What we're reading this month.
Many people aspire to the big chair but the CEO role has undergone a remarkable change since the term first appeared in 1917.
In their article “The Lives and Times of the CEO” in the Summer 2014 issue of strategy+business, Ken Favaro, Per-Ola Karlsson and Gary Neilson examine the skills needed as the job evolved.
In Henry Ford’s time, the CEO used command-and-control methods and personal knowledge of the technologies to drive production efficiency.
After WWII, the emphasis was on meeting changing consumer demands through strategic planning, although there was also a growing awareness of investor returns.
By the end of the century, the focus was on globalisation, innovation and adaptation to new technologies, and agility was the required talent for corporate leadership.
The authors say that in 2040, CEOs will need a broad range of life skills to cope with continual disruption.
Supplementing the article is research on CEO movements at the largest 2500 public companies in 2013.
CEO turnover was 14.4 per cent, a slight increase on the five-year average of 13.9 per cent.
Over three-quarters of CEO appointments were from inside the company, a bit more than the previous year.
The study also looked at the proportion of female CEOs, finding that women represent only 3.6 per cent of the incoming class of CEOs.
This is a 1.3 percentage point drop from 2012 but is still above the average of 2.1 per cent between 2004 and 2008.
The essay “10 Principles of Leading Change Management” by DeAnne Aguirre and Micah Alpern was one of the most read s+b articles of all time and has been updated.
The authors look at why the success rate of major change initiatives is only 54 per cent.
They find the process is often rushed, resulting in “change fatigue” and a lack of follow-through.
Failure to consult lower-level employees often leads to resistance and alienation.
The authors suggest improving timing and communication, and there is a video that discusses the issue in greater depth.
Other articles in this issue examine how the technique of “deliberate practice” can dramatically improve decision-making, how smarter teams can be developed, and how companies that only have access to “little data” can use that information to improve their business.
strategy+business is the journal of Strategy& Inc (formerly Booz and Company). It can be accessed at strategy-business.com
Opportunity comes in clusters
Companies looking to expand internationally can benefit by connecting to industry “clusters” in the target country, according to research by Ana Colovic and Olivier Lamotte (European Business Review, volume 26, issue 5, a special issue on internationalisation).
Clusters provide resources, networking opportunities and legitimacy, smoothing the path for cross-border new ventures.
This interesting blog is linked to the Singapore-based Human Capital Leadership Institute.
There are well-informed posts about how technology can accelerate talent development, and leadership at Singapore’s DBS Bank.
The site includes profiles of corporate leaders and there is a section covering the recent HCLI symposium on leadership in South-East Asia.
Mindset is a consulting firm that specialises in change management and recruitment.
Its blog’s series on performance reviews looks at new developments in the area, while other essays look at productivity and what sports stars can teach executives about leadership.
Spinning off Harvard Business Review magazine, this blog boasts a number of excellent contributors.
The blog series about “the rebirth of the Chief Marketing Officer” is fascinating, and there is a quite quirky set of contributions on the limitations of Big Data in the real world.
Jim Collins has worked on seminal business books including Built to Last, Good to Great and How the Mighty Fall.
His site houses diagnostic tools developed in connection with his books, plus many articles and video interviews.
From technical publications to a blog for small family-run businesses, this site includes a lot of information relevant for enterprises in Australia.
This US-based site is essentially an e-magazine which brings together environment-related business news and information from around the world.
It is categorised by topic, such as energy efficiency and water, and has a useful search function to pinpoint areas of interest.
There are also links to a library of research reports and white papers – the one titled The CFO and the Sustainability Reporting Chain is particularly good reading.
This article is from the October 2014 issue of INTHEBLACK.