Big pay package, perks aplenty, hobnob with the famous… who wouldn’t want to be a CEO? And there is no shortage of wannabes and/or scoundrels among the CEO ranks. But I’ve been around a large number of CEOs and one can tell the good from the bad pretty quickly. And today I stumbled across a symbol for the downside (and I’m big on symbols).
I was just trolling around the net and found a stunning site [ed: stunning has many meanings, here I mean it literally — knock your socks off, take your breath away]. The site is CEOExpress, and it defines for me the problem with many CEOs today.
Open CEOExpress‘s front page [ed: go ahead, I’ll wait]. Just the front page, no need to go further. If you can breathe again, let me know. My immediate response was “holy cow!” (ok, I lied, see this post). My second response was that this is the perfect symbol for all the bad CEOs I know.
Half of you know exactly what I mean, the other half are saying “what? what’s the problem?” The problem is that both the webmaster and the CEOs who like this page need a double dose of ritalin. There must be 200 links on this page, all lumped into some random collection of categories. There are moving graphics, headline tickers, and ads aplenty. It’s so busy, it’s hard to even focus.
But worse is the tag line: “connecting busy executives to information that matters”. That’s only true if the information that matters is all the information on the entire internet. There’s no discretion here. No attempt to separate the wheat from the chaff. Oh, OK, some links have little symbols next to them, but really, it’s just a massive link page. It’s just a “business porn portal”. For me it’s a symbol of the bad CEO because it’s just as scattered, unfocused, and random as the worst CEOs I know.
You see, the best CEOs have a vision for their company. They have decided what’s important and what’s not, and they hone in on that vision. They repeat it constantly, they work toward it daily, they focus other people on it rigorously. And they reject chaos, interruptions, and distractions. Sure they are busy, yes they get interrupted, and of course to an outsider they look like they are a chicken with their head cut off. But the reality is the opposite. They are focused and guided by their vision.
The last thing they would want is a web page like CEOExpress. If an employee walked in their office and started being as random as this web site, they would be fired on the spot. That’s what makes it the perfect symbol for the bad CEO.