Chip Bell to Tom Peters (12.20.2005): "If you were asked to be the keynote speaking coach to a new company CEO eager to do a great job, what is the one thing you would advise the CEO
to do (or not do)?"
TP: (A) Read 2 books. (1) Bossidy (& Charan) on execution ... Execution: The Discipline of Getting Things Done. Main takeaway: Bedrock #1 for corporate success is a "culture of execution." (FYI, Bob Nardelli did this brilliantly at Home Depot, despite pressure to do sexier stuff first.) (2) Read Lou Gerstner's book ... Who Says Elephants Can't Dance: Inside IBM's Historic Turnaround. Main takeaways: Listen first, then do vision no matter how high the pressure for a "scintillating vision." Also, you must tackle head-on the extant culture head; Gerstner reluctantly did this and did it well, but Carly Fiorina didn't at HP (she led with "vision").
(B) And: LISTEN! LISTEN! LISTEN! (The answers are already out there, typically among the most exercised and disenchanted.)
(C) And: COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! COMMUNICATE! (Esp: Keep the board informed of everything, especially hiccups!)
(D) And: Work proactively in every "little" which way, each and every day to "live" and "ooze" INTEGRITY! (Integrity begets trust which begets a good place to work which begets performance.)
(E) And: Remove or marginalize ASAP the career "career corporate politicians."
(F) And: "Do a GE": Elevate HR to the head table on the Right Hand of God, with great HR talent and an HR seat with equal power to that of the CFO. (Again, Nardelli did this spectacularly at Home Depot!)
Chip: "One thing" is cute ... but the above SIX are musts! Use all six of 'em, but do NOT feel free to choose "the best one"—SIX or naught!