The Changing Role of CEOs et al!
An article caught my eye which led to the topic of this week’s blog. The article discusses the changing job description of CEOs. Those of you who are kind enough to read this blog regularly (and MANY THANKS!) know research plays a big role in most every article. Well, anyway, doing as little more digging, it is evident that everyone’s job description in the C-Suite and beyond is changing and will continue to change and most likely the change will continue at a rapid pace.
Furthermore, whole industries are changing. Two examples are banking. Banking is still struggling with transitioning from a service industry to a sales industry. Today a loan officer must morph into a sales person – no easy task! The field of medicine has its hands full as well. Not only with technology changes, but rapid changes in medicine, and how the doctor/patient relationship is changing. You can thank the Millennials and the information age for much of the change in the doctor/patient interaction. Trusting your doctor was once the norm. Now Millennials in particular, see the newest medications on media, and insist that a doctor prescribe it, regardless of he doctor’s recommendations.
Of course, role changes have been occurring, well forever really. In conducting research for this blog, articles on the changing role of CEOs from way back in the 1980s surfaced! A classic case involving change for CEOs goes even further back to the early 1960s involving John F. Kennedy, 35th President of the United States. A crisis with the steel industry about pricing prompted this quote from JFK: “My father always told me that businessmen were sons of bitches, but I never believed it until now.” This quote is responsible for prompting the change forever plunging CEOs into having to deal with external events and PR.
The average tenure of a CEO is around eight years, down from about 15 years. A question to ponder is, with Millennials jumping ship as frequently as they do, will this be a continuing trend even when they reach the status of CEO? What chaos will this bring to organizations and leadership? Much of the shorter tenures for CEOs revolves around a change in their evaluation.
Once source suggests that once upon a time, a CEO’s evaluation centered on stock performance. Now Boards realize that a CEO needs to be more multi-dimensional. For example, building a succession plan, engaging employees, major business transformations, change, technology, innovation, and the list goes on. The pace of change today is also a contributing factor. Just keeping up with changes in technology and business, social, and economic trends can be overwhelming. Managing this is both an art and a science.
Employee engagement seems to hold a key to the success of a CEO’s transition. A quote describes how this might work: “Though important, this shift will take some time. Most CEOs don’t have a great track record of improving their employees’ engagement—for decades they didn’t really have to be. [sic] But with the time-clock now ticking, experts say the smart CEOs of the future will think of themselves as ambassadors or even politicians. Great politicians, after all, drive performance by inspiring others, says John Smythe, a UK-based consultant and author of ‘The CEO: Chief Engagement Officer.’ ‘The leader,” he says, “must make the challenge personal (emphasis mine).’” (Korn Ferry Institute). It is obvious that being such a “politician” must come with a healthy does of honesty, transparency, and fairness – things we often find lacking in career politicians at least on this side of the pond.
One way to help in making leadership personal is to understand that all the elements in this article affect everyone’s role. In other words, we’re all in this together and therefore, we can have empathy for each of our plights as we struggle to manage our organizations and the human factor toward success.
Graphic Credit: BigStock.com Copyright: urfingus
Bradford, R. (2008, September). JFK and Steel, Bush and Oil. Mary Ferrell Foundation
Dobrow, L. (2016, June). Engaging the Millennial Doctor. MM&M mmm-online.com (Retrieved from DeKalb County, GA online library)
Pearlman, R. (2017, November). The CEO’s New Job Description. Korn Ferry Institute - Briefings Magazine.