Harvard historian Richard Tedlow's lengthy article on Andy Grove in Fortune is not to be missed. It might have also been called Zen and The Art of Corporate Maintenance, or more simply, Zen Strategy Master. The story of Intel and Grove have been told before, of course, but Tedlow's article distills the important lessons. A snippet from the article setup:
What can others learn from Grove's odyssey? As we face a future where change is not only constant but accelerating, reality will transform itself more swiftly than most humans—or most companies—are hard-wired to handle. Even startups that overturn one reality are easily overturned by the next big change. Grove has escaped natural selection by doing the evolving himself. Forcibly adapting himself to a succession of new realities, he has left a trail of discarded assumptions in his wake. When reality has changed, he has found the will to let go and embrace the new.
It's a performance as remarkable as his life story. There will not be another CEO who survived both the Nazis and the communists before becoming a naturalized capitalist. And yet Grove is the best model we've got for doing business in the 21st century. If you hope to thrive in an environment of rapid change, it is this outlier—his strengths forged in a distant and vanished world—that you should follow. Begin your lesson in leadership the same way Andy Grove attacks a problem: by setting aside everything you know.