“We have bigger things to do right now than focus on value.”
This is what I have been hearing in many of the conversations I’ve been having with private equity owners and operators in the last while. We live in strange times indeed when value (traditionally expressed as market cap), an all-encompassing indicator of success, takes a back seat.
Like most CHROs, I have spent all of my career operating within the universe of talent management. The established, widely accepted practices and processes of talent management, many of which are highly consensual, have stood me in good stead. In fact, I and my C-suite partners have only ever had one serious concern when we look at our well-equipped HR departments: how we manage talent isn’t always linked tightly with what is relevant to the company’s performance.
It is up to you as CEO to calm the chaos and focus your organization’s people and resources on values-based value creation.
Considering the number and scope of the decisions you have to make these days, it’s probably not even humanly possible to look at everything being brought to you. The reality is that the important, urgent issues being thrown at you are not going to stop. The emotions being stirred up are not going to subside quickly. Spreading yourself thin to cover everything won’t get you or your company far in this day and age. What you need is leverage.
Do you know what the secret ingredient is in every Mobilization success story?
People are excited about the bold ambition you’ve declared for your company. But is the organization ready and capable of executing your strategic choices?
As CEO, you are the one person who can launch your company’s Mobilization. But moving a great ship of state in a new direction to create and capture value is not a one-person job. Mobilizing an entire company requires more energy than just you alone can provide.
Nowhere are a CEO’s powers of judgment and discernment as important as they are here. Strategic choices are the big bets that will define the future of your company. Carve out a series of choices that the company cannot do in time, given its capabilities and capacity for change, and you set everyone up—including yourself as CEO—to fail.
Mobilizing a company to achieve significant, sustainable shifts in performance is hard work. More often than not it involves transforming the organization so that it can move faster than it has before. The odds, however, are often stacked against CEOs.
Business as usual doesn’t work when it comes to Mobilization. That’s because mobilizing your company to deliver a significant increase in value is a hybrid sport. Its integrated goal: build a better business while you aggressively create and capture new value.
Warren Bennis once said, “Management is getting people to do what needs to be done. Leadership is getting people to want to do what needs to be done.”* I would add that, in today’s wired world, a vital part of the CEO’s job is about getting people intensely aligned behind wanting to do what needs to be done.