Michael Dell: A charismatic Leader
Michael Dell was widely considered one of the mythic heroes within the PC industry having been branded as "the quintessential American entrepreneur" and "the most innovative guy for marketing computers in this decade." He was the youngest CEO to guide a company to a Fortune 500 ranking. His prowess was based more on an shrewd combination of technical knowledge and marketing know-how rather than on being a technology wizard. In 1998 Michael Dell owned 16 percent of Dell Computer's common stock, worth about $10 billion. In the company's early days Michael Dell was said to hang around mostly with the company's engineers. He was so shy that some employees thought he was stuck up because he never talked to them. However people who worked with him closely described him as a likable young man who was slow to warm up to strangers. Early in the company's history, Michael's managerial experience was limited, but Lee Walker, a 51-year-old venture capitalist brought in by Michael Dell provided much-needed managerial and financial experience during the company's organization-building years and became Michael Dell's mentor thus built up his confidence, and was instrumental in turning him into a polished executive. Under Walker's guidance, Michael Dell became intimately familiar with all parts of the business and turned into a charismatic leader with an instinct for motivating people and winning their loyalty and respect. Michael Dell usually spoke in a quiet, reflective manner and came across as a person with maturity and seasoned judgment far beyond his age. He was an accomplished public speaker. He delegated authority to subordinates, believing that the best results came from "turning loose talented people who can be relied upon to do what they're supposed to do." Business associates viewed Michael Dell as an aggressive personality, an extremely competitive risk-taker who had always played close to the edge. Moreover, the people who he...
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