Build Your Higher Ambition Business Like a Barn

Here at The Center for Higher Ambition Leadership we have long been fans of the barn raising as a metaphor. It speaks to community, inclusiveness, and valuing the contribution of each individual. It is a dramatic example of how significant can be achieved in remarkable short order when people work together bound by common purpose…

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Four Principles of Transformation: What I Learned from Mark Bertolini, CEO and Chairman of Aetna

A version of this post by Center for Higher Ambition Leadership Executive Fellow Doug Wilson originally appeared on his blog. Mark Bertolini is an innovator. He likes to push the boundaries of common thinking and find new solutions to big problems. One huge problem we face today is America’s bureaucratic spaghetti mess in health care.…

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Trust: The Leadership Skill that Matters Most

Doug Conant, Center for Higher Ambition Leadership board member and chair of the Center’s Higher Ambition Leadership Institute, recently co-authored a compelling article for Harvard Business Review with Stephen M.R. Covey on the topic of trust. Their evidence-based argument is that trust building is not a nice-to-have “soft” skill but rather a core competency for…

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Strategic Capability through Social Good at BD

For decades, BD (Becton, Dickinson and Company) has built strategic capability while simultaneously addressing population health issues. Often they have found that focusing on the social need can both benefit society and lead to business opportunity. For example, through their non-profit work supporting Jonas Salk’s efforts toward a polio vaccine, BD developed the first fully…

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Aetna: Making a Higher Ambition Masterpiece

On June 8th and 9th, Aetna hosted a learning visit to its headquarters in Hartford, CT where 45 executives gathered to learn about the company’s leading edge work. Aetna Chairman and CEO Mark Bertolini, who is a sustaining member of CHL, shared how Aetna has created a distinctive environment allowing individuals to be creative and…

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Exponential Engagement: Tapping Into the Hearts and Minds of Your Employees

Center Executive Fellow, Douglas A. Wilson, profiles Golden State Foods, its CEO Mark Wetterau, and both the impactful work and unique operational model of the company’s foundation (GSF Foundation) — an entity that has had a marked positive effect on numerous children’s charitable organizations and schools throughout the country.  Golden State Food’s model is invaluable to any CEO looking to create or improve upon employee…

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Southern California Launches Higher Ambition Community

  Steve Thorne and Scott Beck share how structure trumps strategy   Pacific Dental Services (Pacific Dental), a Center for Higher Ambition Leadership member company, has a vision to become the greatest dental company in America. In pursuit of this goal, the company is galvanized by what can be achieved when everyone discovers the untapped…

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Chobani Sets the New Gold Standard for Leadership

Rags to riches stories in the business world are not uncommon. Certainly it is always inspiring to read stories of people who have a vision, make it happen with few resources, and defy the odds by building an empire. In part because we like heroic narratives. Tales of people who elevate this success by sharing…

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Kate Isaacs on Solving Wicked Problems

Higher Ambition leaders face what are known as “wicked problems” when they become involved in tackling multi-stakeholder issues. Wicked problems are those where the causes and solutions are difficult to discern. Poverty is a classic large-scale wicked problem. However, with the increased concern about the social impact of business, formerly straightforward challenges have escalated into thorny, complex wicked ones. Our research…

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How Time in HR can Make You a Better CEO

HR does not have a reputation as a launch pad to the corner office. However time spent in a smart, forward-looking HR function can help you grow as a person in ways that are invaluable to success in any number of executive positions–and as a Higher Ambition leader–including as the chief executive. We found this…

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Leaders: Do You Know Why You Want To Lead?

For many of us, it is a natural first step to focus on the latest and greatest strategies to lead. Center Board Member Doug Conant challenges us to take a step back and ask ourselves the fundamental question of why it is we choose to lead in the first place. He argues that to have the most powerful and positive impact on people is to…

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Higher Ambition Stands the Test of Time at BD

Gary Cohen, Executive Vice President at Becton Dickinson and Company (BD) recently sat down with Katherine Klein and Jacob Gray, hosts of Wharton’s Business Radio show Dollars and Change on SiriusXM. The second of a four part series of conversations discussing higher ambition leadership, Cohen discusses higher ambition at the 119 year old company as…

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