« The Journey begins with a single ... post | Main | How Executives Fail: Tasting Surefire Recipe #1 »

Comments

Tom

Lee,

If by test for greed, you mean to screen out the greedy, I think some form of the greed and competitiveness Munger talks about may well be essential to achievers. What I would hope to discover in a candidate is a deeply held belief that the best way for the CEO to succeed long-term is for the organization to succeed.

Then we can hire you to show him/her how to do that!

So maybe what we'd want to test for is long-term vs. short-term focus?

Tom

Lee Thayer

Tom, that's part of it.

But when the wife wants a new house, some "principles" may give way. Also, people lie to those they want something from. But the higher they go, the better they get at deceiving people. This, in turn, comes form the fact that they deceive themselves. So the test is...?

The Chinese said that decisions should be good for 7 generations (American Indian, 5). Who do you know who makes decisions with those impacts in mind?

Lee

Tom

Lee,

I guess we have to test the wife, too. (Probably illegal, but ...)

Generational thinking ... profound concept. Even when the Chinese and Native Americans were touting it, though, things changed. Now things change enormously within one generation. Can we use the multi-generation impact ideal as other than a moral reminder for decisions that we know will need constant mid-course adjustment as the target(s) themselves frequently move, disappear, change? As you say, maybe just something to always keep "in mind" as we move ahead.

Among the things that change are people. I'd not want to expect, or bet the business on, any test that purported to tell for sure how the candidate would act in the future. Past performance may be some indicator, but ...

Maybe we just need to hire you to do the interviewing?

The Thayer Test. A whole new line of consulting work for you!

And/or another book!

Tom

Lee Thayer

Tom,

Yeah, yeah. We continue to suffer from the idea of "evolution," which of course neither the Chinese or the Native Americans had. The Polynesians though that non-change was the constant!

We don't know where we're going, but we can be in a hurry to get there.

Lee

Tom

Lee,

Well, I doubt any of those cultures would have much success in business today, if they clung to the "non-change" belief. They'd end up like the folks who ran the vinyl record manufacturing companies and didn't see any reason to learn to make CDs.

You can't really be advocating business leaders should pretend their customers, markets, and products/services won't change. Can you?

Tom

Lee Thayer

OK, Tom. To your last comment:...or, they might end up working only 2 hours a day, if that's the way their world functions. We wouldn't fare any better in their world than they would in ours. We're "truth-seekers" (as a result of our modern belief in "evolution"). They were "truth-keepers."
It seems altogether plausible that "leadership," another very modern concept, got invented in order to have someone in charge. It is a term that has no equivalent in Native American languages, for example. Isn't it always the case that the more universal a worldview is, the more likely the world will be that way. Has that changed?
Back to the CEO issue: Greed is not a qualification for leadership, in my view. And yes, the measure of leadership is how well it served the best interests of ALL of the stakeholders, or constituents, even of the civilization, which was the point about how far out the consequences of decisions are considered.
There seems to be little or no correlation between CEO pay and organizational performance. That's ultimately a cultural issue, not a psychological one. We are a legalistic society (as opposed to, for example, a "moral" society). Our culture doesn't say that getting rich by any means is all that wrong, does it?

The comments to this entry are closed.

Enter your email address:

Delivered by FeedBurner

The Leader's Bookshelf

Blog powered by Typepad