Straight From The Ceo Straight from the CEO A Review of the Literature (Dauphinais and Price, 1998) The minds of CEO’s are, in aggregate, a tremendous center of power in society. Upon these minds – how they tick, how they prioritize, how they view the vectors of change depends on the transmission of know-how, technology, capital, and jobs. In addition, as globalization increases, the socioeconomic impact of their thoughts becomes all the greater (p. 15). This book provides a broad cross sample of the global CEO population. Insightful interviews have been collected, which contain lessons from both the brawny companies that have been forced to reinvent themselves, as well as from some of the brainy upstarts that needed to be rather unconventional to gain access to the global playing field.
CEO’s of top world corporations tell how they handle globalization, customer service, motivation, leadership and other management issues. Gone is the day of the stern looking, tight lipped, antisocial dark suit who sits positioned in the large corner office secured by twelve foot walnut doors with gold handles. Today’s workers demand involvement and interaction from upper management, no longer do the baby boomers see fit to have P and L figures discussed between upper management only. In order to be a successful CEO in today’s society you must be able to demonstrate an understanding of the dynamics of value enhancement, to be aware of opportunities and to exploit them. The future and success of the company depends on how you view the company and how your employees view you. A CEO’s understanding can have no limits, adapting to change is just a small step in dealing with the organizations future.
When we discuss change we have to keep in mind that, the largest of corporations feel the pressures of change on a global level, competing with our global trading partners such as Japan, China, and Europe. In order to be global a corporation must be able to compete on a worldwide basis and to do this manager’s must be able to think globally. Percy Barnevik of ABB Asea Brown Boveri Ltd comments: Global managers are not born-they must be developed (p. 40). Developing managers in global thinkers has to start with understanding of the differences between U.S.
and the international culture. For example, several months ago a potential client came to town and of course we wanted to leave an impressionable opinion by having lunch at the new Japanese restaurant that everyone in town raved about. The meeting with the client was extremely successful but she was a little uncomfortable with the waiter standing beside our table throughout the entire lunch just in case we required any additional service. Noticing the client’s apprehension towards discussing details of her business, I pulled the waiter to the side and asked if would simply check back every fifteen minutes or so to see if we needed anything. That is when the waiter informed me that it was customary for him to stand by our table and wait otherwise it is considered very poor service.
This little incident would not have broken our deal, but it does give strong indications of how the Japanese view customer service as compared to the U.S. OshKosh B’Gosh, Inc. CEO Douglas Hyde’s view on customer service: We have always treated our customer service as an extension of our commitment to value and quality. At OshKosh B’Gosh we believe that the customer is always right, and we implement this philosophy in all customer service issues, including any and all complaints from customers (p. 307). Customer service is the guts of the business as Chris Braccia the Vice President of Marketing at First County bank would say.
Businesses thrive off customer satisfaction, a satisfied customer means a returning customer. A majority of a corporation’s time and money is used appeasing and researching customers likes and dislikes. CEO’s of the top corporations feel customer service should never be taken lightly, developing a strong relationship with your client base will only lead to a prosperous future. A large part of developing a loyal customer service base deals with motivating your employees to having the corporation’s views on customer service. If your employees do not have the same sense of loyalty to the customer as management does it leads to unstable relationship.
The impression the employee personifies is a reflection of how the customer views the corporation. Pep Boys motivates its employees on customer service by handing out week long vacations to the top twenty five employees with the most exceptionally friendly response cards. Stew Leonard’s acknowledges their commitment to customer service by having its employees follow one simple rule The customer is always right which is posted on a large stone upon entering the store. From CEO’s of large corporations to the owners of the mom and pop stores customer service is the focal point to which they measure success. The leaders of these organizations emphasize customer satisfaction and their willingness to satisfy the customers needs. Rue and Byars (1997) describe leadership as the ability to influence people to willingly follow one’s guidance or adhere to one’s decision (p. 294).
It is the CEO’s responsibility to communicate company’s message. Communication is greatly facilitated when the message is simple, powerful, and logical. Communication is also greatly facilitated when all the company’s actions can be viewed in a consistent framework. This is achieved by each employee having a clear understanding of the company’s mission and what each employees responsibility towards achieving the company’s mission. Leadership, wrote historian James MacGregor Burns two decades ago, is one of the most observed and least understood phenomena on earth.
In conclusion, I’d like to summarize beliefs of the authors G. William Dauphinais and Colin Price, editors of Straight from the CEO: Never take an organization at face value-look beneath the hood to see if the raw material of human potential is there. Remember, it’s the customer who pays your salary and everyone else’s. Embed customer service and accountability to customers at all levels of the organization. Know the strengths and limits of your organization. Don’t over-reach: don’t promise subordinates or customers what you can’t deliver. Keep your strategy simple.
Don’t overintellectualize. Leave exotic management ideas to business schools and consultants p. 140. It is no secret about the objectives of serving the customer and making a profit. I’m sure nearly everyone has been to the meeting where the CEO or some other top level executive addresses the troops in an attempt to rally them to do better.
Our customers are revolting! They are demanding more for less. They want world class products and services. They want it all and they want it now. If we can’t provide what they want, they will find some one who can. Customer loyalty is a myth formed in the mist of our distant past. We must be closer to our customers then ever.
We must provide great customer service. I will bet that some version of this speech has been made at every company in America, success begins and ends with the customer. References G. W. Dauphinais & C.
Price (1997) Straight From The CEO p. 15,40,140,307 Rue, L. & Byars, L. (1997) Management Skills and Application p. 294 Business Essays.