Saturday, May 16, 2009

Do CEOs matter? Alas, sometimes they do.

"It took two CEOs nine years to wreck what 85 years of patient accumulation had built."

So ends the penultimate paragraph of Harris Collingwood's piece in the June 2009 Atlantic. He quotes Stanford’s Jeffrey Pfeffer: “Good leaders can make a small positive difference; bad leaders can make a huge negative difference.” (from a 2006 article in Fortune)

Another gem from that Fortune article: Who can fix GM? Maybe nobody could in 2006, but there were lots of folks who could accelerate GM's collapse. (Heck, I could have driven it into the ground for a lot less than whatever they paid the last CEO.)

Do senior pastors matter?

I mentioned "huge negative difference" to the lovely Carol, and she wondered out loud if that applied to senior pastors. Certainly an awful pastor can scatter a congregation, but can an excellent one make a big upside difference? I guess it depends whether the congregation is like GM in 2006 vs. Apple in the early 1980s, to take a couple of extreme cases.

I don't have anything else on this topic, but I thought the comparison between CEOs and senior pastors was a good one -- and are the elders like the board of directors? Then I hope the Holy Spirit is the chairman of the board.

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