Creating shareholder wealth is absolutely crucial to organizations, but the way that is done is by establishing organizational structures and working practices that enable every employee to be the very best he or she can be.
To accomplish that, CEOs have to do three things extremely well. First, they have to continuously reduce the level of bureaucracy and control in organizations so that individuals have more capacity to act in an independent way. With the rise of technology in particular and of Generations X and Y in general, there’s going to be a huge push
on CEOs to liberate the internal workings of the organization.
Second, CEOs really have to look with fresh eyes at the “contract” between the individual and the company. Over the next decade, we should strive to make work – which for most of us is the major institution of our lives and what we spend most of our time doing – more pleasurable, and more fitting to the individual’s aspirations. We need to bring more choice to it.
The third part of the CEO’s role, and probably the most important one, is to communicate to every single employee in the organization a sense of purpose – a sense of what the organization is there to achieve. The “empowerment movement” of the 1980s failed primarily because people were given a lot of liberty but no clear sense of what they were supposed to be achieving.