The CEO's job

AG LafleyA.G. Lafley, Procter & Gamble's CEO (and now Chairman), penned an HBR article in May that I think best summarizes the job of the CEO. Get your assistant to buy it -- and you should read it -- very good stuff.

To give a taste, here's my summary, plus a few of my favorite quotes.

Lafley argues that because the CEO doesn't report to anyone within the enterprise, only he can truly advocate for customers and shareholders. As Peter Drucker, Lafley's guru, stated: "The CEO is the link between the Inside that is 'the organization' and the Outside of society, economy, technology, markets, and customers. Inside there are only costs. Results are only on the outside."

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Goodbye BlackBerry

Adieu Blackberry_0138 If you're the typical CEO, you are carrying a BlackBerry. But not for long. Once the iPhone is able, in a corporate setting, to replicate all aspects of Outlook (email, calendar, notes, and tasks) with high security, the iPhone floodgates will open and you will have a new device. Here's why:

1) User interface. Despite the annoyance of the glass keyboard, the iPhone interface is faster, more intuitive, more flexible, and more versatile. You can do more, with more content, less instruction, and faster speed.

2) Applications. iPhone has a massive head start in the battle for applications. It's possible that your company already has an iPhone application in the market -- servicing your customers. Don't you wish you could see it? And there may already be applications available that will make your job easier -- I predict that corporate dashboards for CEOs will be a small but influential segment of the iPhone apps portfolio. In some markets, it's changing how customers connect to companies -- here's an example around mobile banking. The application revolution has begun -- and it's not on BlackBerry.

3) iPhone will soon be available from more cell services providers -- starting first in Europe. Once the device breaks out of its AT&T cage, the multiplier effect will kick in -- and the flood waters will rise fast.

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What the 20% fall in marketing budgets means to CEOs

Marketing report Forrester put out a report last week that showed that marketing budgets in large global companies are down 20% this year. Spending on TV, print, radio, magazines, and other branding and advertising is down a breathtaking 60%+. More contemporary channels like social computing and Web sites are seeing only modest cuts, with many companies reporting that they are actually increasing spending in those areas.

What should the CEO take away from this?

1) The report showed renewed focus on return on investment measures for marketing -- this is a healthy development that will help you post-recession. ROI analysis will eliminate, or at least minimize future marketing nonsense.

2) Social marketing is here to stay. It's time for you to understand it.

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The Gateway Recession: What CEOs Will Face Next

We’ll look back on this recession as much more than an ugly economic moment. History will view it as The Gateway — a portal connecting two very different eras.

When the economic clouds clear, many prevailing elites will have been swept away, organizational structures will have fallen, and many who were formerly in control will have lost power. Those who can speak digital will thrive, and those who cannot will finally get the message and retire.

The signs are everywhere. Post-Gateway players: Obama; Amazon; Zappos; Jet Blue; Twitter; Facebook; blogs; Craigslist; broadband; Wikipedia; DVRs and iTunes. Pre-Gateway: GM; The New York Times; the Republican party; shopping malls; print advertising; excessive executive pay; TV networks; boards of directors full of aging plutocrats; and the TV-centered Washington chattering classes. Like the US Civil War, which separated an agrarian society from an industrialized economy, or World War I — a death knell for many European elites — the Gateway Recession is exposing fundamental weaknesses in long-standing political, cultural, and economic institutions.

Here are the new challenges and rules that await CEOs on the other side of that door:

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CIOs to CEOs: "Stay out of tech."

Quickly: Some CIOs are still ambivalent about having the CEO involved in tech.

Content:  At the Forrester IT Forum in Las Vegas two weeks ago, I held a private dinner for 15 Chief Information Officers. We worked on the question: "How do you raise the tech IQ of your CEO?" 

I've always thought a CEO who knew tech would be welcomed by the CIO. But most of the CIOs at my dinner didn't agree. Here are some comments:

1) "The CEO should trust IT to get it right."

2) "CEOs are about making the company successful -- not on the minutiae of tech."

3) "The CEO is about results, not tech."

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Final results for Best American rock and roll band

OK, here are the final results of the poll. Let it be said that the readers of my blog have good taste, considering who they placed at number one...

1. Allmans
2. Dead
3. E Street Band
4. Doors
5. Ramones
6. Aerosmith
7. Replacements
8. Beach Boys
9. Velvet Underground
10. Phish
11. Talking Heads
12. The Band
13. ZZ Top
14. Metallica
15. REM

How can CEOs understand social technologies?

Twitter_logo_headerQuickly: The only way CEOs can understand social technologies is by using them.

Content: I've got bad news for you. You can't understand Twitter, Facebook, or blogging by reading an article in a magazine or a report from your CMO. Sure, they can tell you what they are, but you won't be able to truly understand how they could change your business unless you actually use them.

Social is like sex. It's fun to talk about and read about, but you can't truly comprehend unless you do it.

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Best American Rock and Roll Band -- Talking Heads, Ramones, Phish rising; new entrants: Byrds, Toto, Panic

The Dead keep getting votes, but so do the Allmans. The Ramones stay hot, as do the Doors.

Excellent comments to check out:

Beth quotes Jerry:  http://tinyurl.com/c9mgaw

Corey quotes Lou dissing Dead:  http://tinyurl.com/dn4nlh

Ryan writes in the Doors vein:  http://tinyurl.com/dfbbor

Here's the latest ranking:

Allmans
Dead
E Street Band
Doors
Ramones
Aerosmith
Replacements
Beach Boys
Velvet Underground
Phish
Talking Heads
The Band
ZZ Top
Metallica
REM
Nirvana
Guns N' Roses
Pearl Jam
Eagles
Black Crows
Creedence
CSN
Foo Fighters
Fugazi
Jefferson Airplane
Little Feat
NRBQ
Rush
Stooges
Tom Petty and Heartbreakers
White Stripes
Wilco
Sonic Youth
REM
Crazy Horse (Neil Young)
Clutch
Chili Peppers
Parliament/Funkadelic
Toto
The Byrds
Widespread Panic

Changing this blog to focus on CEOs

While this blog spent its first year as a place of general conversation, I am changing it to focus on CEOs. I am the CEO of a small public company but I often spend time with big company CEOs – the leaders of the organizations that Forrester advises. This blog will contain ideas, research, observations, and analysis pointed at increasing the success of CEOs. It will identify what CEOs must accomplish to improve the prospects for their organizations and increase their own personal effectiveness. It will help CEOs take unique approaches to their challenges – hence “The Counterintuitive CEO.” This is in keeping with Forrester’s role focus – the company goes to market helping 19 roles attain high performance.

To keep all of this from becoming too sterile and boring, I will also include some personal observations -- recommendations for books, articles, music, things I love and things I hate. My intention is to share information that may make you think counterintuitively…or simply take the edge off.

While I am targeting CEOs, all are welcome here…and I ask all to join in on the conversation. Ping me when I’m off-base and please add ideas and information to push the discussion to a more valuable plane. I’m honored to have you participate.

Best American Rock and Roll Band -- Dead surging; Allmans still # 1

The bands gaining ground include the E Street Band, Doors, Replacements, Ramones, and Beach Boys. New entries incude The Eagles, REM, and Sonic Youth.

My put-down in the original post has rallied the Dead supporters -- they are trying to move the Jerrys past the Brothers. Which reminds me of a most excellent rock and roll joke:

What did one Dead Head say to the other Dead Head when the drugs ran out? "This music sucks!"

Here's the latest ranking.

Allmans
Dead
E Street Band
Doors
Replacements
Beach Boys
Ramones
Aerosmith
The Band
ZZ Top
Metallica
Velvet Underground
Nirvana
Phish
REM
Guns N' Roses
Pearl Jam
Eagles
Black Crows
Creedence
CSN&Y
Foo Fighters
Fugazi
Jefferson Airplane
Little Feat
NRBQ
Rush
Stooges
Talking Heads
Tom Petty and Heartbreakers
White Stripes
Wilco
Sonic Youth
REM
Crazy Horse (Neil Young)
Clutch
Chili Peppers 

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