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Wisdom From The Top with Guy Raz
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Wisdom From The Top with Guy Raz

Author: Guy Raz | Luminary

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From the creator of How I Built This, host Guy Raz invites you to listen in as he talks to leadership experts and the visionary leaders of some of the world's biggest brands. Along the way, you'll hear accounts of crisis, failure, turnaround, and triumph, as the leaders reveal their secrets on their way to the top. These are stories that didn't make it into their company bios, and valuable lessons for anyone trying to make it in business.
109 Episodes
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Etsy: Josh Silverman

Etsy: Josh Silverman

2023-12-0645:41

Josh Silverman built Evite and turned around eBay. Then, in 2017, Etsy came calling. The online marketplace for creative goods was in deep trouble. Growth had plateaued and the company was on the verge of being sold. Josh stepped in as CEO and got the team focused on one simple metric that made all the difference. Originally published in 2020.
Since 1992, Kim Scott has worked in almost all levels of management—from a diamond business in Moscow to startups in the Silicon Valley to leading teams at Google. Along the way, she developed a management philosophy called “radical candor” that calls for “caring personally while challenging directly.” Kim has since provided CEO coaching at Dropbox, Qualtrics, and Twitter and is the author of several popular leadership books. Originally published in 2022, this conversation still resonates today.
Over a career spanning four decades, Roger Martin has been a management consultant, an influential  business strategy thinker and author, as well as the Dean of the Rotman School of Management at University of Toronto. He advises CEOs of global companies such as Ford, Proctor & Gamble, and Lego. He is well known for developing and exploring the concept of “integrative thinking” in management problem solving and for troubling conventional management wisdom as he does in his newest book, A New Way to Think: Your Guide to Superior Management Effectiveness. In this episode, Martin challenges the relentless drive for efficiency and advocates for a re-think in approach. This conversation was originally published in May of 2022.
Marvel: Peter Cuneo

Marvel: Peter Cuneo

2023-11-1547:18

When Peter Cuneo joined Marvel as CEO in 1999, it was a struggling publishing house teetering on the edge of bankruptcy. Ten years later, Disney bought Marvel for $4.5 billion. Cuneo tells his unlikely origin story and how he became the "turnaround superhero."
In 2001, Campbell's Soup was in freefall: the company's value had halved and employee engagement was at an all-time low. Doug Conant knew he could salvage the iconic company, but first, things were going to have to get worse. How he used self-taught leadership, diversity, and inclusion to energize his employees and save Campbell's.
Back in the 1980s, Stephen R. Covey anticipated a new kind of leadership with his book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. It wasn't the table-pounding, charismatic kind of leadership, but an empathetic one, which prioritized listening and collaboration. Guy speaks with Covey's son Stephen M.R. Covey, who has played a central role in spreading his father's teachings around the world, and has also written several influential leadership books of his own.
Autodesk: Carl Bass

Autodesk: Carl Bass

2023-09-2001:08:46

Carl Bass, a renegade and reluctant executive, took the helm at Autodesk and steered the company out of the global economic crisis. At one point, he was so sure it would fail that he was desperate to find a buyer. Instead, he put his own money at risk to try a whole new business model.
Jeremy Zimmer was not supposed to be heading one of the "big four" talent agencies in Hollywood. As a child, he struggled in school and eventually dropped out of college to become a parking lot hustler, making money running schemes as a valet and spending nights partying. But that all stopped suddenly one day when he was violently attacked on the job. When he got back on his feet, he found new focus and began his improbable rise to the top of the talent agency world.
Macy's: Terry Lundgren

Macy's: Terry Lundgren

2023-09-0643:35

Terry Lundgren, former CEO of Neiman Marcus and Macy's, has been instrumental in shaping the American retail landscape, but the road to bringing two notoriously competitive retail giants together wasn't easy. How he merged famous department rivals, double-downed on retail, and turned Macy's into the first nationwide department store in the United States.
How a New Orleans native turned around a cruise company sinking from a public relations disaster... to one of the most valuable brands in its industry. When Arnold Donald took over Carnival Corporation and the nine cruise lines it operates, one of the biggest things he did was build a new leadership team. Seven of the cruise lines got new heads, including more women and minorities. He says that "diversity of thinking is a business imperative and a powerful advantage," and that you get better ideas and new growth opportunities when your leadership is diverse.
PayPal: Dan Schulman

PayPal: Dan Schulman

2023-08-2344:32

Mixing business and social justice isn't a strategy most companies are willing to adopt, which is why Dan Schulman's actions as CEO of PayPal have garnered so much attention. In 2016, he canceled a plan for an operations center in North Carolina after the state passed its infamous "bathroom bill." Schulman champions his "employee first" strategy and has raised wages and benefits for PayPal's workforce. His leadership has proved that activism doesn't have to come at the cost of PayPal's bottom line.
GE: Beth Comstock

GE: Beth Comstock

2023-08-1644:33

Beth Comstock is comfortable with change. In college, she wanted to be a doctor, but organic chemistry wasn't her strong suit, so she shifted to journalism. When journalism didn't work out, she started working in publicity. So, when GE bought NBC in 1986 right as Beth was starting her career in advertising, she was ready to adapt again. She worked her way to becoming CMO of GE and then, the company's first female Vice Chair of Business Innovations.
Lego: Jørgen Vig Knudstorp

Lego: Jørgen Vig Knudstorp

2023-08-0901:04:27

For years, it was a secret: the family that owned Lego was actually losing money on the company. The man who built the company back up into one of the biggest toymakers in the world, Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, reveals his controversial plan that led Lego back to profitability. It leaned on something that has always been Lego's strength: the creativity and passion of the children and adults who love to play with Lego.
General Stanley McChrystal was born into a military family: three generations of men in his family were officers in the armed forces. He followed the family tradition and eventually rose up the ranks to become a General in the Army. While serving as the commander of Allied Forces in Afghanistan in 2010, he was forced to resign after he was quoted making disparaging remarks about President Obama. It was in the wake of this moment that General McChrystal learned the value of leadership.
NASA: Ellen Ochoa

NASA: Ellen Ochoa

2023-07-2601:02:41

After one of the most deadly disasters in the history of space flight, Ellen Ochoa was a leader in NASA's recovery. She fixed the technical things that went wrong, but the most critical changes, she says, were human. Why she thinks it's important to make sure that naysayers always have a voice, and how to encourage employees to do something very difficult: disagree with the boss.
Avon: Andrea Jung

Avon: Andrea Jung

2023-07-1936:55

For over a decade as CEO of direct-sales giant Avon, Andrea Jung was one of the most powerful women in the cosmetics industry. During her tenure, Jung saw striking success, but also faced daunting challenges with a failed product rollout and massive restructuring. Since 2014, Andrea has brought her passion for supporting female entrepreneurs to her job as CEO of Grameen America, a non-profit focused on micro-lending.
Built to Last: Jim Collins

Built to Last: Jim Collins

2023-07-1201:22:31

It's not an understatement to say that Jim Collins is one of the most influential business writers in modern history. Collins, however, thinks of himself more as a researcher than an author. Each of his books, which includes Good to Great, Built to Last, and his newest, BE 2.0, requires five or six years of crunching data before the writing can begin. But what's even more remarkable about Collins is his own background, and how he built a career out of making unorthodox choices.
PepsiCo: Indra Nooyi

PepsiCo: Indra Nooyi

2023-07-0501:16:15

After becoming the CEO of PepsiCo in 2006, Indra Nooyi became the first woman and immigrant to run a Fortune 50 company. From Chennai, India, to Yale's School of Management, Nooyi worked her way up from The Boston Consulting Group, Motorola, and ASEA Brown Boveri before eventually landing at PepsiCo, overseeing the global operation of its countless drinks, snacks, and restaurants. Nooyi's memoir, My Life in Full, details her legendary career, exploring her extraordinary personal journey and the demands of being one of the most powerful women on the planet.
Best Buy: Hubert Joly

Best Buy: Hubert Joly

2023-06-2801:08:41

In 2012, to say there was a crisis at Best Buy — is an understatement. In January, Forbes published an article with the headline: WHY BEST BUY IS GOING OUT OF BUSINESS. And then, in March, the company reported a loss of $1.7 billion. In April, the CEO resigned because of an "inappropriate relationship" with an employee. Hubert Joly stepped in, determined to fix Best Buy, and he started by valuing the people who work there.
BET: Debra Lee

BET: Debra Lee

2023-06-2152:22

Black Entertainment Television helped make the first Black billionaire in the US and was the first Black-owned business traded on the New York Stock Exchange. Debra Lee, a young lawyer drawn to the company's mission, was pivotal in turning the small, revolutionary cable station into an industry staple. Growing BET and finding confidence as a CEO amid cultural controversy.
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Comments (3)

Michelle Schaefer

I'd love to hear an update after they dealt with the Covid crisis on the cruise ships.

Jun 2nd
Reply

Achieng Adongo

Great information but the editing here wasn't great. There was a bit of repeating.

Nov 15th
Reply

Olumuyiwa Fatoba

It takes a man of character to admit when he is wrong. The General has led an amazing life and I am inspired by his achievements and character. Guy is also a phenomenal host... the questions tell a structured story that stimulates my thoughts in ways I have never experienced, Thank you Guy for all you do.

Jul 9th
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