When I created the Management Thinkers series of articles, I always intended a proportion of the thinkers to be doers too: entrepreneurs, business leaders, and management practitioners.
In the course of over 160 articles, and nearly 200 eminent individuals, I reckon (because I’ve not counted) around 40 to 50 of them have been active practitioners.
A Range to Choose from
Some of those are pure business-people: entrepreneurs, managers and business leaders. Others have been managers at one stage of their career, and then moved into academic or thought leadership roles. If I were to include all the intellectuals and academics who have monetised their thinking with paid consulting, we’d be up to pretty nearly 100 per cent, I’d guess.
So I have plenty to choose from in selecting my favourites for you.
Next week, we start afresh with a new style of article, so I want you to be able to review my list (if you choose) in good time. This list is therefore as restrained as I could make it.
My Top Pick
And I’m starting with Jane ni Dhulchaointigh. She gets my top place for not just being a massive inspiration and someone I’d not heard of before researching her post. She is also the only entrepreneur, business leader whose product I went out and bought as a result of researching the post. Check out Sugru, if you’ve not heard of it. If you have stuff to fix, or want to adapt things to work a little differently, you need some Sugru in your fridge.
Top Performer, Financially
My next pick is Warren Buffett, legendary chairman of Berkshire Hathaway. I’d buy one of Berkshire Hathaway’s shares if they didn’t cost nearly as much as my house… each. Trading at over a quarter of a million US Dollars ($250,000) per share, you can get a sense of the genius of Buffett and his long-term business partner, Charlie Munger, by looking at the stock price in 1995 ($25,000) and 1965 ($19).
Of course, we can learn a lot too from business leaders. I’ll select Jeff Bezos (Amazon), Ingvar Kamprad (IKEA), Mary Kay Ash (Mary Kay), Estee Lauder (Estee Lauder), Walt Disney (Disney), Zhang Yin (Nine Dragons), and George Eastman Kodak), as entrepreneurs who grew massive business empires and who have valuable lessons to teach us.
Eastman was also a philanthropist and ahead of his time in the way he treated his workforce. So too was Robert Owen. His ideas management over pure command and control seem to us now, 160 years on, to be fresh and modern. I knew nothing of Owen before researching the article, and he blew me away.
Among pure managers and business leaders, two names stood out: a classic in Jack Welch (General Electric), and a modern hero in Indra Nooyi (PepsiCo).
Who would you pick?
Take a look at the full list of our Management Thinkers and Doers.
Who would you pick as your favourites, and why?
And who did we miss?
I’ll respond to every comment, and maybe do an article on any suggestions that I like.