Who'd be a CEO?

I ask this rhetorical question because so much is happening in the business world and CEO’s are facing challenges the like of which we have not seen before. Change is the key word here and mapping change and managing change is now a fundamental part of the role of a CEO. You might say it always has been but never more than now. This is not just my view. I read (several times!) an excellent article in the Cape Times last week, so good that I would invite others to read it.
 The article stems from a report on CEO’s by Heidrick & Struggles. It speaks of the “pace of change” but quite rightly points out that these are not the most turbulent times we have lived in, however the speed and types of change are affecting stability. One CEO said, ”You have to look at almost everything as something that could kill you...”

The whole article made me think quite a lot about the pressures and problems of today’s business life for corporations, particularly global ones. Then I read another article, this time by Rob Otty, MD of Norton Rose Fulbright here in SA and also their Head of Litigation.  
Rob’s article also speaks of the role of CEO’s today and, inter alia, he feels that being approachable is the key to transforming a business. He points to CEO’s in the past believing that only their views and ideas were relevant and their businesses have suffered for this “...narrow perspective..” The article develops a theme of CEO’s being emphatic and proactive and encouraging its employees also to be proactive. Another good article and worth a read, along similar lines to the first.

So why am I so interested in CEO’s and corporations and what has this to do with being an eDiscovery Consultant in SA? There is personal interest, as business fascinates me and I was a Managing Director in the UK for more than 10 years, but of course there are direct links to what I do in both of these articles. The first article speaks of “Technological innovations...and the rise of social media” as being one of the new challenges. I preach about the way in which technology has created so many new issues for all of us and how some of the technology in my sphere helps. I have spoken about how I have concerns about the increase in communications via Social Media in terms of viewing and collecting those communications for Discovery purposes. The first article also cites cyber threats as an area of change with which the CEO has to handle and again I have written and spoken about this.
 Although not specifically mentioned in either article, information governance is a huge challenge for CEO’s of certain types of organisations now – the first article speaks of these types of challenges without using the precise words information governance. This is so much of a factor now that it has been added to the Electronic Discovery Reference Model www.edrm.net.

Then of course Rob Otty who is an MD as well as a Litigation lawyer, speaks on the subject of CEO’s being ahead of the game, being emphatic and proactive.
Those are some of the links and let me also add that my initiative in attempting to drive changes in the Rules of Discovery in SA  is about participants and all those affected , including CEO’s, accepting change in today’s environment. It is interesting that I have had support from some CEO’s for this initiative (see next post!).

To answer my rhetorical question which is the heading of this post, “Who’d be a CEO?” – well, many would, and thank goodness for that. These are skilled, qualified and determined people ready to meet these and other challenges. I like change and I will be looking to learn more and, hopefully, receive even more support from CEO’s and lawyers for what I am trying to achieve here in SA.