Wednesday, February 18, 2009

CEOs competent? Read this.

I have to leap in, responding to the comment thread about empty cities.

To the commenter who speculated that CEOs' jobs should be the ones automated, you've got to love this Time magazine piece looking at scientific experiments that find that -- guess what? -- the people who are likely to be rated as competent sometimes aren't at all. What they are is talkers. A tidbit:

"Dominant individuals behaved in ways that made them appear competent," the researchers write, "above and beyond their actual competence." Troublingly, group members seemed only too willing to follow these underqualified bosses. An overwhelming 94% of the time, the teams used the first answer anyone shouted out — often giving only perfunctory consideration to others that were offered.

And yes, Ken Lewis is eligible for the $500,000 salary cap, say our banking experts. Most of the cap applies to companies that take bailout money going forward, but B of A is in a special category, they say.


Anonymous said...

I wonder how much of this is cultural?

It seems to me that this style of "leadership" is very American (and perhaps Australian), but may not translate well to every culture (especially Asian cultures).

Americans may even dominate other culture's leaders through their brashness, but eventually it seems that actual skill levels do surface and make the less skilled appear foolish.

I think this is starting to happen with this current economic crisis.

The rest of the world is starting to see that a lot of American leaders are blowhards without much to back their bravado.

Basically, they got where they are with a good bit of luck and once they have power are good at keeping it (through whatever means), but not necessarily competence.

Anonymous said...

I agree with the first poster and would include politicians. Many agree with someone who talks b*s until that person is found to be incompetent. It is happening now on the national scene.

Cut Out The Fat said...

It will be even easier to outsource our political leaders in favor of computerized intelligent software. Can you imagine the savings? And we’d not have to worry about the incompetent alpha-male (or female) attempting to dominate the decision-making process.

Type “I want to invade Iraq because it has weapons of mass destruction” on the keyboard. The first response from the computerized president, senator or congressperson will likely be “Show me the evidence before we can proceed”.

Need to decide how much tax money to dole out for recovery in a recession? Put the question to the computer. The logic chart built into the software will probably respond with this message: “First spend just $10 million on a clearly defined project. Then measure the results and present it to me before potentially wasting nearly a trillion dollars.”

Bill Gates and Steve Jobs, we need you!