Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Downside of Charisma

In Good to Great, Jim Collins cited that most Level 5 heads lead with questions, rather than answers. They admit what they don't know and engage themselves with their right people in rigorous debates. At the end of it, what is agreed upon gets fully supported by the people in the bus. This openness allowed a full 360 degrees feedback in place, allowing leaders (navigators) to update their strategy and actions (flight plan) as necessary. This is where the truth is heard by default. Brutal facts are laid down and analyze regularly, without blame and coercion.

Celebrity CEOs, on the other hand, are show horse, full of charisma. On the downside, these are the people who come in with an agenda in mind, with team members who'll just likely concur and hardly ask questions. They are not used to feedback and rarely take effort to act on them. Team members tend to worry first about their celebrity CEO mood before raising any concern, than organizational urgency. If this is happening to you, then that is bad.

However, it is not too late. Celebrity CEOs should strive to have a feedback process in place in order to check regularly what is happening on the ground. How people and markets are reacting. This is where surveys can play an important role as well. As the people around you start recognizing how genuinely emphatic you've begun, the more you'll receive feedback directly.