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The Transformative CEO
Impact Lessons From Industry Game Changers
By Jeffrey J. Fox, Robert Reiss
The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. Copyright © 2012Jeffrey J. Fox and Robert Reiss
All rights reserved.
Excerpt CHAPTER 1
The Transformative CEO
The transformative CEO comes in all sizes, colors, ages, genders, ethnicities. He or she has a different style, personality, background, ability. It is what he or she accomplishes that distinguishes the transformative CEO from all the rest. The transformative CEO turns around companies, creates new industries, revolutionizes the way business is done, commercializes amazing products, changes society. The transformative CEO is obsessed with company culture, customers, innovation, and leadership.
The transformative CEO encourages risk taking, but prevents recklessness. He or she embraces mavericks, free-thinkers, outsiders, as long as they embrace the winning company culture. He or she woos, cajoles, leads her colleagues, but is not interested in winning a popularity contest. The transformative CEO sees opportunities where others see certain failure. The transformative CEO, according to Phil Griffin, president of MSNBC, "must see around the corner." The transformative CEO spots the right wave to ride, and then gets the organization to surf to success. The transformative CEO creates wealth, taxpayers, donations, job security, unlimited futures, grateful communities.
The transformative CEO changes or creates. CHAPTER 2
On Transformative CEOs
Arkadi Kuhlmann (CEO, ING DIRECT): "Never in history have the issues facing the CEO been more daunting and challenging than they are today. We are in a global marketplace. We can be constantly, instantly, visibly in touch with customers, colleagues, suppliers anywhere on the planet. Information, cash, credit, invoices, payments, data, bids, disinformation, rumors flow seamlessly around the world every second of every day. These forces shorten the business cycles. New products must get to markets faster. Competitive responses are faster. Markets occur, evolve, and devolve overnight. Given these immediate pressures, the CEO must align short-term investments and short-term results with long-term, over-the-horizon goals.
"A CEO's term of service keeps getting shorter. Time to build a transformative culture is shorter. Yet, the activities of a company, like multiplying organisms, keep getting more interwoven, more complex, more difficult to measure and manage.
"Our best CEOs will therefore be a rare breed of renaissance individuals: people equally comfortable with art and science, literature and math, Paris, Texas, and Paris, France, society and business. They are individuals who can simplify; who have experience-honed intuition, street smarts; are mentally fast, nimble, and above all, the best CEOs are creative.
"Blending such qualitative and quantitative disciplines is not easy, but it is demanded by the wide range of challenges in the new world. And the blending never stops: the CEO's continuous learning journey is indeed a steep mountain.
"For CEOs, there are countless stakeholders who will vote not once, but daily, relentlessly, remorsefully. They will vote at the cash register, at the annual meeting, in the boardroom, at the banker's office, on LinkedIn and Twitter, and in social media ballot boxes still unimagined. 'Managing in a glass box,' will be literally true.
"Brave and resourceful, creative and effective, will be the hallmarks of the transformative CEO. For the transformative CEO has no choice but to change the game, and to change the game forever."
David Steiner (CEO, Waste Management): "We are transforming from an old- fashioned trash hauler business to an organization that is intent on turning waste into value, thereby, some day, eliminating dumps and landfills. Any time you are going through a transformation, you have to get the big things exactly right. And the biggest thing is to be sure you have the hearts and minds of employees. We want to save the planet. On this matter, our employees are way ahead of the game. I didn't have to win their hearts and minds, I joined them."
Larry Culp (CEO, Danaher Corp.): "Leaders must make sure the organization does not compromise on talent. Leaders must constantly help the company define 'great talent.' Our number one core value is 'The Best Team Wins.' We firmly believe that if you have the right people, aligned on values, skills, competencies, then performance follows. With good people errors in strategy and execution will be limited and quickly corrected when they occur. When an organization has talent throughout, leaders can set the bar high, thoughtfully and fairly, and reset that bar continuously to drive great results."
Pat McGovern (Founder and Chairman, International Data Group [IDG]): "The transformative CEO is constantly in the marketplace meeting with customers and prospective customers. It is in the marketplace where one can spot emerging trends and unfilled customer needs. If you can fill the need with a profitable price, and that price is lower than the economic value delivered to the customer, then you have the rationale to form a business unit. To make the business successful find that person who will love the idea; who will enthusiastically engage customers; and who will hire similarly motivated people who will make it happen. Treat that leader as you would like to be treated: with trust and with frequent, public, visible appreciation."
Robert L. Johnson (Founding CEO, Black Entertainment Television, Founder and Chairman, The RLJ Companies): "The transformative CEO creates something so compelling it changes people's lives and becomes an iconic brand that sustains itself over time. This takes a visionary leader who can inspire talented people to build a company with a culture based on integrity and value creation. Building a company is like parenting a child: need to nurture, plus lots of love, including tough love."
Arunas Chesonis (CEO, PAETEC Corp.): "The transformative CEO must have no fear of failure. Even a bit of trepidation can demoralize colleagues, whose complete confidence in the mission is necessary to succeed. And leaders must have a 'no greed' credo. The team must feel there is a fair sharing of the wealth, the value, they are helping to create. To do otherwise will lose support of key colleagues."
Anne Mulcahy (CEO, Xerox [ret.]): "The main function of the CEO is to create followership. Having a great strategy, having a great execution plan is insufficient to be a good leader. It's about the CEO's ability to deploy, to be credible with your people, to clearly communicate. Followership and building super competent teams are the most important aspects of transformational leadership."
Daniel Lamarre (CEO, Cirque du Soleil): "In Cirque du Soleil's case, the transformation was taking this fabulously creative organization, which performed 7 'traditional' shows (traditional to Cirque) to a globally recognized entertainment business that now has 22 shows on 5 continents. Our lessons are: build on the fundamental values and company culture that keep us unique (which for us is mind-blowing creativity); diversify our performance format and content; preserve our stunning high-level acrobatics, theatricality, and original choreography. All presented with a dollop of the special Cirque du Soleil touch. Of course, this transformation must be executed with the complete knowledge and enthusiastic cooperation of all our people."
Mark Dixon (CEO, Regus): "The transformative CEO is a surfer. Business is a surfing experience. Ride great waves. Set up great businesses. Every ride (I've had eight) is exhilarating, exhausting, better than the one before. You need an alchemy of talented people, skills, ideas, relentless execution, sheer effort. Create a business that is re
Excerpted from The Transformative CEO by Jeffrey J. Fox, Robert Reiss. Copyright © 2012 by Jeffrey J. Fox and Robert Reiss. Excerpted by permission of The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc..
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