This blog post by Brian Lucas (from his blog Keeping Agile) explores how management at the C level has never been harder than it is today, as evidenced by the fact that 64% of C level executives in North American Fortune 1000 companies do not want to be a CEO. Instead of top level management achieving such a high role and staying, it’s now the new norm for C level executives to leave their posts after only a little while.
Why is this when average CEO compensation is, on average, 209 tiems greater than the average employees pay? It has to do with expectations, long hours, and expanding requirements, according to Lucas. It also comes in large part from the consumer – with higher expectations and requirements, the consumer has placed the CEO at a position of constantly being “on”.
The CEO turns, according to Lucas, to technology as an aid. Lucas cautions against thinking of tech as a silver bullet. Citing the amount of money often wasted or lost in tech ventures to increase organization performance, Lucas suggests that CEOs take a hard look at what customers want and how the CEO’s organization is structured first:
In the past and still seen today in most large corporations, companies are organized under a very hierarchic command and control model. This is where most of the thinking happens at the top and execution happens at the bottom. When products and services were simple this worked. However it required long value chains, ridged processes, and highly regimented thinking. This invariably leads to slow product and service delivery at high expense. Unfortunately, today products and services are complex and require knowledge workers to be a large part of the solution. To be effective, these people have to have a considerable freedom of operation and must be able to express themselves and their ideas without fear of reprisal or resistance in the structure.
The post goes on with Lucas explaining the value of an organizational structure wherein there is more fluidity where possible but maintained structure when needed. This promotes team thinking and progress, self direction in workers and a team mentality. The CEO goes from stress to strategic management, allowing the organization to expand and progress at a rate that both the customer and in-organization stakeholders want.