So the FT reckons companies just need CEOs with “experience”, not strategic competence. Business leaders, politicians, strategy consultants and business schools have been wringing their hands since the 2008 crash (which was not just about banks), asking how on earth we got into such a mess. The article says no-one saw the recession coming, but fails to note that the corporate sector itself actually created the problem – as it has most other recessions.
The Strategic Planning Society got a meeting together back in March at Said Business School to see if there is some way to make the practice of strategy more professional, but the FT already decided this is a bad idea, citing examples of top execs appointed because of their experience alone. This hardly accounts for the endless procession of CEOs, appointed for exactly that experience, who end up getting fired for messing up the strategy of their companies. And these are just the tip of a huge iceberg of lesser failures that are never reported.
We also know from endless studies that most senior executives have little confidence in their own strategy, many cannot articulate what it is, and most of those below them share their scepticism. Any effort to inject some basic skills into corporate management would seem to be welcome – and we might just end up with fewer Goodwins leading corporations to disaster.