As the world of organisations keeps revolving and evolving, the apex, or top management, appears to be taking major hits from new trends. In the latest appearing trend, the CEO, an idol of power and great respect in organisations, seems to be losing its power. A recent study by the Wall Street Journal concluded that the CEO is just but a person who can afford the looks to appear more competent than others.” Ouch! How true is this?
As leadership evolves, new styles of management have been sprouting as old ones fade away. Power is being devolved to almost everyone in an organisation, replacing the system where one person takes all the credit for impressive work and blames everyone else for negative occurrences. It seems this encroaching system is pushing out CEOs, owing to the massive departures seen since 2011. Well over 1,200 CEOs of mega organisations have departed, paving way for devolution of management and responsibilities.
Leaderless organizations, or organizations without CEOS, are actually proving that a CEO is no longer necessary. For instance, the largest tomato processing industry in the world, Morning Star, did away with the CEO post. They apply a “contract-style” agreement with their employees where everyone is entitled to a form of expectation and responsibility. If they meet the agreement conditions, they’re rewarded accordingly. In this way, everyone is a CEO of their own.
Cost-effectiveness is another factor driving out the need for CEOs particularly with e-commerce going viral. E-commerce means automation of organizational activities. As anyone would know, automation means robots executing human roles such as marketing, processing sales and accepting payments. Millions of such activities happen every second of the day. In the light of this, since a CEO is all about managing workers, they have no one to oversee as robots (automation) rarely need supervision. Concisely, the finances previously reserved for them are saved or diverted to activities that support organizational growth.
To some extent, CEOs, especially in new organisation, have been perceived to cause poor performance. This is because a CEO who had been used to handing things in a routine at their previous organisation is likely to drag their old habits with them. When this residue finds its way into a new organisation, problems that are common with older organisations begin to grow. This is because the CEO, usually at the helm of business, influences every other aspect of an organisation.
On the contrary, if an organisation uses a collective approach of leadership from within, it avoids the issue of transferred complications and/or outdated business approaches. In a more realistic approach, if a CEO is fired after the poor performance or collapse of an organisation, what happens if they move to a new job, holding the same post? Chances are that the new organisation is very likely to suffer the fate of the previous organisation.
Collectively, these facts point to one conclusion: that the CEO system of leadership is wearing out fast. In the next two decades, CEOs might only exist in history books: rendered unnecessary by time.