Just before we closed down for the Christmas holidays I noticed a frenzy of headlines about executive pay and performance. And while it's tempting to make assumptions about the kind of "different" leadership we need post-crisis, I would warn that it's not as easy as changing the CEO or keeping them honest and humble by cutting their pay.
I liked the comment by Malcolm Gladwell in a podcast interview I listened to during my morning run at the height of the crisis. It was so good I played it back and wrote it down:
"Rather than joining the mobs seeking to hang evil CEOs from the nearest lamppost, we should all step back, take a deep breath and find the procedural flaws in the sytem that can be fixed," Malcolm said. "Tinker with the risk models, increase the regulatory oversight and the problem is solved ... "
I don't agree with Malcolm that it's about a simple fix to a model. But I do agree that sacking the CEO isn't the answer. My belief is that leadership is the issue, and my caution is that we're making some wrong assumptions about leadership.