Leadership: Business Leaders Who Changed The Corporate World


Corporate legacy has been holding up its title successfully since the beginning. To brief a clear picture of this world, let me give you a glimpse of the timeless leadership undertakings of these eternal leaders. Today’s blog is way special in throwing light on those matters of discussion—i.e., How past leaderships helped reshape the corporate world?

So are you ready to know more?

Madam C.J. Walker [1867-1919]

My advice to everyone expecting to go into business is to hit often and hit hard; in other words, strike with all your might.

Highly understood as in Sarah Breedlove and the first ever self-made woman entrepreneur in the big fat world like America. The leadership of this business tycoon made an iconic appearance in the early 19th century days when she started selling her attractive hair care products at a reasonable cost. It is also known that she paid impressive amounts to her staff than any other American businessperson, could inoculate free deals for clients than any other businessperson could think of, and contributed a huge of her savings to black women’s education and other charitable causes than any other businessperson can make it to.

Switching to her early background, she worked as an ordinary American-African woman serving laundry and other door-to-door services. The high time came the day she began facing a midlife crisis with her hair problems, was then approached by Annie Malone, the owner of another hair beauty business, to take her for a demo session.  Eventually, this made her project her vision of sampling ingredients for her hair product, suitable for every coloured woman.

In 1910 Walker decided to broaden her business idea by setting up an alternative factory in Indianapolis, which became an epicentre of multiple transportation channels (railway lines) that fast forward her mail-order business more efficiently. The company remained alive under the leadership of her daughter and grandchildren until 1985. 

Nevertheless, the business still continues to preserve its roots and firm in as Madame C.J. Walker Enterprises with three qualities any corporate world has to have—perseverance, willpower, and endurance.

She was the epic period, indeed.

V.O. Chidambaram Pillai [1876-1936]

V.O Chidambaram is one of the most influential leaders in the world. His indirect contributions to various domains of leadership subjugated as a stepping stone of the corporate journey in India and will continue to be so in the future. He has had a long career with many achievements, but his most notable contribution has been his work on corporate sustainability and environmental management.

Chidambaram started the Indian-owned shipping company in a vengeance response to the British India Steam Navigation Company’s monopolistic trade. The company was a success, and by 1878, its fleet of ships had grown to 15. He had previously been an advocate for free trade and wanted to establish a shipping company that would break the British monopoly on trade routes between India and Europe.

V.O.C lined up local businesses and launched the first Indian product to compete with European imports. The company had an advantage over its competitors because it was aware of the needs and preferences of India’s consumers and used them as a guide for product development to stay competitive in this rapidly changing global market environment.   

Andrew Carnegie [1835-1919]

If I say one name who is well balanced in every aspect, it is Andrew Carnegie or the father of America’s modern steel. At age 66 of his retirement from the steel company, he made a lump sum fortune of $225 million. As he used to believe in giving, he devoted most of his wealth to charitable accounts in his last few years.

His focal strength was his hard work and pragmatic solutions in making certain business transactions look good across the globe, especially on Europe sites. He always knew what he wants and thus acts accordingly without giving up a bit; he was indeed ultra-prepared to gain insights he studied so thoroughly. Being a son of a handbook weaver, he paid his meticulous eye to every goal that represents the present, not just the ‘future’. The philanthropic legacy that he carried behind was over-the-top, which proves him to be a highly team-driven leader.

The unique blend of his personality is unique itself. From pragmatic to philanthropic, from hard-working to balancer, from negotiator to motivational speaker—he emphasized the importance of each becoming a wholesome leader from top to bottom.

J.P Morgan [1837-1913]

He was a real and composed rescuer in terms of reconverting broke businesses into successful ones through his revised theory of how to sell. Out of respect for his ability to consistently achieve success through change, this became known as ‘Morganization’.

Morgan’s desire to promote efficiency in modern times necessitated the requirement to be at ease with global change. He captivated his charm when he builds his banking institution back in 1837 named J.P. Morgan & Co. in 1871, later on, integrated with Chase Manhattan Bank to become JPMorgan Chase in 2000. 

During this realm surrounded by formidable diplomacy and wars, this was also the period of rage with depression following 1896. J.P. Morgan, in addition to consolidating and monitoring miscellaneous railroads and industries, was held responsible for operating the US Treasury’s gold reserve and organized the financial community in staving off a financial collapse.

Osamu Suzuki [1930-Present]

His leadership style has been widely recognized by the business world as one of the most successful with his focus on turning around companies. Osamu Suzuki wanted to change corporate culture and people’s view of management. To do so, he first tried to break down what was wrong with Japanese business culture, then tried out different theories for improving it. He felt like businesses had a lack of trust between leaders and employees as well as a lack of communication within the company; this led to an unhealthy environment for businesses.

Overseas operations were also a focus with many new ventures in emerging markets such as China, India, and Africa. Osamu Suzuki believed that this would be crucial to future growth to offset any declines in demand from developed countries.

Steve Jobs [1955-2013]

Well everyone knows he predominantly owns the rights of Apple IQ.

After being threatened out of Macintosh’s squad, Jobs didn’t give up halfway and quickly, formed his new start-up known as NeXT. The company delivered computers and software to meet the higher pedagogy and business standards. Eventually, most of the NeXT team was filled with ex-Apple employees who followed their old boss institution and were already accustomed to his unmatchable guidance while working together on the Macintosh

Jobs’ comeback in 1997 after resurging back Apple from bankruptcy, brought him a fresh administration structure and set of cultural norms that have shaped Apple to this day. Studying that structure teaches important lessons to anyone running a business today, from start-ups to large companies.

Ratan Tata [1937-Present]

Starting his au fait with Tata steel in 1961 as a manager managing the blast furnace and shoveling limestone, he made a great way to rebuild the future of this company. One of the leadership qualities that set him apart from every other businessperson is his nature of dealing with people’s trust and fulfilling promises. For a real example, in 2009, he promised to make a car that would be merely a lakh away, and he did that. He is the maestro of believing in ‘vision’ rather than in ‘ideas’ that just serve but don’t function.

Indra Nooyi [1955-Present]

Since her remarkable push towards the succession of PepsiCo company, she never stops making appearances on the first pages of every women’s entrepreneurial magazine. In 1994 Nooyi joined PepsiCo beforehand as senior vice president of corporate strategy and development.

In 2001 she became significantly responsible for integrating the company’s products worldwide with vast cafes and restaurants KFC, Pizza Hut, and Taco Bell namely. According to sources, she made a great deal for a lifetime with her leadership by expanding the revenue generation from $35 billion in 2006 to $63.5 billion in 2017.

To sum up her leadership ability, she mastered her learning ability from mentors, and people around her which made her what she is today. In her book My Life: Family, Work, and Our Future she dedicated the importance of having mentors in your life. For her, there isn’t a manual for life, just keep learning to mold yourself from phase to phase—that’s her mantra for succeeding as a leader.

To Conclude…

The action and industriousness of such leaders serve as many examples on the cusp of how the corporate world is transformed its age and renewed the world with its vision of change. Some often mislead the obvious view of a corporate ecosystem as a by-product of business, but it is partially incorrect as it sinks into the deepest depth of corporate history. My mission in curating this blog is to inculcate you to become tomorrow’s corporate leaders by commemorating the footsteps of past leaders.

Wish I could have added some more exemplars, but the time is up, for now, also keeping my promise to you to begin this journey again in one of my next sessions till it ends.

That’s it for today.

Take care and have great days ahead!

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