What Should Keep The CEO Awake At Night?

By | October 11, 2007

It’s not what the competition are doing, or whether the business is compliant or not, or the weather, its something that has crept up on business in the last 10 years without many people noticing.

It’s this….the intellectual capital of senior management teams reduces at a faster rate than their power. Or put another way the clever stuff that got them to a position of power and influence will have very little to do with what is needed to increase competitive advantage over the near term. You see this often with a new team creating lots of value in their first 2 years and very little thereafter, with senior people ending up as highly paid ‘copers’, sitting on their functional responsibilities, trying as best as possible to hit their short term goals.

Constantly changing a senior team is not the answer either for obvious reasons.

The answer is in the selection, organisation and on-going development of the senior team.

Selection
Potential senior people should be judged against two criteria. Can they demonstrate a track record of being able to create sustainable, appropriate material value? Doing the numbers is not enough; do they have the creativity and insights to do transformational things?

The second criterion is significant Emotional Intelligence (EI or EQ). They need to connect with all points of the stakeholder compass. They need to great at the people stuff.

Organisation
The senior team should be organised flexibly, not in rigid power structures. Given their role is value creation much of what they will want to achieve will not fit into strict functional boundaries, but will follow processes, customer needs and aspirations. If they need lots of reports to validate their position then they disqualify themselves as being appropriate, (see EQ above).

On-Going Development
Only people who are obsessive learners, with an over developed sense of curiosity should be considered. The team should have a very demanding Personal and Team Development Plan. Like all effective training success criteria, it shouldn’t be attendance based but application based. Feedback should be constant, and as 360° as possible.

Reward should be designed to drive the right behaviours as well as the right performance, and peer review should be part of the evolution process.

The CEO has no more important job than getting this right.

SalesPathways and its sister company Predaptive work with many CEO/senior teams. If you would like to arrange a confidential discussion please contact us.

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