This was a busy week for meetings and client workout sessions. As always I am facilitating leadership teams to try and help them develop consensus on the business and direction for the business….
What made this week different is that I was face to face with four CEO’s each of which was just a bit different from the others as follows:
CEO A – grew up with the company, early 40’s, learning the ropes
CEO B – grew up with the company, early 50’s, astute businessman
CEO C – grew up with the company, early 50’s, technical leader
CEO D – grew up with the company, early 60’s, seasoned professional
Notice they all grew up from within their respective organizations, but differ in age and mental orientation.
What was most interesting is,
if I rated them in terms of business performance the ranking would be: B,D,C,A
if I rated them in terms of organizational climate it would be: B,A,D,C
Now let me qualify this by saying that the business performance ranking is probably objective as I have all their numbers while the climate ranking is more subjective and I have using my judgment based on the amount of griping I hear in the organization.
The simplistic conclusion that I make from this is if I have to hire a CEO, he better be an astute businessman who delivers both financial and climate results. And it is no surprise, the astute businessman speak the language of “the business of the business” whereas the rest are talking about the business. He looks at things from a macro perspective with a 3 year horizon. He is not trying to solve yesterday’s problems but always pushing the frontiers of his business. His thinking is in the future. He is able to equally balance Capital , People and Process issues and most importantly, he is unfazed.
CEO A is the one to watch as I see him maturing hopefully not into a technical leader but an astute businessman. Over the last 6 months I have seen his thinking change and now to keep nurturing and sustaining it. Most important is that he accepts that he has to change.
CEO C, is going to be interesting. He truly understand the business, but needs to learn that his role has changed. He is a hair’s width away from becoming an astute businessman but to make that transition he has to connect with his people by provinding clarity and guidance. Question is, will he see the need to make the transition?
CEO D, is a man who truly has earned his stripes and I take my hat off to him. He final challenge is now going to be succession….
Gentlemen, I don’t envy you…..