Do you admire the person who seems to be able to make seemingly difficult decisions quickly and easily? Not only does he do that, but it always seems that he’s right? Do you know someone like that personally? Are you that person?
Why do I get the impression that many people are content to become specialists in their own niches and leave the higher-level thinking to someone else? Do you know some people like that? Is that the current reality? If so, are we satisfied with it?
I have an answer for you. The strategically-minded person I was talking about at the start has one thing going for him. Knowledge tempered by wisdom and experience. His own experience and the experience of others. He is learning all the time, and he constantly questions his assumptions to see if they are still valid and relevant.
There is a cry today for CEOs who have had experience as General Managers. People who have worked in different areas of their industry and who have acquired skills and competencies that are extremely portable, greatly prized regardless of industry or trade. Too many CEOs today have come up through their specialist silos and find themselves in a situation where they do not even know what to ask when the mantle of Chief Executive is thrust upon them. I do not say that someone who has been in Finance all his life would not be able to become a highly effective CEO. What I do say is that someone who has been in Finance all his life, or Operations, or Logistics, or Marketing, seems to have a tendency to employ only those specialist skill sets when he gets to the corner office. Either we ensure that people in all specialties are made wise as they continue to work with us, or we need to cross-post deliberately to make sure they get a sufficiently broad base of exposure. Cross-Department mentoring is a good policy to implement.
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