What if you woke up one morning and found yourself as CEO of let’s say, FLUIX Ltd. Wow, it will be a dream come true. Right!?!
Definitely we will not do things the way our bosses do, we will change things, we will make the company a better place to work, will treat juniors fairly ….. blah blah (apart from securing our position and boardroom politics!)
But how do we go about doing so? There are just too many dynamics involved. So many stakeholders – the controlling group, employees, creditors, customers, authorities, sales, profits, finance, etc ….and just so little time. And at the end of the day, if things go wrong, CEO is the one who is blamed the most. The recent episode of Netflix is a testament to it. CEO Reed Hastings was criticized by just about anyone and everyone. (Google about the Netflix subscription fee increase in US)
Honestly, what should be the single most important KPI to judge us (us? we are CEO’s now). Is it creation of wealth for shareholders, being an environmentally friendly company, employee welfare company? These all can be true but each one addresses a different stakeholder.
If you go through financial times, you will notice that most of the CEOs are in news when the image of a company is in question. The fortunes of CEOs have gone up or down based on the image of their companies. So does it mean that the job of a CEO is to manage the image of the company?
Recent articles in FT, Financial Management and Marketer magazine point towards this. A successful CEO is one who successfully manages the reputation of the company in the eyes of stakeholders. Sometimes reputation becomes more important even than the wealth it creates as it touches the emotional chord.
A image of a company is both the cosmetic image and the real image. The cosmetic image is the look and feel of the company. It comprises the logo, the tagline and the colours the company uses. It’s the first impression the consumer gets.
The real image comes from the activities the company does. It is the brick and mortar, the business it is in, the culture that is present. Real image is the product of business plans and their implementation. It involves aligning the strategy and operations.
Every step the CEO takes should add to the direction and force that the two images are in. Any errors here can disturb the balance and negatively affect the role of the CEO.
What can the errors be? – Errors of omission and commission.
Omission is the loss of revenue and sales. All operational strategies should be in line with the corporate strategies. If the corporate strategy is mass market, operational strategies should be aligned to feed the cause. If the production department cannot supply the goods in time for a big campaign the marketing department has undertaken, the CEO has done an omission error.
Similarly, a commission error is one involving the internal structure. The strategy should go hand in hand with the structure of the organization. Too many changes in either one of these will affect the real image of the company, thereby making the reputation suffer.
So now we know the company’s image is our biggest concern. Every step we take should build the esteem of the company. We can neither ignore the cosmetic part nor spend too much time in it. Lets achieve a zen to be a successful CEO.
Till next time, Cheero!
OK now wake up, you were dreaming, you still aren’t the CEO