The Case for the Lazy CEO

Peter Drucker wrote extensively about what a CEO should and should not do. His basic point was that CEO’s do not have time to work. They are too busy having meetings.

Why so many meetings? As Fred Wilson points out, the CEO needs to  formulate a  long term strategy, bring together a great team to implement it, and make sure the company doesn’t run out of money. This takes a lot of talking.

And not just talking of the ordinary sort. The talk must be effective in uniting a team around a message. Scaling that message. That is, as Sutton and Rau point out, a “ground war”.

How Smart Are You?

There is A GINORMOUS cultural bias that hurts us tremendously.

Errr … perhaps there is more than one. But there is at least one.

That bias is that only smart people are worthy of respect.

The problem with this bias is that when we pretend to be smart, we stop learning. We close off the possibility that we do not understand stuff around us.  Instead, we spend our time keeping up the pretense.

This is not a call for all of us to start acting like idiots. it is instead a call to start from the proposition that humans all have pretty much the same native intellectual capacity. The differences between us are in how well we use those capacities over time — the more we use them., the more we grow.

This is the growth mindset. The starting point for strategic thinking.

Understanding Uncertainty

We use strategic thinking when we cannot know the answer to a question. This is to be distinguished from planning, when we know the answer but have to implement it.

So strategic thinking involves dealing with uncertainty.It is tool to “do the best we can” given what we know and what we want to achieve.

And so, part of that challenge is understanding uncertainty. Al Wenger gets into this in a fairly detailed way here.

Suffice to say, that dealing with uncertainty requiers

  • a belief in a reality that is beyond what we know now
  • measuring aspects of reality to form at least a partial picture
  • explaining what we measure – to prioritize data and predict outcomes