Although our respondents come from different continents, countries, industries and types of companies, they all emphasised four essential roles of a CEO: envisioning; nominating; enabling and managing crisis. This article is based on the role envisioning.
The role of CEO is a huge and demanding responsibility, although, in different industries and functions, the role may change, an article by Insead Knowledge goes on to discuss the 4 main roles of a CEO. Here were some of the best bits.
We often hear that running a large company is one of the most complex jobs in the world. Business schools, strategic consultancies, headhunting firms, training providers, executive coaches all have a tendency to mystify the work of the CEO. However, effective CEOs see their jobs in much simpler terms and consider this simplification an important element of their effectiveness.
In order to understand how the CEOs themselves see their work and which factors make them successful, we interviewed a carefully assembled selection of truly international CEOs from the world’s twenty biggest economies.
Although our respondents come from different continents, countries, industries and types of companies, they all emphasised four essential roles of a CEO: envisioning; nominating; enabling and managing
Our 20 CEO-experts needed no prompting to talk about “vision”. It’s a topic nearly all of them raised spontaneously. “The ability to define an accurate vision is very important,” says Jean Sentenac of Axens (France). For Abdel F. Badwi, formerly of Bankers Petroleum (Canada), the “role of the CEO is mainly about vision”.
Contrary to the widespread view of a corporate vision as a picture of the future set in stone, our CEOs consider vision a work in progress. Fine-tuning and updating the vision is a never-ending process of unravelling a paradox. It entails a number of elements.
- First, good vision is always crystal clear, yet it is also evolving along with the company and the macro- and micro-environment in which it operates. As Diego Bolzonello, formerly of Geox (Italy) says, “Direction is made by a long-term vision…and you modify it continuously because in this environment you need to understand what is happening all around the world.”
- Second, good vision is grounded in rational evaluation of the market and business potentials, yet it must also be inspirational and emotional. Renato Bertani of Barra Energia (Brazil) explains: “It’s not about sending orders out; it’s really about making people believe you know the right way and providing the right vision.”
- Third, good vision provides direction and establishes fundamental working principles, yet it leaves plenty of room for creative expression from every individual. As Lee Chul Kyoon of Daelim (South Korea) says, “Once a system is set up, it will function. But if we don’t all share the same future perspective, it won’t work. The CEO provides that.”
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