“The CEO is not always right”

“You are getting bolder as you grow older, is it?” quipped Prasna** when I finished typing the headline.

“Well, you can say that. However the man who says this emphatically is Richard Branson, in an article I read recently.” (Click here http://goo.gl/Ffvo1 to read the full article)

“So what is special about this article?”

“He has some down-to-earth advice for CEOs.  Especially when things go wrong. What is interesting for me is to read about the fears of a CEO. He talks about the fear of embarrassment and how that prevents bosses from doing there jobs properly.”

“If you are a CEO which of his points will appeal to you most?”

Here are the 9 points things that appealed to me.

1. If your business is disappearing, face your  team and start looking into what is going on- sooner the better

2. Leave the safety of your office and sample the product and service yourself. Try the competition’s products and services too.

3. When you have uncovered the problem, get the right people working to fix it.

4. Be honest,be blunt, talk straight, own up your mistake. Explain what solution you have now come up with along with your team. Explain what you want now from your people.

5. Don’t hold back information. Don’t pass the blame. Don’t play games.

6. People do not expect leaders to be infallible; they expect them to make informed decisions.

7. Don’t make the beginner’s mistake of firing those responsible when things go wrong in implementation.

8. Innovation is about change – adapt to changing circumstances when things don’t work out the way you expected.

9. When things go wrong, take the hit on your chin, and move on. Just move forward. Don’t live in the past.

“Why did these points appeal to you so much?”

“Because I know that when you try something new, things may not happen exactly as planned. Sometimes things fail too.If we treat these set backs as speed-breakers rather than failures, a lot more innovations can benefit organisations. More than anything else Branson makes the CEO’s role abundantly clear in the context of making innovations happen. Especially when the CEO makes a mistake and things go wrong. His points are razor sharp and make a lot of sense.”

Isn’t this piece adapted from his latest  book ‘Business Stripped Bare’ ?   Have you read the book ?”

“Yes, it is. No I have not read the book yet. But I will; sooner than later. I think I can learn a lot about what can go wrong with implementing an innovative idea and what to do about it.”

**Prasna Rao is an unusual friend. He appears every time I start writing something. He is almost always there when I am writing my blog. He asks questions that are razor sharp and often makes me uncomfortable. He is relentless till I answer his questions in simple, clear terms. You might find that he is most of the times asking questions that you want to. Therefore he is on your side, while he is putting me in the dock. I call him my Uninvited Coach




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