According to management thought leader Herminia Ibarra, the only way to grow is by stretching the limits of who you are.

Leading figures from a variety of fields describe the transition that had the strongest impact on their leadership identity

View all Interviews

“Probably the most important source of personal development is ‘overextension.’”

Andrea Illy,
President and CEO, illycaffè

"Competition changes markets. So in order to survive, companies need to continuously adapt, by changing what they do and how they do it. Something similar happened to me and my company 25 years ago when we decided to completely rethink our quality management principles and supply chain. Another aspect to be taken into consideration is the exponential growth of complexity in the socio-economic environment. This puts a lot of pressure on delivering and requires a special attitude, known as ‘overextension.’ It means working beyond one’s own capacities and is probably the most important source of personal development. And last but not least: how to get this done by thousands of people? The answer is leadership. But can you really learn leadership? I rather think that one pursues leadership, like a utopia. You’ll never reach it but you keep trying harder. Every day."


was founded in 1933 by Francesco Illy as a small coffee roasting enterprise in Triest. Andrea Illy, born 1964, now represents the third generation at the helm of the family firm. Today, illy sells a single top-quality blend of espresso to 140 countries around the world, although the company’s portfolio also includes coffee machines, designer cups and accessories. Worldwide distribution is supported not least by a franchise chain comprising over 200 coffee bars and a network of top international baristi. Illycaffè takes a strong stand on sustainability and purchases its raw materials direct from local coffee farmers in South America, Africa and Asia.

View all Interviews