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The imperial CEO—Dead Or Gone Underground?

by Miki Saxon

Jeffrey Krames, author of Inside Drucker’s Brain, wrote a great piece detailing why the imperial CEO is dead—or should be. (Hat tip to ManagingLeadership for the link to this post.)

Krames quotes Sungard’s CEO, Chris Conde, “The CEO is like a conductor—he conducts and orchestrates a system. It is very arrogant to think you can make better decisions than the thousands of people below you. The role of the boss is to make a handful of decisions that cannot be made by anyone else and to maintain the collaboration systems. I really think the rise of these collaborative systems is redefining organizational structures and the role of the CEO; they are the last nail in the coffin of the imperial CEO.” and goes on to detail the advantages of collaboration.

All of which I heartily agree with.

The problem is that the imperial ego isn’t dead, it’s not only alive and well, it’s still kicking butt instead of having its butt kicked.

As I said Tuesday, we’re a long way from ending the sense of entitlement felt by so many executives and worse, executives-to-be.

It’s a NIMBY kind of problem. People understand logically that doing to the new generation that which was done to them isn’t really payback and that it should stop, but feel that it should stop after them.

Survival-forced collaboration may diminish the imperial CEO power, but I doubt it will go far in changing either their MAP or their sense of entitlement.

There will still (always?) be a percentage that believes they deserve giant compensation packages and that they could make a better decision/choice if they just had time. They won’t rush to empower their people and will be dragged kicking and screaming in to the collaborative future.

And just because the guy four levels down is making profitable decisions for the company doesn’t mean he’ll get a ride on the imperial jet any time soon.

Image credit: flickr

One Response to “The imperial CEO—Dead Or Gone Underground?”
  1. Hiring Leaders Says:

    […] believe what is needed is to spread leadership throughout the company and avoid hiring imperial egos. What do you […]

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