Blog

  • Democratizing shopping for the “many” people

    Our previous post closed with a brief discussion of Ingvar Kamprad’s leadership by example, how he both molded and modeled IKEA’s unique corporate culture. Judging by the interviews with employees that I have read or seen, it would be reasonable to believe that the founder’s personal behavior may have shaped and maintained “The IKEA Way” more than any other single

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The source of IKEA’s resourcefulness

    Since the company’s beginnings, IKEA and its founder have been characterized by a strong sense of identity that comes from the region of Småland—a harsh, rugged, punishing region that is largely agricultural. As we saw in the previous post, one of the defining traits of the Smalandians is their extraordinary thriftiness, an ability to go through life with limited resources.

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How IKEA’s core values are connected with its creator’s origins

    Last time, I wrote that one of the best examples I have ever found of using personal narrative to influence one’s world was that of IKEA and its creator, Ingvar Kamprad. In fact, IKEA’s corporate culture is so tightly intertwined with the origins of its iconic founder that it is sometimes difficult to separate the two. On a surface level,

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • The compelling story of IKEA: what’s in a name?

    News that that IKEA founder Ingvar Kamprad had passed away—on January 27 at the age of 91—left me a bit reflective. Though I never had the pleasure of meeting Mr Kamprad, his life narrative and the story of IKEA have been a part of me for the past twenty years. The company he started has provided some of the most frequently

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • Politics and narrative: why people need a human story

    My recent forays into political commentary have elicited a number of reactions from people who have been following my work and writing for years. Former students, in particular, are somewhat puzzled by my sudden interest in the speeches of candidates and public officials, as this is an arena I have mostly avoided in the past. In fact, I continue to

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling
  • How Oprah’s story connects with us on a basic human level

    Last time, I referenced some of the reactions in the worldwide press to Oprah Winfrey’s acceptance speech at the recent Golden Globe Awards ceremony. At the time of my writing—in my transatlantic airplane seat—I had not heard the speech, nor was I completely sure exactly what these awards represent. This week, I had the opportunity to educate myself a bit

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    John Sadowsky Leadership & Storytelling