by Patricia Sellers
This week, TIME Magazine presents the 25 Most Powerful Women of the Past Century.
Interesting that TIME, Fortune's sister magazine at Time Inc. (TWX), includes just two businesswomen on its list. Both -- Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey -- are entrepreneurs. Since her company, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia (MSO), is struggling these days, Martha didn't make this year's Fortune Most Powerful Women list. Oprah, whose power keeps expanding and who is about to launch her own TV network in partnership with Discovery Communications (DISCA), rank's No. 6 on the 2010 Fortune list.
One thing Oprah has taught us is that success in business is pretty basic. Pick your passion. Control your destiny. Follow your gut. Oprah drilled on the latter point when I talked with her for "Oprah's Next Act," last month's cover story in Fortune. Oprah tells TIME as well: "Every right decision I've made has come from my gut. And every wrong decision I've ever made was a result of me not listening to the greater voice of myself. Feelings are really your GPS system for life."
I love that -- your GPS system for life. "When you're supposed to do something or not supposed to do something," Oprah says, "your emotional guidance system lets you know. The trick is to learn to check your ego at the door and start checking your gut instead."
There's a trove of career advice in TIME's interviews with a dozen Fortune MPWomen, including Oracle's (ORCL) Safra Catz, Wal-Mart's (WMT) Susan Chambers, JPMorgan Chase's (JPM) Heidi Miller, Google's (GOOG) Susan Wojcicki, NBC Universal's (GE) Lauren Zalaznick. (The latter two, incidentally, recently got promotions.) Another thing, besides gut, that guides these leaders: Good people sense and smarts about hiring.
Chanel Global CEO Maureen Chiquet tells TIME, "My worst decisions revolved around hiring the wrong people or even the right people at the wrong time. Often, the pressure of the business and fear of having an open position encourages us to hire people who are either not right for the job or not ready to take on the responsibility...You can't rush the on-boarding process."
Indeed, a business is as good as the people who run it and represent your brand. Speaking of great leaders and brand representatives, here I am on video talking about Oprah, PepsiCo (PEP) CEO Indra Nooyi and some others who are on this year's Fortune MPWomen list.
We've spent the last three months slicing and dicing the accomplishments and career histories of the most powerful women in business -- far too many facts and figures to fit into our Most Powerful Women package in the magazine. Here are 10 intriguing facts that we couldn't find space for in print:
Youngest woman to ever appear on the list: Marissa Mayer, VP of Search and User Experience at Google (GOOG). MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Sep 30, 2008 12:11 PM ET
"Anytime you have a fiercely competitive, change-oriented growth business where results count and merit matters, women will rise to the top."
- Carly Fiorina said this 10 years ago this week, when I interviewed her for the very first Fortune Most Powerful Women in Businesss issue. Then a senior exec at Lucent, Fiorina was virtually unknown outside the telecom industry. In fact, she had had only one profile written about her, MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 1, 2008 12:49 PM ET
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