Bruce Nussbaum is right on the money in his article in BW Online. CEO’s are the victims of what I call ExecuVision. This is a form of tunnel vision where the light at the end of the tunnel is a shining city on a hill where all customers and employees agree with the Chief Executive.
This tunnel is constructed by the executive committee and board of directors. Boards and executive committees pride themselves on their years of experience. Experience is good when it is applied to helping shape the future and not repeating the past. There are many people who fall back on their experience as a reason to be resistant to change.
Leading a large company is a difficult job and the Chief Executive needs people around him to handle low priority projects. There are some areas where the company leader must stay intimately involved. Leading Innovation, change management and problem solving are not tasks that should be delegated. The CEO needs to be an active part of the company’s activity in these areas. New ideas, fresh thinking and people who have a perspective from outside the company and industry are some of the best catalysts for sparking thinking in these areas.
If you are a CEO you’re not going to read about the “next big thing” in the Wall Street Journal. By the time an idea reaches the mainstream media it has lived a long and healthy life right here – in blogs, chats and discussion groups. By the time it gets to the Journal, you can bet that somebody has launched the idea out of his garage / basement.
Here is the moral of the story: Experience is valuable for some things: Banking, Finance, Accounting, etc. Fresh innovative thinking can come from anywhere. Don’t discount the aggressive younger individuals in your organization. They could have your next big idea in their garage. Start looking for the next big thing in your mailroom, and on the Internet.
I see ten good ideas a day as I read blogs. One of those people will have the guts to see a good idea through. At the end of a month, one of the 30 ideas that made it to the start-up phase will still be a business. At the end of a year, five of them will be on their way to making real money. In two or three years they could change the complexion of an industry. I’m willing to be that the CEO and his experienced team won’t see this happening. By the time the CEO hears about a new business Chuck from the mailroom will have carved out a nice niche and taken some of the company’s most valuable clients with him.
Mr. CEO – stay in touch. Allow some young innovative thinkers into the executive suite. Read a blog or two each day. Don’t discount the crazy ideas you see. Four or five of them change businesses and even industries every year. Make sure your company is on the leading edge of that change and not a victim of it.
Thanks to True Talk Blog for pointing us to the article in BW.