362-s20-week6

SPA 362 – Leadership Development Lab II – Spring 2020

Take me back to the Schedule of Assignments page


Week 6 – Business and Technology II:  Andy Grove and Tricia Griffith

Last week we considered a number of business leaders including their role as “knowledge leaders”.  This week we look at two more interesting business leaders – Intel’s Andy Grove and Progressive’s Tricia Griffith – that raise some of our continuing themes and some new ones.  There are several readings for each – you might focus on the ones that are most interesting to you.

Your classmates introduce terrific bios – and questions – with the founders of Apple, Alibaba, and Wal-Mart, and CEO of Nintendo.  The prompts for Grove and Griffith come together; the prompts for Jobs, Ma, Walton, and Iwata sit near their bios and articles. As always, you are free to pose your own prompt as well/instead.


Deliverables:  A note on our written reflections.  By this time in the semester, you really have at least two possible routes.  One is to consider any leader on their own; the other is to bring together lessons from previous leaders we’ve considered this semester.  You are always welcome to bring in lessons, examples, etc. from your previous leadership studies, other classes, your own experience, etc.  On this last, I’d like to emphasize that these weekly assignments are intended as reflections, not strictly analyses.

If you feel some compelling academic evaluation that you must explore, that is completely appropriate.

But if you are moved to reflect on the lessons from our leaders and a grandparent or sibling or job or extra-curricular or something you’re discussing in another class or even a book you read in seventh grade – that’s also completely welcome.  These readings and writing assignments are meant to help you think about leadership, not merely summarize or echo what any of them say.


Andy Grove

As a child, Andras Grof and his Jewish family hid from the Nazis as they swept through Hungary and sent a half million Hungarian Jews to concentration camps.  He survived to live under Communism and the invasion by the Soviet Union.  In 1956, at age 20, with no money and little English, he escaped and made his way to New York, and changed his name to Andy Grove.  He worked as a busboy, and married a waitress, another refugee. Within six years, he had a bachelor’s and Ph.D. degree in chemical engineering.  After working with integrated circuits in California, he co-founded Intel in 1968.  They launched the “microcomputer revolution” and the future that became the PC, the Mac, laptop, and eventually your mobile phone.

  1. Andy Grove’s Warning to Silicon Valley https://www.nytimes.com/2016/03/26/opinion/andy-groves-warning-to-silicon-valley.html
  2. Andy Grove on Trade, Globalization, and Defending America’s Economy https://prospect.org/article/andy-grove-trade-globalization-and-defending-america’s-economy
  3. Andy Grove and the Value of Facing Reality a. https://fs.blog/2016/08/andy-grove-value-facing-reality/
  4. Andy Grove: How America Can Create More Jobs https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2010-07-01/andy-grove-how-america-can-create-jobs and here
  5. Andy Grove on the Confident Leader https://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/andy-grove-on-the-confident-leader
  6. Intel at 50: Andy Grove, Time’s Man of the Year https://newsroom.intel.com/articles/intel-50-andy-grove-times-man-year/#gs.FJnyxzli


Tricia Griffith

Tricia Griffith is CEO of Progressive Insurance, one of the few females to lead a Fortune 500 company, and Fortune’s first female Businessperson of the Year – in 2018.  In her roles at Progressive, she started Progressive’s diversity and inclusion program.  How did she begin her career?  As a regular frontline worker: a claims representative in Indiana.

  1. Watch this CEO reflect on her 30 years of working her way to the top http://fortune.com/video/2018/01/29/progressive-ceo-tips/
  2. Fortune’s 2018 Businessperson of the Year is Finally a Woman https://www.refinery29.com/en-us/2018/11/217045/tricia-griffith-fortune-business-person-of-the-year-woman-first-time
  3. A Q&A with a One-Year-Old CEO https://www.forbes.com/sites/steveolenski/2017/07/20/a-qa-with-a-one-year-old-ceo/#5605b8705d17
  4. Meet the CEO of the Insurance Company Growing Faster than Apple http://fortune.com/2018/11/15/progressive-insurance-ceo-tricia-griffith/

  1. How is Grove’s role as CEO of Intel different from Griffith’s role as CEO of Progressive? Are their perceptions of effective leadership and management similar or different? How have their unique experiences shaped these perceptions? Have their decades when serving as a CEO contributed to these similarities and/or differences?
  2. How have the career trajectories of Grove and Griffith brought them to their positions as CEOs and how was their prior experience beneficial in transforming them into leaders?
  3. What are the prospective aims and goals of Grove and Griffith in creating a successful business? What are their priorities and how does this reflect in their leadership styles/approaches to leadership?
  4. What do Grove’s and Griffith’s paths to their positions as CEOs have to do with leadership? What does it say about those who serve in leadership positions? Griffith mentions the importance of approachability as a leader, how much do you value approachability as a leader?
  5. How did/are these leaders evolving with the social and technological progress of the 21st century? How do these leaders utilize these tools to their benefit and how does this reflect in their approaches to leadership?
  6. Thinking back to the past couple of weeks, given the different natures of their leadership positions, what are some differences in leadership styles of people like Grove and Griffith and people like Gbowee and Karman?

Satoru Iwata

Article: https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/jul/14/satoru-iwata

Question: How can business leaders manage the task of maximizing company profits with maintaining the humanity of their workers and consumers?

Background info: The article talks about Japanese businessman Satoru Iwata, who even as president and CEO of Nintendo, wanted to retain a human relationship with his consumers. Since 2002, when he became president he wanted to keep Nintendo as a family friendly business. He presided over the launch of the Nintendo Wii, who’s TV remote-style controller, appealed to a generation that had previously found video games intimidating. He also began directly communicating with Nintendo fans with Nintendo Direct, monthly web-based videos where he would perform cartoon skits and routines with Nintendo’s US president and CEO Reggie Fils-Aimé and the company’s game designer Shigeru Miyamoto. He also recorded “Iwata Asks,” a set of jolly interviews with game developers. Faced with shareholder demands to cut staffing in 2013, Iwata dug in his heels, arguing that reduced morale would lead to lower-quality games, and took a personal 50% pay cut. He lived his life by one quote: “engineering is not quite as important as imagination.”


Steve Jobs

https://www.business.rutgers.edu/business-insights/leadership-steve-jobs https://hbrascend.org/topics/real-leadership-lessons-steve-jobs/

Question: Do you agree with the authors that different leadership styles would have made Steve Jobs less successful? Would you trust Jobs as your leader if he really was “dictatorial and mean-spirited”?

Background Info: These articles attempt to define the leadership style and characteristics of Steve Jobs, co-founder and CEO of Apple. The first article published by Rutgers University emphasizes the importance of situational leadership and compares Jobs to a servant leader. The article stresses that any other type of leadership style would have made Job less successful as a leader and would have hurt his innovative career.

The second article, published in the Harvard Business Review, lists the 13 best leadership traits you can learn from Jobs. The author explains each trait with examples from his Jobs’ life and career. Steve jobs is most notable for his work at Apple Inc. as the co-founder, CEO, and chairman. Jobs also worked as the chairman of Pixar and founder of NeXT.


Jack Ma

https://www.shoutmeloud.com/jack-ma-alibaba-founder.html https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MwixREUJOI0

Questions: Do you think Jack Ma’s rejections and failures molded him into a better leader? How do you think his humble beginnings has influenced his outlook on life?

Background: This article talks about Chinese businessman and technology innovator Jack Ma. He is best known as being the founder of the largest company currently operating in China known as Alibaba and he is currently the wealthiest man in China having a net worth of $25 billion dollars. However, Jack Ma did not start out as the man we know him as today. He was a man who was willing to fail, but he never quit learning from his experiences each time he was rejected. He never gave up and after his first two startups went bankrupt, he started the company Alibaba after seeing the internet for the first time in the United States. The article above highlights his inspiring story and the video shows that not all leaders need to be the smartest people in the world.

Sam Walton

https://www.nytimes.com/1992/04/06/us/sam-walton-is-dead-at-74-the-founder-of -wal-mart-stores.html

Questions: Considering the pros and cons of Walmart’s business model, Sam Walton strived to be the best at all costs. What positive and negative lessons can leaders learn from Sam Walton?

Background: Sam Walton, the founder of Walmart, is regarded as one of the most successful businessmen of our time. He had his fair share of troubles – including being mocked and ridiculed for his business model of becoming a worldwide conglomerate retail store. In the process, many have been hurt, especially small businesses. But Sam Walton followed the belief that business is business, and that by offering lower prices than the competition, customers would be happier.


As ever, you might also write about something not listed here but that made a striking impact on you…have fun