CEO’s and Employee Engagement – how can you predict how CEO’s will engage.

The CEO and employee relationship is key to unlocking value and economic success. But yet we recruit ” guessing ” on one meeting how they will really behave in situ. Thats really not good enough is it- relying on Human Resources to analyse a persons inner bias and prejudices.

So many companies churn their director team; for me CEO and CFO jobs should come with a safety warning as churn in these roles is huge, the average shelf life being 18 months to 4 years.  That may be for several reasons but interpersonal skills are at the heart of most ” parting of the ways”.

Todays’ public outburst then huge climb down by Uber’s C.E.O. Travis Kalanik shows both he picked on the wrong guy but also he really did not want to hear alternate ,on the ground perspectives. Life as far as he was concerned was good – no one should rain on his parade- he made this huge success right!… etc.. etc… Inner Bias on show for all to see.

So today has seen much commentary on why CEO’s can be poor with people/challenge and whilst not generically true; it has the hallmarks of many a CEO [ unfortunately] we have seen paraded before us .. BHS ?? amongst others.

On radio, TV and websites , seems there lots of people stepping forward today with views, analysis and explanation. Here’s one author[ I have quoted before ] who studies this “cognitive dissonance” :i.e. purposefully [consciously or more often unconsciously] distancing themselves from fact, emotion, alternate perspectives and particularly being challenged ; to stay safely inside their own paradigm of right and wrong.

Such companies often head like lemmings for the cliff edge….Margaret Heffernan has studied companies such as Enron who went the same way.We all have our own experiences of witnessing command cultures [ Emperor Nero complex my executive coaching friend calls it]

In her book Wilful Blindness she explores how in certain industries are prone to such behaviour, such as software; an industry in which she had personal success.

Whilst many didn’t start as CEO , or founder, this behaviour seems to embed over the years as whats on offer in that role increases and there the degree of protectionism increases by individuals.

For those of you who read regularly you will know this behavioural economic bias is something I am researching in my Phd.And hopefully , a test which tries to predict an individuals bias and true decision making style will flow from this.

Meanwhile , when we recruit, we are still guessing who will be the behaviour of others ; Time to get a grip on that don’t you think?



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