My first CEO was hardcore. And it was awesome.
In 1994, I left the U.S. Navy to work for the global engineering company, ABB, as a design engineer. Our CEO at the time was the legendary, hard-charging Swede, Percy Barnevik. In 1988, Percy created ABB by pulling off the largest European merger at the time, bringing together two engineering powerhouses, ASEA and Brown Boveri Ltd.
In his 17 years as CEO, 8 with ASEA and 9 with ABB, the company increased its stock value 87 times, an average of 30% per year, and became a leading global player.
What I loved about Barnevik was his bias towards action. He got things done. He was decisive and he expected the same from his employees. The company culture at that time reflected his personality. We moved fast and we fixed it along the way.
I learned a lot from his leadership style and it affects how I lead today.
How about you? Are there leaders in your past that affect how you lead today? Did you work for Barnevik during those early years? I’d love to hear your stories. Let me know in the comment section below.