Leaders That Have Turned Themselves and Their Organizations Around

January 31, 2023

stagnation means decline

Overview: Leaders like Apple’s Steve Jobs, Marvel’s Isaac Perlmutter, and Yahoo’s Terry Semel took over the leadership of their organizations at the worst times. They all turned their companies around, stopping their decline and ushering in new eras of growth. Leadership coaching can help leaders develop the mindsets that helped these leaders accomplish their awe-inspiring deeds.

“Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better.” – Harry S. Truman. 

Progress is not an inevitable phenomenon for society and organizations. When there’s no leadership, there’s no progress. Organizations default to stagnation when no one guides them onto the path of progress, and stagnation is the death knell of companies. Those that don’t move forward don’t thrive or get by while standing still. They wither away, making room for those whose courageous and skilled leaders aren’t afraid to seize opportunities.

Leadership coaching understands the impact leaders have throughout their organizations right down to the level of the individual employee. Coaches know the right person can snatch victory from the jaws of defeat. The business world is rife with examples of leadership heroics that saved organizations and defined business and technology trends for decades. Here’s a list of leaders that reshaped entire industries and humanity itself.

Steve Jobs

Steve Jobs was the co-founder of Apple. He led the organization until 1985 when he left due to a spat with the board of directors. Without him at the helm, the company lost its focus and direction. It started developing 350 projects.

By 1996, Apple was a shadow of its former self. Its stock price plummeted, and it looked like the company was on its way out. Jobs returned as interim CEO that year and cut the development load of the company to 50 projects, then 10. He began releasing iconic, trailblazing products like the iMac, the iPod, iTunes, and the iPhone.

Under his leadership, Apple stock rallied by an incredible 9,000%. Apple products were hugely popular again. When he resigned in August 2011 due to poor health, his leadership had made a difference few would ever be able to replicate.

Isaac Perlmutter

Marvel’s current CEO and the savior of the brand, Isaac Perlmutter is a thrifty, cost-conscious executive who focuses on efficiency.

In 1996, Marvel Comics went into bankruptcy. Perlmutter was on its board of directors. Using his firm Toy Biz, Inc, Perlmutter brought Marvel out of bankruptcy in 1998 and helped it regain its footing by focusing on products and media.

Becoming Marvel’s CEO in 2005, Perlmutter adopted a set of cost-conscious strategies that boosted the price of the company stock. In 2009, Disney acquired Marvel for $6 billion. Perlmutter remained the company CEO after the acquisition.

Fist with blades.
Powerful, motivated leadership is as unstoppable as adamantium.

Dan Hesse

In 2007, Sprint was a maligned and battered telecom company, consistently ranking last in consumer preferences. With the quality of service ailing, Dan Hesse took over as CEO and implemented radical change.

Even as the company continued bleeding customers in 2008, the first results of Hesse’s changes cautiously surfaced, and Sprint began rating higher in consumer service surveys.

Following the acquisition of Virgin Mobile USA in 2009 and a subsequent move into the prepaid market, Sprint saw promising subscriber growth for the first time since its seemingly unstoppable decline. Hesse had truly turned the organization around.

Terry Semel

Microsoft and Yahoo were the losers of the search engine wars that led to Google’s rise. In the wake of the dot-com bubble, Yahoo’s revenues were dropping and employees, like users, were giving up on reviving the search giant.

Terry Semel picked up leadership of the directionless organization when organizational morale was at an all-time low. He redefined Yahoo’s purpose, shifting its focus to delivering user-generated content through channels like Flickr. The turnaround took only a year. From having registered losses of $93 billion, Yahoo generated $43 million in revenues 12 months later.

Executive coaching understands the impact of leadership, good and bad. Executive coaching professionals can help leaders adopt mindsets that have helped legendary executives pull off odds-defying turnarounds.

Contact us to learn more about how you can join the IL Movement as a coach or how you can benefit from partnering with us to bring IL Solutions to you and your organization.

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