John Ainley: Installing a “leader hero” type CEO is a short-term fix, which often ends in long-term failure
There are too many ‘leader hero’ type CEOs, with egos to match, who are brought into organisations to make dramatic change by panicky Boards. Despite their obvious and much publicised short-term success, over time and in general, they destroy value.
Sadly, many of these CEOs are blind to the strengths of the past and are obsessed by their own way as the only way. In taking this stance they lose the talent and insight that is part of the DNA of what has made the organisation valuable.
Blinded by experience
A deep vulnerability sits in us all as individuals and as organisations. Individually we all have our own ‘experience blindfold’ where we create a way of doing work that is efficient for us and becomes, over time, accepted as our only way; we see the world through our own logic and wiring. Layer upon that organisational ‘sedimented beliefs’ where organisations view the world through their perception of reality and organisational experience, and it makes it difficult for leaders who have long been in position to think and act differently.
However, it does not have to be so. The most effective solution is not usually dramatic regime change; as mentioned at the outset, that rarely delivers long-term success. Some organisations have created long term value and have developed strategies for dealing with this risk by recognising the key is renewal and to be able to see the risks and opportunities as if we were ‘new again’. Many have built revered naysayers and challengers into the fabric of their businesses so that new ways are seen as positive progress and are adopted, and not rejected as unrealistic because they don’t fit our view of the world.
My way is not the only way
The dramatic oscillation of a series of ‘my way is the only way’ leaders, damages businesses and stakeholder value. We, in, Alexander enable organisations and leaders to break through this vulnerability and reduce the risk of leadership volatility. It works. The best leaders tend to understand their industry and business well; they value the past and are constantly challenging themselves and their teams to seek insight, to experiment, to change and to live a life of discovery and challenge.