Carly’s Fall


Commentary: Three Simple Rules Carly Ignored

Here’s my little penny in the pool…

Outsider V/s Insider CEO

As I see this, it does not really matter whether the person is an insider or an outsider. I’d rather look at the individuals ability to take decisions as an outsider and then work with the team to implement them like any insider would.

I agree, that finding such a combination is difficult. The challenge usually is more tough because most CEOs are people who grow upwards on a linear path.People dont like butterflies unless they are in the garden!

Marketing- Regional Manager- VP-Marketing and then CEO or Ops Manager – VP – COO- CEO routes…..

Unless the CEO has friends who are working in other areas of the organization and is capable of a system level perspective of other functions, he or she begins with a disadvantage. If you are a CEO at such a dilemma stage, you need to build relations before you drive for results.

The TAO Of Leadership……

Being at the helm of any organization is the tricky job of balancing perspectives and action. While I do agree with Jim Collins’ perspective on Level 5 Leaders as he calls them in his book, I would personally not hold charisma as a failing point against a CEO. If charisma comes with Humility, it is the best package deal as far as an outsider CEO is concerned! Nothing in particular that is wrong about having strong Egos, so long as the individual indulges in the occasional introspective bath through the baptismal rivers!

As a CEO, the biggest challenge will not only be the idea of letting others take credit for the good things that get achieved , but also ensuring that the right persons take credit..Or else you will have to live(& suffer) with cronies!

External V/s Internal Customers

The reason why Marketing Personnel make it to the top of the hierarchy is probably the fact that they are constantly customer facing. And it is often suggested that HR persons don’t make it to the top for precisely the same reasons!

As for the HR persons not making it to the CEO, it is actually because they usually do not build relations. Most of the HR personnel get bundled in theoretical analyses and armchair ideas. Rare are those HR persons who actually go around meeting people at work to understand better ways of serving their internal customers, the employees!! Being in the HR domain is much less about organizing appraisals and HR events and employee gatherings as it is about being the organizations ‘Ears to the ground’! That is sadly missing in the HR structure of many organizations!

Personally I am in favor of the CEO – COO dichotomy ; CEO as the external facing person while the COO manages the internal front.Having said that, I must add that neither should be completely one sided devotion, but the areas of focus remain critical.Such a dichotomy ends up balancing the leadership scales by preventing the organisation from living in the constant stare of media on one end and preventing the ‘little boy working hard in the corner’ syndrome on the other!

Hiring & Firing For Numbers

As for firing someone for not achieving numbers, I think that strategy has its uses.For all the humanitarian approach that we talk about, we need to acknowledge that numbers are the only real way we can measure performance. The important factor is to choose the right numbers to fire someone for…If I fire a person for not achieving sales target when obviously his/her area was facing calamity, I am just demotivating the whole team!

But If I don’t fire an executive who fails to see reason or fails to lead his own tribe out of doldrums , I will simply end up dealing with mediocrity!

Hiring or firing for numbers works effectively when both sides clearly discuss and appreciate the numbers that need to be achieved AND understand how the ‘numbers’ relate directly to the organisation’s success(or survival as the case maybe!)

As I always love saying.. There is no rule to leadership…The business of running a business is all about being focused on the customer..In that sense the CEO has to be outward focused..

It is like this.. I can have the most brilliantly structured healthy body…But if I choose to wear shabby clothes..No one can help me…Or if I try well designed clothes on a unhealthy and unfit body..That will not be beautiful too!

As a CEO, my job is simply to ensure that I do whatever it takes to keep the customer happy…Leading the internal bandwagon to delivering results is one critical part of the getting the customer happy…..I will and must do what it takes to keep my employees happy…Only so long as that ‘keep the employee happy’ does not block my ability to give the customer best value…Nothing inward focussed or outward focussed about that…The Customer is the sole reason why any organisation exists..And I mean ANY organisation—Commercial, Legal, Governmental, Charitable, Educational..Everything that services a need that is external to itself!

Being a CEO is just the same as driving on an expressway with the lights of your car out…All you can trust is the prayers of those who sit beside you( provided they are praying for you 😉 ) and the pointers on the way which tell you how well you are driving… Those pointers are sometimes given or explained by people inside the car, sometimes by those driving by, sometimes by people at the gas station, sometimes by the moon and skies…And sometimes by that little kick in the corner of the mind that’s called Intuition!

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~ by exploreamaze on February 24, 2005.

One Response to “Carly’s Fall”

  1. Very concisely and clearly put. But which of these rules do you think that Carly broke and how?

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