Business Strategy: What Can We Learn From Xi?
“Xi does feel a sense of crisis… From Xi’s perspective, he believes his policies are correct, but the problem is they aren’t being implemented properly.”
—Wall Street Journal talking about China’s paramount leader
If only those fools would implement my policies everything would be fine! Perhaps I should “disappear” a few more!
When people refer to CEOs and say “its lonely at the top” they typically don’t mean that its lonely because the CEO has it all figured out, but his people just can’t execute. I guess when you are the “core” leader, General Secretary of the Communist Party and Chairman of the Central Military Commission with no term limits you might become a bit jaded.
Leadership at the CEO level requires both “leadership” (driving change), as well as “managing” (taming complexity). Brilliant ideas that cannot be executed are as worthless as Venezuelan currency.
If you are a CEO and have Xi’s perspective, you need term limits, psychotherapy, and a leadership training program.
CEO’s cannot only look at one side of the equation. As Xi’s more thoughtful countryman Sun Tzu said in “The Art of War” a few thousand years ago, “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
I’ve often encountered CEOs and consultants who quickly spout “It’s all about the execution!” Bullshit! Execute what? These are usually people who don’t know what strategy is and haven’t taken the time to actually develop one.
However, the CEO that believes he or she has all the right ideas but cannot get their people to execute (often an entrepreneurial founder who has not successfully run anything) is also full of crap. As a CEO you must concern yourself with both the ideas that drive the business and how those ideas get implemented—getting all of those people and resources aligned with the ideas.
Successful strategy plus excellent execution is the only formula for success.
Todd coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).