Leadership Notes

Leadership Notes is a blog and video series on leadership.  Through interviews with leaders from both the private and public sector, Johnson examines key leadership issues like empowerment, team development, and cultural dexterity.  The blog also addresses topics such as learning from failure, the importance of friendship, and the role leaders play in developing organizational […]

Are effective managers also great leaders?

Organizations large and small thrive under good management. Effective managers bring order to chaos and drive results. They coordinate the work of others and ensure that projects complete on time and within budget. But are effective managers also great leaders? Or, more fundamentally, is there a difference between management and leadership? This question echoes in […]

Engaged Leadership

As with most industries, technology has dramatically changed the way the military operates. From transportation to communication, the Armed Services have adopted new technologies and adapted to new threats. The rapidly evolving landscape of terrorism and cyber-attacks are bringing even more challenges. To rise to those challenges, the military is looking outside of itself, to see the future […]

See it. Be it.

Leaders must be visionary, looking ahead to the opportunities and challenges on the horizon. But vision alone is useless if others don’t see it. Vision has to be communicated in real and tangible ways. Megan Barry, Mayor of Metropolitan Nashville, argues that reaching back and bringing others along is a key attribute of leadership. She […]

Culture remix – realizing the best of both worlds

The vast majority of corporate reorganizations take place far away from public gaze. However, reorganizations that are the product of mergers and acquisitions (M&A) are often a spectator sport. Investors and pundits enthusiastically urge executives to quickly integrate business processes in order to find elusive synergies that will increase shareholder value. Doug Parker, CEO of American […]

Soaring to New Heights while Maintaining Equilibrium

An auto executive once told me a funny story that I often use to illustrate one of the biggest challenges when implementing strategic initiatives—integration. The firm had introduced a modest set of colors that year for a new vehicle launch. Shortly into the model year, executives noticed that green vehicles were not selling. For some […]

Competition Moves the Marbles

Marketplace competitors are like a bucket full of marbles. Each marble represents a firm and the contact boundaries between the marbles are areas of intense competition. Like marbles shifting in the bucket, as firms move in the marketplace they end up competing with different firms and their movement causes competitive shifts for the others. Boston […]

What Makes A Firm Competitive? Wisdom from BCG’s Bruce Henderson

This year I have been reflecting on the legacy of Bruce Henderson. A Vanderbilt alumni and Owen School professor, Bruce was a pioneer in the business world, founding the Boston Consulting Group and participating in the creation of the management consulting industry. To celebrate the hundredth anniversary of his birth, BCG launched an Institute in […]

Owen Hustles into Summer Excitement

Summer has its own rhythm at Owen, but it is anything but slow. While the building falls quiet for a few days, it is not for long. Students of all ages take up residence, participating in programs that run from a few days to a few weeks. The centerpiece of summer activity at Owen is […]

Vanderbilt’s Sohr Grants Help Spark Startup Success

There are few things in business that compare to watching a passionate, smart startup completely transform an industry — or several at the same time. And given the current valuations that companies like Snapchat ($15 billion) and Uber ($41.2 billion) are fetching, it’s no wonder that business school students increasingly want a piece of the […]