HP. Boeing. AIG. Bye, bye hyper-powerful CEOs. (In the space of just a few weeks.)
And Bernie Ebbers will probably die of old age in jail.
Three of the four failed the "character test" (Stonecipher, Greenberg, Ebbers).* (*Way to go Wall Street Journal, ever on top of trends ... a headline yesterday suggested that in future CEO selection process there was now a need to look for "character." Wow! Great insight; remind me to renew my subscription.) Three of the four (Fiorina, Greenberg, Ebbers) were close-to-the-vest Centralizers.
If nothing else, this does remind us how ludicrously tough it is to lead giant institutions these days: One must indeed have "character" of the first order. Plus a Gerstner-like knack for wrenching entrenched "cultures" in Bold New Directions. A Larry Bossidy-like maniacal Bias for Execution. A Peter Lewis (Progressive)-like knack for Speed. A Welch-like ability to pick Great Talent ... and then to give that Talent its Head! A Jobsean instinct for Disruptive Innovation. A Gatesean and Scottean (Lee, Wal*Mart) love of the Fray of Business. Nardelli (Bob, Home Depot)-like Energy. And a decent grasp of Strategy.
Can anybody truly do all this? Home Depot's Nardelli comes the closest, in my book (blog). He actually scores an "A" or "B+" on each of these dimensions. No mean feat.
Before blogging became all the rage, Tom was posting book reviews and Observations (essentially early blog posts) to this site. You can find the archives below.
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