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Growth Champions: The Battle for Sustained Innovation Leadership by

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CHAPTER 15

Key Characteristics

Inspirational Leadership

As we undertook the analysis for this book and talked to executives in the varied companies we were able to explore different organizational cultures. As you can imagine these were many and varied. For example the flat structure of Google is very different from the more established, corporate style of the likes of BASF. Equally Apple's tenacious control over its innovation is counter to Procter & Gamble's open approach. That said, one element that we kept encountering, and which permeates throughout each organization, was the role of the leadership teams and particularly the CEO. In nearly all of the companies, the CEO was more than just the top manager or its strategic direction setter; he or she was a catalyst of change, the primary driver of the corporate ambition and its communication to all stakeholders, and a link between the history of the company and its future growth prospects.

Founder CEO's drive

In the companies that are still being, or have recently been, led by their founders, the entrepreneurial spirit that created the varied businesses has not dimmed. As their companies have grown in scale and reach so too has their vision. When Jeff Bezos founded Amazon, he did so with passion and insight: As the company took on the established world of retailing, he kept on coming back to that ‘Day 1’ perspective in order to drive the business forward. Equally Larry Page and Sergey Brin have been unwavering in taking Google ...

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