Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Transformative CEO

I am traveling.  Mini-brothers' weekend.  Lots of cards, some walking (but a bit too sedentary compared to other weekends we have done).   Solving the problems of the world - climate change, wealth gaps, unemployment.  And solving the micro problems in our lives - business challenges mostly.

Cannot beat family for candor and fun.

I highly advocate the tradition of sibling get togethers - especially if there is a geographic distance separation.


And looking forward to a father daughter get together.  And of course Josh (I have to include him on my blog posts so he does not feel left out)
I read a great little book - The Transformative CEO - Impact Lessons from Industry Game Changers by Jeffrey Fox and Robert Reiss. 

It is a 30 chapter book (short chapters).  Each one is around one topic of CEO leadership.  After a short description of the attribute, 3 or 4 real CEO's comment. 

For example:

Chapter 5 is "Put Culture First and Forever".  The chapter describes that winning culture is one of the three pillars to business success (marketing and innovation are the other 2). 

Bernie Marcus (Founding Home Depot CEO) then comments on that explaining how culture is critical to Home Depot success.

Tony Hsish (CEO of Zappos) commented "Lots of companies have core values, but they usually end up on posters on the wall that nobody ever looks at.  Zappos has 10 core values and we make sure everyone in the company has those core values, and lives them."

Jim McCann (CEO of 1-800-Flowers and a personal friend of mine) said "It is tough to maintain your culture as you job is to be our cultural engineer"

And then Ayn LePlant (CEO, Beekley Corp) also voiced her opinions on culture.

Each chapter is similar on a different topic.  And there is an impressive list of CEO's commenting - 44 in total.

And my comments on culture.  I found, the larger the company, the more my role as CEO was simply to coach on culture but let everyone else make decisions.  If the decisions were within the right culture, then this was the only way to scale the business.

I also learned that changing culture is hard and requires huge thought and persistence.  Company cultures have huge inertia.  Overcome that inertia if you want to make change is the key. 

So why would any CEO want to change their company culture?  It can be because growth or market changes require a change.  And it often is needed when there are mergers or acquisitions.


At 5:14 PM, Anonymous Allan - Stainless Steel Cables said...

I like this "Game Changine CEO". I really would recommend "Mastering Rockefeller Habits" too if you are looking to better yourself.

At 11:05 PM, Anonymous Kathleen said...

right on. you really need to teach people how to make decisions. otherwise, you will end up doing their jobs.


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