Do You Think CEOs Flying Blind in their Executive Jets?
Being an executive, especially a CEO, is an honor and privilege that is bestowed on those leaders who are bigger than life. CEOs are expected to be the best of the best! Heroism and Superman/Superwoman qualities are routine daily job requirements. Along with all the financial and prestigious entitlements and perks, there is the implied mutual contract of trust, loyalty, and respect. CEOs, in particular, are expected to be the captains of their corporate ships. They cannot, and should not, delegate this awesome responsibility carelessly since at the end CEOs are responsible.
For thirty years, I have been saying that we have a management crisis in American Management! This crisis revolves around the CEOs literally flying blind.
- Communication, which is the most important part of management is either delegated, or is one-sided; CEO to all others.
- CEOs and their Board of Directors are living in isolation. It is recognized that isolation is a key factor in alcoholism, and substance abuse. Timely, pure, and open information which is the life blood of any company successes has to be filtered, "Microsoft Power Pointed", polished, recast, and politically have the right spin put on them, before it is presented to CEOs. Gone are the days of Hewlett Packard (HP) founders "Managing by Walking Around" and having open discussion with whoever who had something to say.
- Many CEOs will be hard pressed to know the value-add of their company behavior, marketing and sales activities, and most of them will have a hard time telling why a customer buys their product and/or service at the price point that they buy. They will be at a loss to give three reasons why their competition is outselling them.
- What is common knowledge, here on earth among customers is not heard in those executive jets flying at 30,000 feet. For example, they do not know, or want to know, the frustration their customers have with Telephone robots that call them all hours of the day and not even leave a message.
The average media image of a CEO to the common person these days is one of testifying for financial irregularities, or even some CEOs going to jail for having done illegal things. Let me be the first to tell you there is extremely good news here. Majority of CEOs are good and responsible people. Most are high achievers who have devoted their entire career, along with a big chunk of their lives for their passion and obsession of being a CEO. Actually they do not just want to be a CEO, they want to be that best of the best hero.
Now is the time for action for those CEOs who indeed want to make a difference.
Now is a historical time that government has, more or less, done all it could. Nevertheless, there still is a record high unemployment. Without jobs, there will not be a recovery. It is time CEOs came down to Earth and created jobs. Consider these facts:
- Many of the unemployed will be happy to work part time.
- Many would eagerly accept job share, or being back-up to the regular workers. After all "Code Sharing" went a long way to help airlines.
- Many unemployed would be happy to get On the Job Training (Good old OJT) as a part, or even full salary temporarily, so they can do exactly what Richard Bolles talks about: Learn, Unlearn, and Relearn.
- Massive and frequent layoffs and "At Will"-Hire-Fire-Revolving Door employee policy has failed to help companies in long term. HP did not lay off even one employee for the first fifty years. It can be done and it is good for business. Aflac Corporation in a news program said they did not lay off any employees.
- Perhaps, a "job Creation" proposal by a coalition of CEOs to government for tax benefits in return for job creation might get sincere and rapid co-operation.
At the end it is jobs, jobs, and jobs!