Only a few decades ago, the people at the top of companies were called Managing Directors, now they have morphed into C.E.Os, and are expected to perform on a global stage. There is relentless scrutiny on what they do from shareholders, media and government (Tarpin 2006, p56). The change in the environment in which CEOs have to perform has necessitated a re-think of the whole experience of management and all the tenets that go into the successful running of a corporation. Among these are the decision-making process, managing information technology and picking up good examples from others and integrating them within the organization. In an age with so many pressures, is it realistic to have one person to be the face of a company or the one making all the decisions? There is no clear answer to this question. Different approaches have to be applied. In recent times, organizations have become ‘too big to fail’ it is unrealistic that all the important decisions must be made by a single individual. It should be the case that an organization has several other people in its middle and upper ranks who are as knowledgeable as the leader of the organization so as to spread the burden of decision making. One of the renowned investors of worldwide, Warren Buffett once said that ‘every quarter a CEO is expected to land a 747 on a runway and have it come naturally to a stop six inches from a dime’. That is enough to demonstrate the high expectations CEOs are expected to fulfill. On the other hand, the case for iconic organizations being led by iconic individuals cannot be disputed. Steve Jobs is a good example. He alone is credited with making Apple the largest consumer electronic goods manufacturer. Ken Hopper in his book The Puritan Gift states that decisions are best made collectively. He refers to the collectivization of decision making as forming a kind of ‘fellowship’. The leader makes the ultimate call, but they have to come down and seek the opinion of members of the ‘fellowship’ before arriving at the final solution. (Hopper 2005, p64) As a result, organizations need no more be pyramidic structures but more of networks. The leader at the top of an organization does not have to be accountable for all the good and all the bad of the organization. Leaders should use the collective wisdom of the company, and even be ready to admit they do not know what a situation demands. They should collectively think and collectively approach an issue (Schermerhorn 2004, p40). This is a concept that traditional management could run a mile from, but as recent failure has shown us, new and radical approaches to management need to be explored. The decision-making process is not the only aspect of management that a leader of an organization engages. In today’s computer age, there is a torrent of information, all of which is demanding the organization’s leader attention. Vast organizations are being built on information to the extent that a few individuals view it as a currency or as a building block for a new economy. So, is too much information a promise or a threat? Well, that is part of what the leader of the organization has to determine. The catchphrase ‘information technology’ has really caught on, but it’s a fairly recent phenomenon.
The CEO Management