The ultimate CEO guide

Published: 08 December, 2011 07:25 IST | Arindam Chaudhuri |

For years, CEOs have been bred up on standard and glamorous sounding strategic jargons that they've grown to accept without feeling a need to question

For years, CEOs have been bred up on standard and glamorous sounding strategic jargons that they've grown to accept without feeling a need to question. From R&D to innovation, from Six Sigma to BPR, from quality orientation to M&A, the general CEO thought has been more to accept and follow these packaged strategies because, well, in doing so, firstly the CEO treads on ground where others have tread previously and so won't be perceived as being eccentric; and secondly, if he fails in achieving the targeted objectives, he'll just be a part of the general failed CEO club rather than being castigated for attempting to walk the less tread path alone.

Unfortunately, what held true a decade or so back with respect to outcomes of many CEO strategic manoeuvers, doesn't hold true any longer. Many of the strategies that CEOs would swear are gold-standards no more even qualify in the trials. Many of these, in fact, can devastate a company and its shareholders' wealth beyond what one can imagine. 

Then why don't CEOs simply analyse the current cause and effect behaviour of strategies and change their course of action? It's not that CEOs don't do this. In fact, if you incisively and statistically analyse the world's best performing CEOs that is, much beyond what doe eyed journalists singing paeans would mention in their window dressed news reports - you'll realise that these CEOs today practice strategies that even they were alien to a few years back. 

These ruthless stalwarts have continuously questioned and re-questioned the performance power of even those strategies that have given them enough returns in the past -- and have discarded any strategy that has tested negative in the course of analysis. But then, and unfortunately, the number of such obsessed and paranoid CEOs is significantly extremely less in this universe. A majority of CEOs of today are irresponsibly and almost criminally destroying shareholders' wealth by following rigmarole, yet sure-to-fail disaster moves, without caring two hoots about the ramifications of their actions.

CULT deeply questions the attitude of such CEOs, and more importantly, brings tomorrow's leaders face-to-face with the truism of which strategies in reality work and which don't! The analysis is done giving no quarters and sparing no criticism; yes, numbers have been utilised to prove or disprove propositions -- but none without credible reasons. 

Each chapter provides dramatic new lessons that today's CEOs would find extremely pertinent for their corporations; lessons that may seem radical, yet are the same ones being practiced by a select group of the world's best performing CEOs. Many of these lessons have been drawn out of a combination of exhaustive number crunching and the authors' interactions with CEOs -- both in their consulting projects and in the CEO training workshops they've taken. CULT defines a momentous turning point for today's CEOs and provides a brutally honest sounding board for them to question themselves -- and to see whether the strategies they are currently employing are actually those that work.

If you've got a brilliant strategy that's worked great all these years, then it's quite clear that you've never had the intent to test out strategies that could have worked out greater. In essence, distrust every profitable move and question every achievement and you may well have understood the philosophy and ideology being propagated by CULT.

The writer is a management guru

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