Who are you? It's more important than ever to know the answer to this question.
Think about it - When you're on shaky ground (aren't we all these days?), when your bosses and direct reports question your moves (admit it, they do), and when you're rethinking your life or career (you'd better be, or you're a fool), you need one core competency: Know thyself.
A primer in this regard: a book that I talk about in Fortune's current cover story about Meg Whitman, the former eBay (EBAY) boss who's running to be California's next governor. The book is Politics Lost by Joe Klein, the well-known columnist at Time. For tips on how to preserve your authentic self - yes, outside politics as well - read Klein's sidebar offering advice to Whitman.
And take a look back at Postcards over the past week. Last Friday's was about reinvention - from Cisco (CSCO) to former Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Jim Donald to Procter & Gamble's (PG) Susan Arnold, who just walked away from her job as president there. This week, we featured an amazing woman, Jacqueline Novogratz, who talks about her transformation from banker to venture philanthropist. And yesterday, we posted an exclusive on Dawn Hudson, the former CEO of Pepsi-Cola North America (PEP), who called me on Wednesday to say she's ready to "reinvent" after 14 months on the sidelines. She landed a new job at last. But not the high-powered gig you would expect of her.
Face it, the only sure way to stay sane and be happy in this uncertain world is to get to know our true selves...and if needed, change to like that true self. Enough psychotherapy. Have a good weekend!
P.S. I'm in Hartford, Conn. today visiting folks at The Hartford, the insurance giant. Ramani Ayer, The Hartford's chairman and CEO, just asked me,"What do you think are the traits of the best leaders?" I gave him my list of five traits, then he gave me his. No. 1 on his list: self-awareness. What traits do you think the best leaders have?
My Fortune colleague Geoff Colvin writes in our March 2 issue that a few companies--DuPont (DD) and Colgate-Palmolive (CL) and McDonald's (MCD), to name three--are working overtime to preserve their brand equity in this downturn. Instead of discounting, they are, in some cases, actually raising prices.
Another company loathe to cut prices: Starbucks (SBUX). As I've noted on Postcards, CEO Howard Schultz told me last year that the smartest decision he MOREPatricia Sellers - Mar 3, 2009 2:31 PM ET
By Beth Kowitt
The company that brought premium java into the mainstream is now selling instant coffee. Is this the latest sign of the apocalypse?
At an event in New York today, Starbucks (SBUX) introduced the result of its biggest research investment to date: Starbucks Via Ready Brew, available in individual servings (a three-pack sells for $2.95; a 12-pack for $9.95).
Before you start accusing the iconic retailer of desperate measures, give Via MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Feb 17, 2009 6:09 PM ET
It's not about falling down. It's about getting back up. You learn that you can get back up and fail, and it's not fatal. That you can move on and even become stronger from that moment. It's about learning to take those risks. And it frees you up, so you're not afraid to fail.
I learned this when I didn't get a promotion that I was up for at Starbucks (SBUX). MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Nov 6, 2008 2:24 PM ET
"How do you navigate through this? The key is to not make the short-term decision that would subordinate the equity of the brand."
- Starbucks (SBUX) CEO Howard Schultz yesterday, when I chatted with him in New Orleans. Here with 11,000 Starbucks managers--or "partners" as he calls his employees--he was preaching the dangers of discounting and the value of social responsibility, especially when employees as well as consumers are feeling down MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 30, 2008 4:29 PM ET
I've talked on Postcards about the greatest sins of the big retailers: believing that if you build it, they will come. That focus on growth at all costs has hurt Starbucks (SBUX) and Home Depot (HD), whose stocks have just recently risen risen off of 52-week lows. Speaking of lows, there is Lowe's (LOW), which announced earnings Monday morning: down 8% in the second quarter. But thanks to solid expense MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 18, 2008 1:23 PM ET
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