Sunday, June 15, 2008

It's going to be 2 years in July when the mmCHANNEL's management team was created. As a result of the previous professional relationship of four international ex-consultants, a new team leaded the leadership and executive task of growing the company to what we actually have. The funny thing is that, by that time, we thought of the importance of having a CEO running the company and providing guidance, but we finally decided to go on without that role and check what happens.

It happens that, 2 years later, that position is still open as it has been naturally co-leaded but the whole of the Chief executive team, which might be something rare to the eyes of externals, but let me say it has been working perfectly ok and I think it will be still doing in the future.

In those days I used to read Michael E. Porter, harvard business writer and blogger at Insight Center. He pointed out the difficulties of being a CEO in the following essay I do recomend.

Here it is. Best regards


You’re the new C.E.O.—and you’ve come face-to-face with these paradoxes: The more power you have, the harder it is to wield without demoralizing other managers. You bear full responsibility for your company’s fate, but you don’t control most of what determines it.

So how will you succeed? First confront the unforeseen challenges of your job. A sampling: You’re not really the boss—the board is. As your company’s biggest celebrity, you’ll see your every word and deed instantly spread, amplified, or misinterpreted. And you can’t run the entire company—you just don’t have the time.

Then remind yourself of the essence of your role: creating the conditions that will help others excel. Spend your time articulating strategy, installing sound processes, and mentoring key people.

You can’t eliminate the surprises you’ll encounter as a new C.E.O.. But you can master them—and set the stage for a successful tenure at the helm of your enterprise.

The Idea in Practice
To succeed as a C.E.O., manage these surprising aspects of your new role:

1. You can’t run the company. As demands from external constituencies (shareholders, board members, politicians) mount, your control over internal operations recedes. Shift from direct to indirect means of influence—articulating a clear strategy, establishing guiding structures and processes, and setting values and tone. And select the right senior management team to help you run the company.

2. Giving orders is costly. Overruling thoughtful decisions made at lower organizational levels erodes senior managers’ confidence. Decision making grinds to a halt as managers begin checking with you before proceeding on anything. Instead, promote agreement about decision-making criteria, share power, and trust others to make key decisions.

3. It’s hard to know what’s really going on. Once you’re C.E.O., others withhold bad news, fearing you’ll shoot the messenger. How to get solid information? Consult customers, other C.E.O.s, and industry associations. Ask independent advisers to criticize your thinking. And have weekly lunches with employees from all levels, to hear their ideas and opinions.

4. You’re always sending a message. Your every move—inside and outside the organization—is scrutinized and interpreted. To minimize misinterpretation, learn what signals you’re sending. Carefully consider how different audiences might interpret your actions and communications. Use simple, clear, and oft-repeated messages illustrated with memorable stories.

5. You’re not the boss. You have ten or twelve bosses: the board of directors. They can set your compensation, evaluate your performance, overturn your strategy, and fire you. Yet many directors have limited knowledge of your industry and scant time to acquire it. Educate them through one-on-one contacts, e-mail updates of corporate progress, and distribution of background material. Collaborate with them to gain their trust.

6. Pleasing shareholders is not the goal. With their short-term focus, shareholders may favor actions that don’t always strengthen your company’s long-term competitive position. Shape their perceptions of your company through constant explanations and reminders of your strategy. Develop and articulate a sound strategy, even if it’s unpopular with Wall Street.

7. You’re still only human. The rewards and adulation that come with being C.E.O. can tempt you into acts of hubris. Make a disciplined effort to stay humble. Revisit your decisions. Find forthright people—and listen to them. Maintain connections to family, friends, your community, and hobbies to avoid being consumed by your job.

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