In Closing: Inspiring Change

April 14, 2015


In a recent series of interviews, Fortune asked some of the country’s top executives to define leadership. Here’s what they had to say:

“True leadership changes the trajectory of a business or the course of history. Leadership is very different from management, which simply maintains the status quo.” — Karen Kaplan, chairman and CEO, Hill Holliday

“Leadership is believing in the future, yourself, others and in a higher purpose. It’s about building culture, courage and confidence through your actions and words and building teams that work to achieve common goals.” — Kat Cole, group president, FOCUS Brands

“True leadership is about inspiration. It’s about having a vision, believing in that vision and being willing to sacrifice for that vision in a way that inspires others to join you.” — Anna Maria Chávez, CEO, Girl Scouts of the USA

“Leadership starts with setting a vision and strategy for your organization. Next, you need to recruit, develop and retain talent to implement that vision and strategy. Finally, it’s a leader’s responsibility to walk the talk and then communicate all of the above.” — John Chambers, chairman and CEO, Cisco

“Marcus Aurelius wrote that ‘we came into the world for the sake of one another.’ Leadership is devoting yourself completely to something that changes people’s lives.” — Elizabeth Holmes, CEO, Theranos

Renée Ruggeri


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