Wednesday, May 18, 2016
What the CEO really wants from you
Everybody wants to be a leader. Let’s also accept that most of us (from the corporate world) aspire to occupy the C-suite, the corner office. There are lot of books, articles explaining how to be a great leader or how to be a CEO. But not many books are there explaining what it takes to be a great follower, a great subordinate (before you move to the top-most rung of the ladder). To end up as a boss, you first need to be a great subordinate. Deserve, before you desire. Right?
Mr. R. Gopalakrishnan (with 45 years of top-notch industry experience with executive leadership roles like Vice Chairman at Hindustan Lever Ltd & Director at Tata Sons) addresses this gap in his book ‘What the CEO really wants from you’. He has used anecdotal style to share his management wisdom which helps readers connecting easily than a pedagogical/HBR case-study approach we find in many management tomes.
Forewords by Paul Polman (CEO Unilever), Management Guru Ram Charan and Adobe CEO, Shantanu Narayen provide the perfect start to the book. As Paul Polman puts it succinctly, “He has provided a refreshing and distinctive approach. The book explores the many ways in which to build that essential foundation of trust between leaders and managers”.
Mr. Gopalakrishnan uses the word CEO to convey the many seniors who influence your work and career. It is not just the immediate person you work for. It includes other seniors (most important being manager of your manager) with whom you interact and who form a view or judgement about you as a manager. Understanding and responding to what the CEO wants from you is very important to your success and career. The build the case, author articulates the asymmetry of expectations; subordinates expect a lot from bosses but they don’t think much of boss’ needs or what they owe the company or boss. He expounds his unique framework of 4 As; Accomplishment, Affability, Advocacy, Authenticity in a flowing manner.
Even though the book is replete with examples and references from the FMCG/Manufacturing industry, it is equally applicable for any other industry (including IT industry) as well. (Since ultimately it boils down to people interaction / people dynamics no matter which industry you work in)
Personally I feel the book is a ‘must-read’ for any management professional. A couple of things resonated well and I felt like those are the areas where some course correction is needed from yours truly. (As the author uses the Delphi inscription, ‘know thyself’!)
In fact, it is the first management book I finished in a day so yes, I can call it unputdownable! :-)