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.
There comes a fork in every career. Should I do this or do that?
Charting a successful career was the topic on Tuesday at Wal-Mart (WMT), where the company's female officers staged a "Fortune Most Powerful Women" event and I interviewed two stars of the 2009 MPWomen rankings: Wal-Mart EVP of People Susan Chambers and Xerox (XRX) CEO Ursula Burns.
Their bios tell the paths they chose. More inspiring and instructive, as MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 15, 2009 2:40 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
"Control your expenses better than your competition. This is where you can always find the competitive advantage."
That was said, simply enough, by Wal-Mart (WMT) founder Sam Walton. And though today it's widely known that Wal-Mart is the world's most efficient retailer, a little-known fact is that for 25 years--long before Wal-Mart became America's largest retailer--it ranked No. 1 in its industry for the lowest ratio of expenses to sales.
Efficiency runs in the water here MOREPatricia Sellers - Oct 14, 2009 12:03 PM ET
Last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit was teeming with experts. They offered points and opinions on so many topics, with data to back it all up. Here, some of our favorite stats:
1. The No. 1 quality that successful business leaders have in common is that they started a business at a young age. --Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway (BRKB) (Click for video of Summit interview with Buffett.)
2. MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Sep 25, 2009 1:01 PM ET
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
|Boost for trade as global deal struck|
|Five key numbers behind the jobs recovery|
|Someone bought a $100,000 Tesla with Bitcoins|
|2 million Facebook, Gmail and Twitter passwords stolen in massive hack|
|Where should you put your money now?|