The internet is awash with news about the sale of the handset business of Nokia to Microsoft and the continued struggle of Blackberry to stay afloat. What is however not awash on the internet is a very funny thing a friend of mine said a while ago, about a very big bank in Nigeria. He said the bank can never collapse 🙂 This was very funny to me as companies much more bigger and stronger than the bank in question, with world class CEOs, have gone with the sands of time.
I was one of those who were not surprised when the problems of Nokia and Blackberry became public. Why? Experience has shown that today’s business environment is no respecter of persons or businesses organisations. It has become so complex and fast-paced that the skills, education and experience of CEOs are becoming obsolete with the passage of time. So much that a company soon discovers that the CEO it hired has suddenly become incapable to handle a business problem that showed its face after being hired. In fact, having a 100-paged CV and tens of years of diverse experience is no more a 100% guarantee that a CEO will be a “superstar.” If my assertion is faulty, Nokia and Blackberry would not have the problems they have today.
The situation would therefore will be worse for a business that hires a CEO that does not know the rudiments and dynamics of business management or who does not appreciate the fact that mediocrity in business management of today has quicker consequences than it used to be. I have read countless write- ups on these two companies. Their stories are just like those I have read about former blue chips that swam into troubled waters – rosy for a period of time, comfort from success seemingly beclouds realty, organsational and environmental factors start affecting it negatively, efforts are made to salvage it, the efforts fail and then the company begins a journey to the unknown, either abruptly or gradually.
One big lesson I learnt from the bank audit carried out in Nigeria some years ago was that the public image portrayed by businesses, especially the architectural master pieces that characterized some of the office buildings were actually make beliefs – more like seeing someone with a trendy outlook and quickly drawing conclusions about the person’s personality. Now I know that indeed, sound business management is much more complex than glamour, because beneath those beautiful imagery might be a badly managed business or a business going through serious pains from competition, and is heading towards the brink.
What is my ideal CEO of today’s extremely complex business environment? I will address three qualities. The seeming greatest flaw of today’s CEO would be to ignore the fact that competitors do not have a heart of mercy. It seems to me that the greatest challenge of businesses today is COMPETITION MANAGEMENT. Take competition away and a lot of dying businesses will bounce back to life. But you and I know that isn’t gonna happen 🙂 Competition is an unavoidable and cannot be pushed aside. Ability to manage competition is a huge asset for today’s CEOs. I follow the school of thought that say that competition is Nokia and Blackberry’s major “headache.” I really enjoy the competition in the smartphones and tablets market. To me, it is a test of CEOs 🙂 In years to come, I foresee an upset in the smartphones/tablets market, especially with the current trend of competition. today you can get very good Chinese smartphones/tablets that run Android operating systems at very cheap prices, cpmpared to to the big names. Any business that does not see competitors, no matter how small, as threats is obviously “digging its own grave!!!” Any business that sits back to only counter an “offensive” is certainly begging for trouble.
Secondly, today’s CEOs need to be extremely dynamic, just as the market place is. The market place has become so unpredictable. Foresight and ability to predict market trends have become priceless jewels. Mistakes could be very disastrous. To say that CEOs should sleep with one eye open would not be a joke 🙂 CEOs cannot afford to engage in arm-chair management anymore. Change now takes place on per second basis. Just when one CEO thinks he has taken a huge step for his company, he later discovers that another CEO has dwarfed it. Dynamism is no more a prerequisite for a CEO, is now extremely indispensable.
Finally, creativity and innovativeness are twin traits which today’s CEO must possess. Anyone who does the same thing all the time is most like to get the same result all the time. Creativity is a major tool that can used to abate the heat of competition. Thus, they should be able to think out new ideas, approaches, products at very regular intervals. A CEO’s imaginative ability should be excellent. It should not be business “as usual.”
In my humble opinion, where a CEO lacks these qualities, then the business they oversee is(are) not in safe hands.
Conclusively, I leave you with my parting shot : Is There A Business Organisation That Cannot Collapse?
Thanks a lot for allowing me share my thoughts with you. I hope this piece has added to your wealth of knowledge. Please tell someone if it did.
Thanks for your time 🙂