If you’re a CEO, chances are somewhat slim that you know exactly which roles in your organization are absolutely critical to realizing your company’s value agenda, who you have in them, and how well they are doing. Often CEOs believe their job is to set direction and strategy, to orchestrate execution and manage performance. Talent is largely the domain of human resources and the CHRO; value is predominantly the domain of finance and the CFO. Or are they? Rarely do we three C-suite leaders—the CEO, CFO and CHRO—come together to flag the specific roles in our company that drive value. And even if we do, it is even more rare that we monitor the incumbents in those specific roles for their contributions to value, their level of engagement, and their capacity. Yet their contributions are what we are relying on to secure our performance today and make future growth possible.
When IBM conducted their biennial survey of global CEOs in 2010, they found that the biggest challenge facing leaders around the world was complexity*. Six years in and complexity is accelerating—outside and inside our organizations. The more we try to adapt our companies to the intricacies of the global macroeconomy, the chaos caused by terrorism and the emergence of disruptive technologies, the farther we fall behind. Yet, if we ignore the pervasive, persistent problem of complexity, we risk leaving value trapped in our companies.
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.