Jan 14, 2007

CEO as Politician

Alan Murray says in the WSJ that today's CEO is required to play the role of a politician also. Under closer surveillance from shareholders, hedge-funds, investors and regulators, leaders can no longer afford to focus purely on getting the numbers right. Today’s CEO needs to play the role of politician, appealing broadly to "stakeholders", a group that includes shareholders, employees, customers and consumers.

So this means that COOs, CFOs, CMOs and other CXOs who fancy their growth to be as a CEO in the future need to builds not just business strategy skills, or to get to know the market and business better, but also be a 'symbol' for the organization as a politician is for the market.

The mark of a successful politician is also to simplify a complex message and to use stories and metaphors to convey to their constituents. In my view that is a skill that is going to be increasingly going to be asked of CEOs and other business students.

So, if you are a business manager or leader, here's my advice to build this skill. Go to an undergrad student class and explain your business model in non-technical terms.

You never know what you might learn about your own business if you simplify it to communicate :-)