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Generating Short-Term Wins

When one of the most visionary, charismatic executives I’ve known was appointed president of a $1.7 billion division of a large U.S. company, the level of excitement at that business rose dramatically. To many employees, his first year felt like a wonderful and needed breath of fresh air. Suddenly, bold ideas were discussed in meetings instead of seeming trivialities. Sacred cows were herded away, and anyone with valid information on problems or opportunities was given a hearing. As a coalition of people emerged around the new leader, that team began talking of shifts in the fundamental strategic direction of the firm.

A vision of a global powerhouse began to emerge, a firm that would exploit new technologies to ...

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