I was reading a recent issue of Fast Company magazine that featured an article on Cisco CEO John Chambers and the success he’s had with that company. But in the middle of the article, a quote from Ron Ricci, VP of Cisco really stood out: “I think that culture is really a reflection of the CEO personality. Collaboration works, but only if it’s what the CEO believes.” Ron is right – over and over I’ve seen organizations with vibrant teams doing original work; but without a CEO, pastors, or other leader who buys into the ideas, it doesn’t go anywhere.
I know of one major media ministry right now that has a team of people wanting to do innovative work – but the Pastor is stuck in traditional thinking. The bottom line is that if you’re an employee, do everything you can to get the CEO to catch the vision – even if that means letting him or her think it’s their idea. Otherwise you’re simply hitting your head against a wall.
If you’re a CEO or other leader, then LEAD. Set the vision. Be the innovator. The personality of the CEO or leader is powerfully connected to the culture of the organization. Like it or not, that’s reality.