I say yes. It's takes a talented, unique individual to meet the core qualities of a top leader:
- Top leaders make tough decisions. They know that authoritative does not mean authoritarian. They allow their teams to do their jobs, but know when to stop the wheel-spinning and make some final decisions to keep the ship (organization) moving forward.
- Top leaders perform admirably under extreme pressure. This doesn't mean that they are flawless when times get tough. But they remain sensitive to the priorities and concerns of their stakeholders (employees, customers, investors, partners, and society) and keep their needs in mind while working diligently to confront threats and tough issues.
- Top leaders are responsive and responsible. They don't spin their wheels or defer blame. They know that the buck stops with them. They don't have to state it, because all of their stakeholders can see it in their actions. They take quick action and focus on the tasks needed to get results.
- Top leaders imbue every action with integrity. Their actions align with their words. They are open and transparent when they can be. When being transparent could threaten the results they need, they state that loud and clear. They don't lie or tell half truths to appease their stakeholders. They act as if they are being watched at all times, because they are.
The question everyone should be asking is, "Is this organization getting its money worth for what it's paying its CEO?"
In the case of Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, the answer is no.
I cannot claim that all of the media sources I have checked are without bias, but Tony's own words sum it up. On May 31, 2010, he stated in an interview, "I would like my life back." I hate to tell you Tony, but in times of crisis, the crisis is your life. That's why you were paid the big bucks when there were no global crises to face. Until the families who lost loved ones in the explosion have been consoled, until the flow of oil into the gulf is zero, and until the sheen on the water, the underwater oil plumes, and the goo in the marshes are non-existent, this is your life.
A CEO and other top leaders cannot foresee every crisis. But they should be prepared to make tough decisions, perform under pressure, be responsive and responsible, and act with integrity. If I were Tony Hayward, I would have locked my leadership team and top consultants in a room with a four-day deadline to evaluate and exhaust all the pros and cons every possible solution to containment and cleanup. We would eat ramen noodles and nap on cots in between strategy sessions until the decisions we made were bringing long term results with a solid positive outcome. No one would grumble, because all of the top leaders on my team would know that is what is expected of them when times get tough. They would know that we're in this together and none of us would rest until solutions were found. Why? That's what top leaders would do. And that's why my top leaders and I would expect to be making millions of dollars in compensation each year. If we could not do that, well, then, we should step down or be fired.
For Your Consideration:
Do you have the right people in the right positions? Do you have leaders working in other roles of your organizations, waiting for their chance to show your stuff? Would you like to find out? We can help you identify the right people for the right roles in your organization. Just ask me how: 206-782-4040.