True leadership courage is hard to find. The headlines are rife with tales of leaders—both in business and politics—taking the easy way out of problems. These are leaders who cut and run instead of staying and confronting their challenges.
That is what makes Lisa Su so special. The CEO of Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) is the very definition of leadership courage.
In 2014, the MIT-educated Su took over the helm at AMD at a time when it seemed the company was on the verge of collapse. Today, AMD is a huge player in the semiconductor sector again and the company's stock has more than quadrupled. How could Su engineer such a dramatic turnaround?
In an interview in Fortune magazine, Su said that rather than fear the challenge of rebuilding AMD, she welcomed it with open arms. This attitude, Su said in the article, was forged during her days working at IBM when a manager gave her a piece of advice that changed her outlook on business and life: “Lisa, run toward problems.”
And run she did. In just over two years, Su was able to completely change the business strategy at AMD. The company had become wholly focused on semiconductors for the PC market; as consumers turned to other devices to do the majority of their computing, AMD suffered.
Su immediately shifted focus and ramped up innovation at AMD. Today, less than half of AMD's business is devoted to PCs. The rest is focused on gaming, mobile devices, and immersive technology.
“I have to say ...