While there are an impressive number of women in key positions to help Dell assure success, it's Susan Dell and Vanderveldt who stand out in positions that are, unfortunately, unique. Every CEO with a competent spouse, man or woman, should be engaging that skill, both to improve performance and to strengthen their marriage and their company. There are few you can confide in as deeply as a spouse, and few partnerships have the ability to last as long. Too many leaders simply don't get this. It warmed my heart to see Michael Dell get this one right and set an excellent example.
Vanderveldt's efforts to create seed customers is unfortunate because it is unique to Dell. If every company worked as heard to create young companies that would later become large, loyal customers, every company would be far more strategically successful. Having an Entrepreneur in Residence, as Dell does, is another best practice.
In the end, Dell's Angels are successfully enhancing Dell's image in different ways. Now all Michael Dell needs is an intercom so he can grow his team and send it on ever more interesting missions.
Rob Enderle is president and principal analyst of the Enderle Group. Previously, he was the Senior Research Fellow for Forrester Research and the Giga Information Group. Prior to that he worked for IBM and held positions in Internal Audit, Competitive Analysis, Marketing, Finance and Security. Currently, Enderle writes on emerging technology, security and Linux for a variety of publications and appears on national news TV shows that include CNBC, FOX, Bloomberg and NPR.
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