MANAGEMENT is efficiency in climbing the ladder of success; LEADERSHIP determines whether the ladder is leaning against the right wall - Stephen Covey

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Seven surprises!

Have you ever read the Oct-2004 HBR article titled ‘Seven surprises for new CEO’ by Michael Porter, Jay Lorsch and Nitin Nohria? If you haven’t, let me tell you…you are missing something very important & fundamental on today’s CEO Leadership principles.

The article deals with CEO complacency that may crop-up when at work thinking that its all about high-level strategy setting, decision making, making things happen etc…However, that being the case, as a CEO, you have much more to do on your agenda and you need to do things with caution & care. Porter at al have discovered that nothing – not even running a large business within the company – fully prepares a person to be the CEO. WOW! Whadda way to go! He lists seven surprises that are most common for new CEOs: -

1. You can’t run the companyThe sheer volume & magnitude of external demands take many CEOs by surprise.
2. Giving orders is very costlyNo proposal should reach the CEO for final approval unless he can ratify it with enthusiasm.
3. Its hard to know what is really going onInformation overload causes chaos and with scale & size, it tends to get messier!
4. You are always sending a messageEverything a CEO utters is magnified, amplified, scrutinized and interpreted (sometimes mis-interpreted too!)
5. You are not the bossBoss…Do you see the Board of Directors above you?
6. Pleasing shareholders is not the goalCEOs shouldn’t get too myopic with short-term numbers / stock-prices...instead should focus on long-term value creation.
7. You are still only humanYou are not SUPERHUMAN!

Therefore, the lesson from the above article for new CEOs is one must learn to manage & lead the organization from an organizational context rather than focusing on daily operations (nitty-gritty or nook & cranny stuff!) and always remember that there are multifarious limitations in getting things done even though others might treat you like omnipotent. So true, isn’t it?


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