The statement ‘leadership is an inborn quality’ is true, but it has some drawbacks since a person can also be nurtured to make a good leader. Furthermore, it can also be said that the quality of leadership style in a person determines how successful the person will be in whatever endeavors they participate. This essay aims at making a comparative leadership analysis on three leaders in the business world. These leaders are Tony Zhang, an entrepreneur from China, Charlene De Carvalho, the major shareholder of Heineken, and Brian Cornell, the CEO of Target.
Firstly, it is important to determine how each of these leaders describes the most important element of their jobs. Tony Zhang, for instance, started his organic food producing business from scratch. The most important part of Tony’s business is the need to offer sufficient natural food that would satisfactorily be adequate for the major part of China’s population. He also describes the need to mobilize people to realize the need to invest in eating healthy organic foods no matter how expensive they may be instead of buying cheap food products but full of chemicals and carcinogenic substances. To achieve his goal, Tony managed to start up an extensive organic foods farming business by first purifying the soil of harmful acidic wastes. Over 8 years, his company has managed to attract a large customer base, most of whom value the need to consume organic food.
Charlene De Carvalho inherited the Heineken Company following the death of her father, Alfred Heineken. For somebody who had never been involved directly in the business affairs, Charlene was tasked with the role of ensuring that the company was efficiently managed. Moreover, she had to make sure that the firm could increase its market share and company’s profitability. In addition, Charlene plays a significant part in ensuring that the inheritance of the business by her five children is done correctly. She describes this task as a challenging one since if the inheritance is done wrongly, chances of the business failing and ultimately collapsing are very high.
On the other hand, the newly appointed CEO of Target, Brian Cornell, describes the job as an excellent opportunity for him. Brian had managed to rise to be one of the most sought after candidates for the CEO position. He had previously led several companies before he was called to lead Target. For Brian, the most important element of his job was to revive the business from the economic slump it faced before he joined it. He managed to increase Target’s profit potential and customer base by embracing the hands-on approach. It means Brian went out on his own to find out how he would improve the business. Having gathered customer reviews and information from the company’s analyzed data, Brian was able to make strategic decisions that led to the tremendous increase of the business’ profitability.
All of the three leaders reflect on the issues of their businesses differently. For instance, Tony Zhang thought that the best way to deal with issues of the industry was to go back to the grass root to determine the primary cause of these matters. The biggest problem he was to address was the need to produce food products free from the toxic carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. To accomplish this, he had first to set up an environment that did not contain any toxic substances. He invested millions of dollars to purify the soil, in which he would grow crops and rear animals. Additionally, to solve the issues regarding the company, Tony was willing to have advice from his investors on what aspects of the business he would need to work on to increase the business’ profitability.
In reflecting on the issues on Heineken, Charlene and her husband, Michel De Carvalho, travelled around countries where Heineken had branches of the company to establish its weak links. Moreover, they called for the members of the board to replace the CEO of the enterprise. Rather than having advisors who said yes to everything that Charlene wanted, she opted for advisors who would challenge her decisions. By doing this, she was able to increase the profit share of the company tremendously since it had managed to increase its customer base.
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On the other hand, Brian Cornell took a rather overwhelming approach in reflecting on the issues of the company and the industry. He turned out to be a quite grounded man by refusing to use the luxurious office and opt for a smaller one instead. Brian took the initiative to get the views of the customers about the company’s products by himself. He learnt that mothers opted for organic foods for their children, an option Target had not provided for its clients. Moreover, Brian was open to the views of anyone and he interacted freely with other employees of the company. Using this approach, Brian had managed to gather sufficient information that would later help him make strategic decisions that led to the business increasing its profit potential.
The ability to make sound decisions is hard earned. It is through experience gained from working over extended periods of time in a particular field that leaders can make good decisions and also know how to handle any emerging issues. For example, Tony Zhang was a graduate in agricultural related field, which meant he possessed information on the organic farming business. It was also revealed that Tony’s parents had been farmers. Therefore, while growing up, Tony had a keen interest in agriculture. It is also through his experience in college that he had met his agricultural professor whom he later appointed as an advisor to the organic farming business.
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On the other hand, Charlene De Carvalho did not have a keen interest in his father’s business while growing up. However, after she had inherited the company, she sought out to understand the how the business operated. Charlene visited all of Heineken branches to gather information about the company and also establish weaknesses that needed to be addressed. Moreover, Charlene was eager to set up an advisory board that was straightforward with her rather than being sycophants or puppets to her.
Brian Cornell is seen as the leader that has worked so hard to get to his present position. After a difficult childhood and seeing himself through college, Brian manages to land a good job that brought him to the top ranks. He has previously been associated with top managerial jobs. By the time he landed the CEO Job at Target, he had sufficient experience to run the company successfully. Over the years at Target, Brian was able to make sound decisions that led the company to greater success.
Through their efforts, these three leaders have managed to inspire other people to share the same vision and commitment in their line of work. Tony, for instance, has managed to inspire like-minded people to venture into organic farming since there is a need to encourage healthy eating in China.
Charlene, on the other hand, has been a source of inspiration to other people through her efforts to ensure that Heineken runs successfully. At the time of inheriting the business, many thought that the company would fall since she had little experience in running it. However, years later, she has become one of the most influential women and a huge inspiration to many people.
Brian Cornell emerged as a source of inspiration majorly due to his humble nature. For a CEO of a multinational company, taking lunch at the cafeteria like any other employee was a huge step. Many people would be inspired by how he took matters into his hands to gather information on his own about the critical issues that needed to be addressed in the company.
The three leaders have portrayed different leadership abilities. For instance, Tony Zhang can be described as a thought leader. Thought leaders are said to harness the power of ideas to bring about change. Thus, Tony came up with a brilliant idea to help counter the consumption of food products containing harmful chemical substances. Through the information he had gathered over the years as an agriculture specialist, he actualized his ideas into a lucrative business venture.
Charlene De Carvalho can be said to be a courage leader. She ventures into a business she has never had any experience in and successfully manages to control it. She manages to get information about the company and its operations and harnesses it to make the necessary changes for business to increase its boundaries and profit potential.
Finally, Brian Cornell can be said to be a servant leader. His efforts to get information about necessary changes that needed to be made in the company by himself speak for themselves. He is seen a leader that associates with all his subordinates in an interactive manner and who is humble in nature.
In conclusion, it is evident from the essay that it takes skill, courage, and willingness to take risk to become a good leader. In addition, the ability to identify weak links in a company and finding solutions for these problems define a good leader as well.