Management Turnover as Change Agent

Monday, December 15, 2008

Recommended Reading - Good Riddance to the Imperial CEO, Business Week

I recently came across an October 28, video/text story from Business Week given by Professor Edward E. Lawler III from the Marshall School of Business at the University of Southern California.  Lawler recently published a book called Talent.  In the Business Week piece Lawler focuses specifically on the issue of leadership.  He takes to taskEdward E. Lawler III so-called imperial CEOs.  In the story, Lawler refers to CEOs who,

… make decisions and develop strategies with little input and discussion. Their decisions are above criticism and challenge. They adopt lifestyles that make them celebrities, and their companies become vehicles that make them “rock stars.” They are supported by technology that is designed to keep them in touch 24/7. But in reality, most imperial CEOs are dangerously out of touch with the people they lead, particularly when it comes to the issue of strategy implementation and development. Often they don’t hear bad news until it is too late (witness today’s problems in financial firms).    

Strategies and business plans in human capital-centric organizations are likely to be successfully developed and implemented only if the individuals who have to implement them have had a say in crafting them. Even if a brilliant CEO or senior executive can craft a successful strategy without input, the issue of how it is going to be implemented remains. Without individuals throughout the organization having a say in what comprises the strategy and agreeing that it is the right one, it’s highly unlikely they will want to or be able to implement it.

While I am not in total agreement with Lawler’s assessment, anyone interested in the issue of executive leadership should at least listen to the brief video/audio Lawler presents on the Business Week site.  You might even want to read his book entitled, Talent: Making People Your Competitive Advantage

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