Leadership is leading the charge, no fancy mission statements.
It is all simple ideas; no long-term plans. It is picking
right people and trusting them with what they do best; not
fancy organisation charts. It is to know where you are going
and enthusing your team with your dream.
success is people, people and people — trained, skilled and
motivated. People who work smart. People who act and do.
People who never stop learning.
* * *
by Mark Stevens. Harper Collins, New York. Pages 184. Rs 195.
Advanced Management Programme (AMP) is for aspirants to CEO
Chief Executive Officers positions is the most sought-after
course in business education across the world. What makes AMP
so outstanding in grooming future CEOs is a fascinating
insight which Stevens provides.
distinguishing feature is its teaching based on case studies
stemming from research, interaction and actual involvement of
faculty in diverse businesses around the world. Their
experience has been unique, built step by step through new
exploration, trial and error.
first step is conversion of a specialist into a manager of
business in totality. Without such conversion, failure at
higher levels is inevitable. The change is also the most
difficult; it is not easy to shed the comfort of the familiar
turf and decades of expertise. It is also a shift from looking
at leaves, to a look at the forest itself; recognising
symptoms instead of curing disease; understanding the game of
numbers and money; understanding customer, market and
environment; decision-making in ambiguity and on intuitive
judgment; depending upon need, creating a new mission;
infusing a new spirit and meaning into large groups of varied
talent and diverse interest; and, leading action into
A new and
interesting discovery for me was the du-point CEO tool for
quick analyses of enterprise health:
sales into assets, assets shareholders equity is equal to
return on equity.
On the face
of it, it appears to be a very ordinary and innocuous
equation. The CEO eyes however lend it altogether a different
quality; it spells survival or death. Looked at under the AMP
managerial lens, the same equation becomes: sales margin into
turnover of assets into leverage is equal to return on equity.
coupled with low asset-turnover is a sure recipe for death, in
the same manner as low margins coupled with high leverage.
Increasing asset-turnover must be the first priority. A look
in this fashion could lead to radical paths; the true CEO
role. Stevens elaborates it with plenty of examples.
problem which the CEOs invariably face is stagnation in market
share, turnover and profits. It is like what we are passing
through. Dominant thought in every CEO’s mind is how to
stalemate competition. Head on war has failed. Growth in such
a situation can only come through changing the equation.
Success will only come through a new strategy, and then only
if the entire team embraces it: change is equal to
dissatisfaction into business model into process.
issue is men. How to make thousands in the team not only
embrace the new strategy, but enthuse them to propel it.
Managers are the toughest nut to crack in this new game. That
the new strategy also holds no guarantee compounds the
place you on the pedestal of Jack Welch, Jamshed Irani or
Verghese Kurien. But the list of fallen warriors also
stretches a mile.
Reading in today’s regime
of brutal competition could even breathe new life into you.