@swardley on the impact of CEOs (… and scenario planning)

Interesting posting yesterday from Simon Wardley on his Bits or pieces blog.  As always, an excellent article.  I’m paraphrasing heavily, but Wardley makes that argument that, statistically, “strong” CEO’s (and by extension other senior managers and board members) do not disproportionately benefit a firm’s long term success.  He further argues that as a consequence, resistance against legislating more diversity on management and boards is specious.   I strongly agree that more diversity = better.  Some further analysis would help illustrate the connections, but it’s no matter.  On the question of diversity, he’s right.

With all that said, I found the most interesting bit buried in the middle, about the interplay of situational awareness and competition.  I’ve included his chart here for reference.   (Wardley’s “Awareness vs. Action” figure in the jump).

Favorite quote:  “Without … [scenario planning], strategic play appears to be more about copying others, gut feel, story telling and astrology than it is to chess.”  Outstanding.  Although, I might add “stubborn determination” as a strategic play for start-ups, turn-arounds and SMBs generally.

That leaves the question open, however, about how to efficiently apply those methods to much, much smaller organizations.  Can you?  If not, when does an org transition from gut feel and stubborn determination to something more… methodical?

Bits or pieces?: On the impact of CEOs.