“Leadership without Ego” gems — Week IV

Here is the 4th group of five little exceprts from Leadership without Ego by B. Davids, B. Carney & I. Getz (Palgrave MacMillan) in print Jan 2019.

“As the No. 2 person in your organization you have no chance to build the culture and lead the ‘fun.’ That is always the responsibility of the CEO. You can add fun in a major/minor way which will make you friends, but the No. 1 can kill a culture and fun with a single bad policy.”

“Sometimes I was embarrassed to be called CEO (hated being called boss as it implies dictatorship). When someone would call me the CEO, I would quip, ‘Yes, Chief Entertainment Officer’—building the culture and leading the ‘fun’.

“The CEO’s N°1 job is not protecting the business assets. It’s not profitability. It’s a human issue, which comes under auspices of morale: to build the culture that allows people to have freedom, work together and communicate together. That creates an environment where people can enjoy their own success and want to be there.”

“As a CEO, I would write to Robert Townsend—a Radica Games board member and chairman of the compensation committee—three documents every year: my resignation letter, executive compensation plan, and succession plan. I would give him my resignation letter and add, ‘All you have to do is take it out of your pocket and tell me you accept it.’”

“The last document Townsend demanded every year was a written succession plan: ‘If your airplane crashes, don’t make the board guess what we should do. Prepare it writing, one page. If you can’t put it in one page, you don’t understand the problem.’ I told him that if the problems were many I would add a second page. He said, ‘Put the important stuff on page one—I will not read page two.’”