Reimagining the CEO.

Author:Gutierrez, Santiago
Position:Interview
 
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Leadership in the future will require new skills, and above all, a new way to think about the role of leaders. That was the message conveyed by Dominic Barton, the global managing director of the consulting firm McKinsey 8c Co., in his conversation with Latin Trade.

Barton has many reasons to know what's coming. He has advised thousands of companies in a 28-year career that took this Uganda-born Canadian to lead the Asia operation of the consulting powerhouse, and currently, to the head of the organization, where he has been since 2009. He also made it a goal to speak with two CEOs daily, to get first-hand knowledge about their needs and to learn what keeps them awake.

In his experience, shoulder board-based leadership is very much out of fashion in the corporate world. He said that the days when you could have a CEO who would say: "we're going this way," and everyone moved, are over. "You have to influence people, convince people, and move people in the direction they want. To align people is a difficult skill," he said. "We are in a world of tremendous change, some of the biggest we have seen in 300 years. We should be positive, there are huge opportunities, but I think we are all going to have to lead differently to make that work, to be able to ensure that we get through the 21st century."

DO YOU THINK THAT GOOD CEOS SHOULD HAVE MORE THAN ONE MANAGEMENT STYLE? MUCH LIKE A GOLFER, HAVE IN HIS BAG A DIFFERENT CLUB FOR DIFFERENT SECTIONS AND CONDITION OF THE COURSE?

I do think it is good to have diverse styles and approaches to dealing with different issues--if it is a crisis, or you're trying to inspire people to do something, or you're trying to build consensus. These require different management leadership approaches or skills, to be able to get it done. But at the same time, I do not think you can be inauthentic. If you are not a tough person, to act like you are a tough person would have people just say: 'this is a joke, we know he is not going to do anything on that front.' Using those different clubs is a good thing to do, assuming it fits within your general approach. I don't see why someone cannot get mad sometimes, or frustrated (that's a management style: frustration), use humor, or just ask questions. These are tools that can be used, but if they're not authentic in the sense of what you're like as a character, they won't be effective.

BUT IS THERE A STYLE THAT CAN BE ASSOCIATED WITH STARK OVER-PERFORMERS?

There are many...

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