the Girl Scouts of the USA, she believed that "only the best is good enough for those who serve girls." Her philosophy drove a turnaround of that struggling organization and led to friendships with CEOs like Alan Mulally of Ford (F) and management master Peter Drucker.
Hesselbein met Drucker at New York's University Club in 1981--an encounter that turned out to be life-changing. After leading the Scouts for 13 years, she headed Drucker's Leader to Leader Institute, wrote books to spread his word, and traveled tirelessly to strengthen social sectors around the globe.
Hesselbein sat down with me in her Manhattan office to share her best leadership tips and anecdotes from a long life well lived. (She's 96!) You can read her advice here. By the way, she's still energetically promoting ethical leadership. Hesselbein recently visited students at West Point with Mulally. "There is just one reason that we are placed on this Earth. That reason is to love and be loved -- in that order," she told the students. Says Mulally: "To be with Frances, to talk about leadership, and continuously improve our contribution and our service is just very inspiring to me."
by Patricia Sellers
The best bosses tend to be those who welcome bad news -- "Hit me with your best shot!" -- and keep hope alive.
That balance is at the heart of the remarkable turnaround at Ford (F). Last week at the Yale CEO Summit, a gathering of corporate chiefs and other influentials led by Yale professor Jeff Sonnenfeld, Ford Americas President Mark Fields told a story that conveys how Ford MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 20, 2010 12:32 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
I have to admit that even among Fortune staffers, most of us predicted that Apple (AAPL) CEO Steve Jobs or Ford's (F) turnaround chief, Alan Mulally, would be selected as the magazine's Businessperson of the Year.
What a surprise that No. 1 on the list is Reed Hastings, the founder, chairman and CEO of Netflix.
Hastings is a great choice, actually. The 50-person ranking is about 2010's top movers and MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 19, 2010 12:37 PM ET
By Patricia Sellers
At Ernst & Young's Strategic Growth Forum in Palm Desert, California, I'm with 1,700 entrepreneurs, investors and other business folks who, you would think, would prefer to schmooze with celebs like Google's (GOOG) Sergey Brin, Amazon.com's (AMZN) Jeff Bezos or other tech icons. It's odd that the Masters of the Industrial Universe are the stars here, sharing business and career lessons.
At dinner Tuesday night, I sat with two MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 11, 2010 10:16 AM ET
"The future of transportation will be a blend of things like Zipcar, public transportation, and private car ownership. Not only do I not fear that, but I think it's a great opportunity for us to participate in the changing nature of car ownership."
-- Bill Ford, Ford's (F) executive chairman, in the "The Best New Idea in Business," Fortune's cover story about Zipcar. Writer Paul Keegan tells how the nine-year-old car-sharing service MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Aug 31, 2009 6:37 PM ET
By Jessica Shambora
It's Christmas week, always a quiet time at workplaces across the country. But this holiday is anything but typical. The quiet will stretch way beyond Christmas at many offices and factories this year.
No surprise, the Big Three automakers are temporarily shutting North American plants, in numbers correlating to their varying degrees of peril. Chrysler closed all 30 of its plants for a month. General Motors (GM) followed suit MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Dec 22, 2008 3:27 PM ET
"You think I would have gone through what I did the last two months if I didn't want to stay?"
-- General Motors (GM) chairman and CEO Rick Wagoner, reiterating today that he's determined to keep his job. In exchange for a $13.4 billion rescue package (which will come from the government's $700 bllion TARP fund aimed at banks and Wall Street firms), executives at GM and Chrysler agreed to limits MOREPatricia Sellers - Dec 19, 2008 6:39 PM ET
"We have a chance of being hung with a softer rope."
-- Denny Fitzpatrick, chairman of the California New Car Dealers Association, in the New York Times today. A government bailout of the Detroit automakers looks increasingly likely, but that's not necessarily good news for Fitzpatrick, a Chevrolet-Hummer dealer, and his brethren. The big three -- General Motors (GM) , Ford (F) , and Chrysler -- have told Congress that they MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Dec 9, 2008 5:20 PM ET
As the government commits more and more money to its multitudinous rescue efforts--of Bear Stearns, then AIG (AIG), then Citigroup (C) and its bank rivals, then Citigroup again, and now more money for Fannie Mae (FNM) and Freddie Mac (FRE)--we wonder: Where, oh where, will these bailouts end? In Detroit, with General Motors (GM), Ford (F)and Chrysler securing their desperately needed billions? Alas, the road to shore up capitalism will MOREPatricia Sellers - Nov 26, 2008 2:01 PM ET
"Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, this time more intelligently."
-- Henry Ford, founder of Ford Motor (F). If only Mr. Ford could see this day when his company's stock has sunk to $1.26. That's a 26-year low. Ford's market cap is now a mere $2.9 billion.
The leaders of the Big Three American automakers--Ford, General Motors (GM) and Chrysler--appeared on Capitol Hill again today to appeal for $25 billion MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 19, 2008 6:09 PM ET
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