Intro -- Keith Cowan LO6243

Keith Cowan (
26 Mar 96 19:56:02 EST

I was a "founding" participant on this list from and then
I got nominated as the interim CEO of an $80 million/yr computer
outsourcing company from May through December 1995. The company was in
need of help and I was already there as a change consultant. It was fun
seeing the organization from the CEO chair and trying to make a

I quickly became sensitive to the varying styles needed to enlist the help
of the troups to get on with the change process. I implemented many of the
changes which I had been recommending. But not all! The view was very
different and some of the factors led me to be cautious. I adopted an open
style, enlisting input and help by broadcasting my humility as in "You
people know what needs to be done better than I do". We established a
strategic framework for guiding the actions of the various levels in the
organization to develop the vision into meaning at the operational level.

My overall reaction is that it would take a consistent effort over several
years with hands-on management style to even begin to move towards a LO.
Lots of investment in education and consistent "walk the talk" using a
multitude of media and approaches to reach all the various constituents.
The members of the Board had no idea what all this emerging theory is
about so any direction was kept to ourselves. This created a condition of
high risk should I have been looking for longevity in the job.

I have a new insight into why CEOs are quite cautious with their Boards
and why change is approached cautiously. It also explains why there is so
much fadism at senior levels. Seeing the board five times a year leaves
precious little time to sell new concepts - easier to proceed with
something they have already heard about and understand. Besides, have you
ever worked for 12 bosses and had only 6 direct reports? ...Keith


Keith Cowan <>

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