Reinventing the Way We Do Business Stanford Business Brief with Ed Whitacre

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48 minutes
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Businesses that grow by acquisition have their place, but at some point businesses actually have to run their business. Organizations who buy, buy, buy with no tangible vision or strategy in mind can abruptly end up with a big operational mess on their hands. That model is not sustainable, and nonstop deal-making just burns people out. A better course of action is to understand your purpose, keep it simple, stick to your vision and business strategy, and execute the best you can.  Anything that gets in the way of this purpose has to be cut.

In this session, Jon Levin, Stanford University Professor and Economics Department Chair, leads an informative interview with Ed Whitacre.  Ed shares, vividly, leadership lessons learned and the core management practices that catapulted him to 17 years as chairman and CEO of AT&T and, temporarily lured out of retirement, as chairman and CEO of General Motors Co.

As chairman and CEO of AT&T from 1990 until retiring in 2007, Whitacre led then-SBC Communications on a disciplined growth strategy and through a series of industry-changing mergers and acquisitions, including the 2005 acquisition of AT&T Corp. He is the author of American Turnaround: Reinventing AT&T and GM and the Way We Do Business in the USA.

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