First Order Blog

High Potentials for CEO

The tenure for static CEO’s is nasty, brutish, and short. A CEO must be dynamic, and an organization must prepare for the next CEO.

49% of S&P 500 companies replaced a CEO in 2011, and 80% of those were promoted from within. For public companies, the position that supplies CEO’s are: 72% finance, 71% operations, 67% sales, 51% marketing, 35% engineering, 20% HR, 20% R&D, 6% IT.


The rate of change has changed! A growing popular term to describe our world is VUCA - Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous.

Your organization’s performance is dependent upon learning. Learning, like milk, has a shelf life. Your learning offerings and system requires flexibility and adaptability to be effective in the dynamic business market. Also, you should offer “just enough," as a learner in a VUCA environment is highly impatient and intolerant of too many options.

Social Technologies

50 Million Users gained over time:

Commercial Television - 13 years
Internet service providers - 3 years
Facebook - 1 year
Twitter - 9 months


Ken Conley from Ken Blanchard Company highlighted how trust is gained and lost.

Trust is Gained when one:

  • Is competent
  • Has track record of success
  • Is honest and ethical
  • Admits mistakes
  • Listens with intent to be influenced
  • Asks and receives feedback
  • Walks the talk – is consistent in word & deed
  • Follows "Do what you will say you will do"

Trust is Lost when one:

  • Does not follow through on commitments
  • Is Unorganized / unresponsive
  • Is Unfair / plays favorites
  • Does not recognize / reward other’s contributions
  • Hoards information

Performance Management

Bersin Research recently stated that the #1 high impact talent practice gap at most companies is performance management/coach. #3 is workforce planning (future talent gaps), and #4 was competency maintenance (understanding job capabilities).

Enterprise Resource Planning

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) systems are a comprehensive and complicated technology initiative implemented by companies in order to receive system-wide efficiencies by sharing common data across all business functions. These systems (Oracle and SAP are the largest 2) change the way people work/think/act by challenging the way they have previously done things.

Employees are naturally resistant to the imposed change. In order for the system implementation to be successfully launched, employees must buy into the importance of the initiative. To do this, the change team should:

Trade Offs...Competing Priorities

A corporate strategy is what you are going to do…as well as what you are not going to do. Resources are scarce, and a leader must make decisions on trade-offs between competing priorities.

Creating a Strategy

An executive survey found that strategy decisions were made when: 44% at regular planning cycle, 35% issues arise, 18% none, 3% don’t know (McKinsey).

Executives need to:

  • Increase the time spent regularly creating, reviewing and updating strategy;
  • Consider both a) internal corporate aspirations, and b) directional changes required due to external global forces;
  • Limit the number of issues addressed by doing a pragmatic prioritization, and then determining timing and sequencing of decision making;

Borderless Talent

The traditional geographic, national and time zone boundaries that created divisive silos are becoming smaller obstacles. Yet, this requires global Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) that account for regional dissimilarities. These accomplish:

  • Compliance – protect your company and people
  • Consistency – improve efficiency and well as cut costs
  • Capability – improve workforce performance

Does your organization have SOP’s to leverage borderless talent?

For community, collaboration, or contributions to the discussion, please click below.

Time Management

The average office worker spends 650 hours/year (28%) reading and writing emails. This results in about 41,400 words…or a 166 page novel. Wouldn’t it be better if this worker was writing in a company’s internal knowledge management / social media tool so that this time spent is not lost in an email inbox/ trash?