We often ascribe magical powers to individual executives, seeing them as the embodiment of progress. If they just put their mind to it, they can wake up complacent companies, rejuvenate aging innovators, recapture market dominance, and cure baldness.
Sometime they can. Often they can’t. No matter how hard Paul Ottelini tried, he could not revive Intel, or break through its PC mentality. Steve Ballmer was not able to change Microsoft from a dominant player in desktops and laptops to a dominant player in mobile. Carly Fiona did not rescue HP from decline. Eddie Lampert did nothing for Sears/Kmart. We like to believe in heroes and heroines. Disney has this effect on us. But in reality they often work within environments, internal and external, that shape outcomes more than the heroes and heroines themselves.
General Motors has a new chief, Mary Barra. …Read More →