The Lead: Australian Icon, Guatemala’s Volcano, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

Australian Cultural Icon and Economic Indicator

The “ute” or an Austrailian utlity vehicle could be an economic indicator, and Treasurer Scott Morrison claimed that more “utes” suggest an economic upswing. Though reporters pushed back on the claim, Morrison elaborated “one of the signs of a strong economy was always cranes on the skyline. Every time an Australian sees a ute driving around a suburb of one of our metro areas or regional towns with a phone number on the side, that’s the sign of a stronger economy.”

Our View: Similar to how a speedometer doesn’t tell you whether or not you’re going in the right direction, economic indicators and measures of growth extend well beyond GDP. A compelling, coherent, simple narrative about our modern economy must include multiple metrics. Some examples of these metrics are employment rates, health, safety, and environmental impact. Weighing the costs and benefits between short-term gains and long-term dividends is critical, and clearly defined metrics can remove a lot of the subjectivity and ambiguity. Further Reading

Guatemala’s Volcanic Eruption Deadlier than Hawaii’s

More than 3,100 people have been evacuated and 1.7 million people have been affected by Guatemala’s Fuego volcano eruption. Already covering a 12-mile radius, the volcanic ash could extend its reach through the wind. Over one hundred people have been killed by the eruption, and in spite of scalding ash, mudslides, and more explosions, rescuers have been retrieving survivors.

Our View: Effective crisis leadership requires leaders to adjust their leadership style to fit the situation at hand. This dynamic leadership requires innovative, adaptive behaviors and actions in real time to deal with the uncertainties that are typical in a crisis. While flexibility is central to crisis leadership, being strategically flexible is always a good principle to adhere to regardless of the immediacy of your challenges. Further Reading

Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain

The recent tragic loss of business and fashion icon Kate Spade and chef, author, and CNN host Anthony Bourdain has highlighted the delicate nature of covering celebrity suicides. Media professionals and journalists should consider their role in minimizing harm and take into account the people their reporting might affect.

Our View: Leaders throughout industries have the duty to responsibly report news, because following the right guidelines can have life or death consequences. The influence of celebrity suicides was recognized prior to modern statistics. After the publication of Wolfgang Goethe’s Sufferings of Young Werther, there were suicides across Europe particularly similar to the one in the novel. After musician Kurt Cobain’s suicide, suicidologists implemented prevention systems in Seattle that worked: calls to suicide hotlines in the region increased and not the number of suicides. Further Reading

The Lead, AchieveForum’s weekly brief of leadership news and insights, provides quick clarity into relevant headlines and straight-forward analysis for applying effective leadership tools and techniques.

Wells Fargo Sells Branches

Wells Fargo, the second largest bank in the USA, is cutting costs by selling 33 of its branches in Indiana, 14 in Michigan, 4 in Wisconsin, and its only branch in Ohio. Flagstar Bancorp, a savings and loan company, is buying all of these branches. As more customers do their banking online, Wells Fargo plans to whittle their physical branches down to 5,000 locations (cutting about 800 more branches) by 2020.

Our View: Leaders must always be cognizant of costs. Seeking new opportunities doesn’t have to mean an increase in spending, because sometimes the best opportunities and cost cuts work hand in hand and have mutually beneficial results. Instead of “either or” thinking, incorporate “and” thinking into your financial planning to search for growth opportunities that mix well with cost cuts. Ideas improve with multiple iterations, so continue to brainstorm possibilities on a frequent and regular basis. Further Reading

Boeing’s Disruption Strategy

In a bold strategy that may change the future of transportation, Boeing announced its plans create a joint venture with aerospace firm Safran. Credit Suisse analysts said this news is “yet another reminder of the structural changes Boeing is imposing on the aerospace supply chain in an effort to raise profitability and lower cyclicality by capturing more aftermarket.”

Our View: Every leader manages varying levels of risk, and the best leaders balance the extremes of being someone who is strongly risk adverse and being someone who takes wild uncalculated risks. Build a strong foundation of trust with your employees so that when you take swift decisive actions that balance risk, your team will have confidence in your ability to seize the opportunity at hand. Further Reading

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