Anders Gustafsson, Zebra CEO
By Anders Gustafsson | January 03, 2023

What I Have Learned About Leadership as CEO the Past 15 Years

Plus, why I am still amazed at the incredible things our employees, partners and customers accomplish each day.

I’m often asked how we successfully transformed a printer company into an innovator at the edge of the enterprise. How did Zebra evolve from selling printers, barcode labels and scanners to revolutionizing the way every organization in the world does business? 

Though I could list any number of strategic decisions or well-executed programs that led us down this path, the root source of our success has been the thousands of people around the world who individually and collectively showed up every day with passion, ideas, and a steadfast commitment to doing what’s best. This includes the collaborative and harmonious work being done by our employees, partners, customers and even community members – researchers, government officials and more – that have propelled us forward. Driven by our company culture, Zebra Nation is empowered by our values including integrity, teamwork, agility, accountability, and innovation. We are honored to be recognized for our accomplishments by industry peers, leaders, and observers. 

In the last six months alone, Zebra was named one of the…

We were also…

In addition, several Zebras were individually recognized for their outstanding leadership, innovative ideas and resounding impact on the technology industry, local communities and global society, including:

So, when people ask me what I’ve learned so far in my 15 years as CEO, here are some insights I like to share: 

  1. Lead with others. Surround yourself with smart people who aren’t afraid to ask questions, think outside the box, and take charge when needed to drive projects forward. 

  2. Listen to all perspectives – and solicit more input if needed. Everyone is going to have an opinion, and every opinion matters. Hear what they’re saying and understand why they’re saying it. Only then can you truly make an informed decision on the best next move.

  3. Stay curious. One of the reasons why Zebra has grown and transformed, even during challenging times, is because we constantly seek to understand what challenges others are experiencing, why they are experiencing them and how we can help overcome them. It is our curiosity that fuels our innovation.

  4. Challenge yourself. You have goals, and others have expectations of you. Even when you meet both, consider what more you could do – or what you could do better.

  5. Most importantly, build a team of people who truly care about people. Because business isn’t about companies. It’s about helping people within those companies shine, no matter their role. 

Therefore, I encourage you to lean into an organizational and societal culture in which authenticity, transparency, and teamwork are foundational. When all ideas are genuinely valued and collaboration is the cornerstone of innovation, both individuals and teams will excel as they have at Zebra.


Leadership, Inside Zebra Nation,
Anders Gustafsson
Anders Gustafsson

Anders Gustafsson became chief executive officer and a director of Zebra Technologies on September 4, 2007. Prior to joining Zebra, Mr. Gustafsson served as CEO of Spirent Communications plc, a publicly traded telecommunications company. At Spirent, Mr. Gustafsson redirected that company's growth strategy, divested non-core operations, integrated historic acquisitions and streamlined the organization to realize significant cost savings. Prior to Spirent, he was senior executive vice president, global business operations, of Tellabs, Inc. While at Tellabs, Mr. Gustafsson also served as president, Tellabs International, as well as president, global sales, and vice president and general manager, Europe, Middle East and Africa. 

Earlier in his career, he held executive positions with Motorola and Network Equipment Technologies. Mr. Gustafsson holds a master’s degree in business administration from the Harvard Graduate School of Business and a master of science degree in electrical engineering from Chalmers University of Technology in Gothenburg, Sweden. He was a Fulbright Scholar and received numerous fellowships and scholarships for academic excellence.

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