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Power Sheet – September 8, 2015

It’s back to work, gang, which means an abundance of meaty news for the leadership aficionados who read Power Sheet. Consider what’s before us in the short week ahead:

-Public scorn for mainstream leaders is gaining strength. The Democrats’ former “inevitable,” “prohibitive favorite” Hillary Clinton now trails maverick Senator Bernie Sanders in New Hampshire 49% to 38%. Among Republicans, Donald Trump is extending his lead in Iowa and New Hampshire with 29% and 28% support respectively. No. 2 in Iowa is retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson at 22%. None of the career politicians, not even Jeb Bush, are in double digits.

-The migrant crisis in Europe still cries out for leadership, and there still isn’t any. Germany’s Angela Merkel complains that her country has taken in the most migrants and wants others to take in more. The U.K.’s David Cameron and France’s Francois Hollande say they’ll do so, but this is a European issue, and, as in the Greek debt crisis, Europe is hamstrung by its neither-here-nor-there structure, kind of united but not really. So it muddles through.

-Europe has acted on a major business issue, though, this morning approving General Electric’s buy of Alstom’s power business for $13.5 billion. It’s GE’s biggest acquisition ever and a crucial element in CEO Jeff Immelt’s historic reorienting of the company. Later this fall we may see if GE can overcome U.S. Justice Department opposition and close the sale of its appliance business to Electrolux. If so, Immelt will have achieved the big changes he wanted, and we can begin to see if his bold strategy works.

-The NFL season opens on Thursday evening with New England’s Tom Brady starting at quarterback against Pittsburgh, even though NFL commissioner Roger Goodell suspended him for the season’s first four games after the Deflate-gate affair. But last week a federal judge invalidated the suspension, and the highest-profile leader in American sports took a hard hit. He will appeal the ruling, continuing to walk a fine line between pleasing his bosses, the team owners, and pleasing everyone’s real bosses, the fans.

-Has anyone else noticed that Stephen Colbert, who debuts this evening as host of Late Show on CBS, seems to be creating late-night leadership TV? His guests tonight include Jeb Bush; tomorrow he’s got Tesla CEO Elon Musk; Thursday it’s Uber CEO Travis Kalanick; on Monday, vice president Joe Biden. This is clearly part of a strategy, and it’s creating a new, unexpected, and important forum for leaders.

What We’re Reading Today

Apple, Microsoft tangle with the Justice Department  

As companies embrace stronger encryption tools, the technology firms have begun to deny law enforcement’s request for data during criminal investigations. Some at the F.B.I has argued taking Tim Cook‘s Apple to court over the issue, while Microsoft and CEO Satya Nadella continue to fight a 2013 request. NYT

BofA steps up efforts to support Moynihan’s dual role  

Head of strategy Anne Finucane, General Counsel Gary Lynch and the board’s independent director Jack Bovender have advocated to large investors for allowing CEO Brian Moynihan to serve as chairman of the board, despite other investors’ protests. The bank has even solicited two firms to call individual investors about the vote, which comes on Sept. 22. WSJ

Uber continues push in China

Shortly after obtaining $1.2 billion more funding for its Chinese operations, CEO Travis Kalanick says Uber will launch in 100 new cities in China over the next year. Fortune

Conservatives fight back inside the Vatican

While Pope Francis has trumpeted efforts to increase progressive voices in the Catholic Church, including allowing more leniency for divorces and inclusion for gays and lesbians, there’s growing dissent among conservative factions. It’s a power struggle seen in the rise of dissenting, conservative websites and increased public comments, led by five senior officials, including U.S. Cardinal Raymond Burke. Washington Post

Building a Better Leader

Need to improve your strategic skills?

Play more games. They can help test yourself (or your managers) in different scenarios. HBR

Ivies building ways to keep the next Zuckerberg

Through innovation labs, schools like Harvard University hope to convince the next budding billionaires to grow their companies within the school’s walls. Quartz

Want your salespeople to sell more?

Consider not letting them know where they stand compared with others. The transparency can actually reduce sales, according to new research. Knowledge@Wharton

On the Campaign Trail

Hillary set to unveil a campaign finance reform plan

It focuses on ways of boosting incentives for candidates to raise from smaller donors. Hillary Clinton will also propose a Constitutional amendment that would restrict certain types of political spending from special interest groups. USA Today

Donald Trump likens his schooling to the military

According to a new book, Trump‘s personality quirk of always needing to finish first was prevalent even as a child. But his comparison of military school to actually serving in the military has raised eyebrows. NYT

Joe Biden’s presidential plan comes down to South Carolina

Due to Hillary Clinton‘s ongoing email controversy, political operatives in South Carolina believe he could win the primary in the state, which would give Biden enough momentum even if he loses Iowa and New Hampshire. But it isn’t based on polling. Politico

Up or Out

Shinzo Abe earned a second term as Prime Minister of Japan by securing the votes to remain as president of the Liberal Democratic Party. CNBC

Oracle has recently cut a number of executives within its Java group, including Evangelist on the Cloud Developer team Simon Ritter and senior vice president of development Cameron Purdy Fortune

Fortune Reads and Videos

Contactless payments to grow by 100% this year

Led by Apply Pay, the number of mobile phone users paying with contactless technology is expected to hit 200 million by the end of 2016. Fortune

VC’s have a dying unicorn list

With the market turmoil, venture capital firms need to reduce risk, leaving some $1 billion or more valuation companies in trouble. But VC firms won’t say which ones. Fortune

With Stephen Colbert’s “Late Show” debut… 

…a new round of late-night TV wars kicks off. Fortune

Stop worrying about higher interest rates

They may actually help the economy.  Fortune

Birthday Wishes

Democratic presidential candidate and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders turns 74 today.  Biography

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Produced by Ryan Derousseau