It has long been presumed that the CEO is so key to an organization as to be, effectively, vital to its very functioning. Indeed, many highly regarded observers have strongly made the case that not only is a singular individual leader essential to the success of an organization, but that there is hardly any point in the organization’s existence except as a mechanism for amplifying and expressing that leadership.
This view has been warmly – even eagerly – received by the general public. Many of us seem to want an age-old heroic figure on whom to project our hopes and invest our faith. Others of us, perhaps, just find it easier to conceptualize the enterprise as the institutionalization of its boss, rather than as an abstraction conceived and directed by its owners.
Indeed, when an iconic American CEO became seriously ill recently, a major stock analyst found it prudent to issue a report that investors shouldn’t worry; the leader’s personality had already successfully been institutionalized inside the company. No need to sell off the stock. This is a company whose current good fortune, by the way, can be solely attributed neither to the visionary insight of this CEO nor to the inspired followership of an employee – but, arguably, to the clever idea of a consultant.
As it happens, the major way bosses typically provide a positive contribution in their organizations is not so much by making daring, awe-inspiring gambles, but by avoiding making mistakes. After all, of all the companies now lining up for government aid or to file petitions in bankruptcy court, how many of their CEOs have been viewed as inscrutably qualified, vital leaders by observers – not to mention by themselves – in the recent past?
Should we not, in point of fact, worry that their personalities had been successfully institutionalized inside their companies? Should you not worry if that is happening at yours? What might that, actually, suggest about the true vitality and dynamism of your organization?
Today’s tips: If you want to become a successful presenter around a conference table, you will want do all four of the things Steve Roesler suggests in his must-read post on the topic. My vote for the absolutely indispensable item is number three – and this is for presenting or speaking before all types of audiences. Which one gets your vote?
And if you want to become a profoundly successful business person or manager, you will ask yourself every one of the seven questions Michael Wade poses for you today. In particular, you will want to devote far more than cursory attention to number one, and ask it again every time you think you have the answer. The other questions, then, flow from number five – don’t you agree?
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