Zebra | What I Have Learned About Leadership as CEO the Past 15 Years
Author : Anders Gustafsson    Time : 2023-01-05    Source : www.radiochina.info

I’m often asked how we successfully transformed a printer company into an innovator at the edge of the enterprise. How did Zebra evolve from selling printers, barcode labels and scanners to revolutionizing the way every organization in the world does business? 

Though I could list any number of strategic decisions or well-executed programs that led us down this path, the root source of our success has been the thousands of people around the world who individually and collectively showed up every day with passion, ideas, and a steadfast commitment to doing what’s best. This includes the collaborative and harmonious work being done by our employees, partners, customers and even community members – researchers, government officials and more – that have propelled us forward. Driven by our company culture, Zebra Nation is empowered by our values including integrity, teamwork, agility, accountability, and innovation. We are honored to be recognized for our accomplishments by industry peers, leaders, and observers. 

In the last six months alone, Zebra was named one of the…

  • Best Workplaces for Innovators by Fast Company

  • Best Places to Work in IT by ComputerWorld

  • Top 100 Logistics IT Providers by Inbound Logistics

  • Most Loved Workplaces by Newsweek America

  • BuiltIn.com Best Places to Work 2022

  • Global 2000 World's Largest Public Companies by Forbes

  • Supply Chain Brain 100 Great Supply Chain Partners

We were also…

  • honored with a USPS Supplier Performance Award.

  • recognized as an “Accelerator” for "Generating Optimal Partner Syndication and Communication” in the Impartner Catalyst Awards 2022. 

  • ranked #2 for Best IR Program in the IT Hardware & Electronics Manufacturing Services category by Institutional Investor.

  • voted a Top Software Vendor by retailers in the 2023 RIS Software LeaderBoard.

  • named “Innovative Manufacturing Supplier” in the e-works China Intelligent Manufacturing Awards and awarded an “Innovative Product” award for the ZT411 label printer.

  • certified as a Great Place to Work.

  • thrilled to celebrate Matrox’s win in the "Machine Vision Technology" category of the CompassIntel Mobile, IoT and Emerging Tech Awards.

  • honored with the Bronze Innovators Award for Zebra’s fixed industrial scanning and machine vision portfolio in the Vision Systems Design Innovators Awards.

  • excited to score a 95 out of 100 in the HRC Human Rights Campaign CEI Corporate Equality Index.

  • selected as the Gold level winner for the "Best Use of Blended Learning" in the Brandon Hall Group's Excellence Awards - Human Capital Management Spring Program.

  • honored with Good Design Awards by Good Design Australia for the RFD40 UHF RFID Sled.

In addition, several Zebras were individually recognized for their outstanding leadership, innovative ideas and resounding impact on the technology industry, local communities and global society, including:

  • Mike Steele was ranked #2 Best IR Professional in the IT Hardware & Electronics Manufacturing Services category by Institutional Investor.

  • Nathan Winters was ranked #3 Best CFO in the IT Hardware & Electronics Manufacturing Services category by Institutional Investor.

  • Cristen Kogl, Chief Legal Officer, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary, was recognized in the Modern Governance 100 Program by Diligent as an ESG, Diversity and Climate Trailblazer.

  • Tami Froese, Chief Supply Chain Officer, and Kelly Nothaft, Vice President, Strategy and Transformation, were named among the top Women in Supply Chain by Supply & Demand Chain Executive.

  • Mani Balakrishnan, Director of Sustainability and Social Responsibility, received a SEAL Awards 2022 Sustainability Leader Award for his leadership skills, his ability to attract and retain talent, and achieving ESG goals.

  • Jenna Stanley, was awarded a Bronze Stevie Award for Female Executive of the Year in the category of Business Services – More than 2,500 Employees.

  • Paresh Shah, Senior Manager of Operations, was featured in IndustryWeek’s Faces of Manufacturing for Manufacturing Day 2022.

  • Chuck Bolen, Chief Software Architect, received the Dr. Clive Hohberger Technology Award from AIM.

  • Dan Jaquint, Director of Operations for Zebra’s Automation Business, was named one of Crain's Chicago 2022 Notable Military Veteran Executives.

  • Diane Leeming, Vice President of Global Talent, was named one of Crain's Chicago Notable Execs in HR & DE&I.

  • Melissa Wagner, Senior Public Relations Specialist, was named a Rising Star in the PRNews 2022 Top Women in PR awards.

  • Jamie O'Leary Thomas, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition, was named to the Top 100 Summer 2022 Most Influential Talent Acquisition Thought Leaders by TATech, The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions.

  • Mike Stent, Senior Director of Internal Audit and Chief Audit Executive, received an ERG Impact Award in the Affinity Group Leadership category for his leadership with Zebra’s Equality Alliance (ZEAL). 

So, when people ask me what I’ve learned so far in my 15 years as CEO, here are some insights I like to share: 

  • Lead with others. Surround yourself with smart people who aren’t afraid to ask questions, think outside the box, and take charge when needed to drive projects forward. 

  • Listen to all perspectives – and solicit more input if needed. Everyone is going to have an opinion, and every opinion matters. Hear what they’re saying and understand why they’re saying it. Only then can you truly make an informed decision on the best next move.

  • Stay curious. One of the reasons why Zebra has grown and transformed, even during challenging times, is because we constantly seek to understand what challenges others are experiencing, why they are experiencing them and how we can help overcome them. It is our curiosity that fuels our innovation.

  • Challenge yourself. You have goals, and others have expectations of you. Even when you meet both, consider what more you could do – or what you could do better.

  • Most importantly, build a team of people who truly care about people. Because business isn’t about companies. It’s about helping people within those companies shine, no matter their role. 

Therefore, I encourage you to lean into an organizational and societal culture in which authenticity, transparency, and teamwork are foundational. When all ideas are genuinely valued and collaboration is the cornerstone of innovation, both individuals and teams will excel as they have at Zebra.

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