Next Generation CEO

Nelson D. Schwartz wrote a terrific article in the NY Times
this past weekend. It is titled C.E.O. Evolution Phase 3. What is so great
about the article is an identification of the time for CEO change. After the
bubble burst in 2000 many people started seeing the need for a new guard in
2001. It was pretty obvious. What is going on right now isn’t as clear or
apparent as what happened then. But the new guard that came in 2001 isn’t new
anymore and the problems they came to fix aren’t the problems of today.

The current batch of exiting CEOs followed luminaries such
as Jack Welch, Sandy Weill, and Michael Eisner. The problems Charles Prince
and Richard Parsons faced came about from expansion. They made sense out of it.
These guys aren’t the mover and shakers as the men they replaced. But they are
cunning. Years of being in cut throat corporate positions molded them that way.
But being from that style is now burdensome. Key talent is seen as a threat and
now isn’t the time for corporate positioning.

Global growth is now the dominant strategy in every major
company. Why? Because the global economy is taking root in areas that were once
considered non factors. This means two things: 1 – Companies in these areas are
now competing with companies in the US and 2 – These companies employ many
people who now have incomes higher than they did before this expansion. 

So the next batch of CEOs will have to position their
companies in ways never experienced before – a world very open to competition.
This world has new oil players, new educations, new technology, and new entrepreneurial
drive. The American dream has been exported.

So how does the new CEO succeed? By doing what Mr. Schwartz
suggests – by building strong teams. They must hire people stronger than they
are. They must execute beyond the next quarter. They must grow internally and
only acquire truly valuable additions. And finally, they must take risks.

If each era has a different type of CEO then I conclude that
this era will be defined by the 3G CEO. The Green, Global, and Govern CEO. Green
is the next push in handling resources effectively. So many companies will save
by putting their energy utilization on the front of their minds. Being Green
means stop taking things for granted, i.e. electric power or water and start
using every resource to its fullest. Global is the result of technology as the
great equalizer. The more barriers to trade that are torn down (in one example
geography) the greater it is for people to trade their wares. New suppliers
come on board and new markets open up, but competitors evolve as
well. Govern because this CEO will abdicate certain powers to his team and put
in place a governance program to regulate the output. This requires trust and
patience, but inspires creativity and the speed and ubiquity of a decentralized

So as we say goodbye to the baby boomer leadership and bring
in generation X and Y we are also saying goodbye to a thick middle class and
hello to the Divergence Generation. We have a time for CEOs to transform the
corporate world unlike any other leadership group has ever had.

Who are the 3G CEOs?


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