The Higher They Go, the Stupider They Get
Lou Gerstner is one of the best examples of a customer-centric CEO. If you're in management, and you haven't read his book, Who Says Elephants Can't Dance? you're missing a great read--and insight into what made him so successful. Before he came to IBM, he was an IBM customer, and a consultant to large companies. He knew the traps that CEOs can fall into. As a customer, he was fully aware of the stupid mistakes that managers make.
When he first started his job as the CEO of IBM, instead of calling a bunch of meetings with employees and analysts to discuss His Grand Strategy, he horrified college professors and reporters by saying that the last thing IBM needed at that point was another 'vision.' Worse, he spent the bulk of his first three months visiting customers. He continued to spend about 40% of his time talking to customers during his tenure at IBM. How many CEOs can say they do that?
And I'm not talking about spending time with big-ticket prospects, closing the deal. When the CEO is acting as the company's Top Salesperson, the customers he's talking to will be just as cagey and close-mouthed as they are with their regular salesperson. The CEO won't learn anything useful in that situation.
Looking for the latest in product and data science? Get our articles, webinars and podcasts.