CEOs and the Magic Circle

Posted by on Oct 7, 2008 in Uncategorized | One Comment


Pic of the great Ali Bongo

Interesting piece here about CEO performance which is worth having a think about.

Essentially, CEO's are seen to do well if the company does well and somehow – often retrospectively – we link their actions with the company doing well

Thing is for companies, brands and people – success in a complex system often has very little to do with what the company, brand or person does: it's mostly other factors (like the economy, what competitors do or don't do etc etc). And bugger all to do with the CEO.

This is why CEO remuneration is vastly inflated: we imagine they are magicians who can make the system work differently than it does…

"Izzy, whizzy, let's get busy/go back to core business/look for new markets etc etc"

PS if you work in marketing or any aspect of business, ask yourself: is your programme or campaign really the thing that makes the difference or is it the stuff beyond your control? Are you just lucky? And what are your incantations?

1 Comment

  1. Dan Thornton
    October 7, 2008

    I work in marketing, and have asked myself that question a lot – particularly as I specialise in dealing with communities and social media!
    I think it’s a balance between what can be controlled in creating a campaign or brand, and what is outside our control.
    The main question is what percentage is assigned to each side, and whether I’m doing the best I can to optimise my side of the scales to have the best chance at being picked up and carried by the outside forces.
    As for incantations, mine is something along the lines of
    ‘superusergivingvalueattracting theprecocious’ (It’s still a work in progress)
    Really the magical thing is in seeing what happens when something is in the wild, and debating whether it’s something rational or completely irrational etc!