Thursday, September 06, 2007


Had my first exec board meeting over the last few days. It was an interesting affair, and I particularly loved watching the interactions. Many things I didn’t expect, and many I did.

This was a somewhat staged affair, but they always are. It started late one afternoon, then went late in the evening (one of our august body had to fly in from Singapore). Then restarted early the next morning so another of us could fly off again. The things you have to schedule for are intense, and above all anything to do with a client takes precedence.

Various people were wheeled in and out to do short or sometimes overly long presentations. Lots of talking and even a few decisions (those these where surprisingly few and far between). To a certain extent they don’t call them board meetings for nothing. Everyone in that room was a superb talker, its how you get to that point. I don’t mean that facetiously (well, not totally), but senior management in the end is about two things, thinking and people.

You can have the thinking, but not be a good manager. You can be excellent at people and not be a good manager. It takes that combination of both, a bright mind and an ability to express your thoughts and take people with you that matters. Everyone in that room was good at both. It helps if you’re also good at humanity, but sadly its not a requirement, and far too few seem to have that.

So, though boredom was an underlying theme, there were topics that made everyone sit up. That was the fun bit, when we got into debate or argument. A number of foundation stones for remaking the company where set down yesterday. I’m glad (very) to say that I disagree with none of them. They were exciting foundation stones, ones about new capabilities and changing how people work without mass redundancies and restructure.

The trick now will be to make it happen, and make money out of it. I’m supremely confident at this point, particularly about my bits, but its going to be a hard slog. That however, is what makes it fun!


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