Who will be your next business hero?
Who will be your next business hero?

The role of outstanding business achievers in fueling one's drive.

Who will be your next business hero?

If I look in the rear view mirror, outstanding individuals' achievements have always fueled my drive to do more, better.

As a teenager, the Caesars, Napoleons, Alexander the Greats, Pattons, etc., were populating my dreams. Later in life, as I was transitioning into a career in the automotive industry and business in general, my business dreams turned toward business leaders like Henry Ford and Louis Renault, with books about them occupying the shelves of my work library.

In the 1980s, the book to buy was Lee Iacocca autobiography's book. The book focuses on how the son of an Italian immigrant made it twice at the head of two of the three largest automotive corporations in North America. Another inspiration was Home Depot. In the 1990s, the brand was an incredible success, replacing a dense network of small hardware stores by megastores open 24/7 where you could find almost anything for your hardware projects. Office Depot and Staples quickly followed with a similar structure. And, in the previous decade, Sam Walton built the largest retail company in the world.

In 2005, when I acquired Buffalo Wings & Rings, both business and leadership heroes were in my thoughts, dreams and mind. Just like those great leaders, my normal came with big plans for the company. At the time of our acquisition, the business leaders were Jack Welsh, Steve Jobs, Donald Trump. The first one retired at the peak of his fame. The second one, unfortunately, passed away too young. The third turned into politics.

Let us fast forward to today. Who are the business leaders of now? Who is emerging and will be the indisputable business leader from the next decade.

Mark Zuckeberg? Elon Musk? Very likely Amazon has proven itself as a leading business. But who can say Amazon's CEO name without looking on the Internet?

An indisputable outstanding business leader needs a few characteristics:

  • Outstanding business achievements
  • Be on the front stage with regular media coverage
  • Cannot be the best hidden secret
  • Somewhere a little bit "crazy". And by crazy, I mean disruptive, ready to challenge the establishment
  • The individual cannot not be apple pie and vanilla
  • Charismatic
  • And (arguably) someone who would be difficult to work for

What are your thoughts about a leader? What makes today’s leaders stand out? Please comment below and tell me who in your mind will be the next inculpable business leader of the decade and why? Would love to start this conversation.

Philip Schram

Buffalo Wings & Rings