Peacetime & Wartime CEOs
Ben Horowitz @bhorowitz on the type of CEOs needed during expansion vs. war. Google is entering a “war” and that couldn’t be truer! Gives high accolades to Andy Grove & Steve Jobs for being great Wartime CEOs.
Interestingly, most management books describe peacetime CEO techniques while very few describe wartime.
In peacetime, leaders must maximize and broaden the current opportunity. As a result, peacetime leaders employ techniques to encourage broad-based creativity and contribution across a diverse set of possible objectives. In wartime, by contrast, the company typically has a single bullet in the chamber and must, at all costs, hit the target. The company’s survival in wartime depends upon strict adherence and alignment to the mission.
Wartime CEO is too busy fighting the enemy to read management books written by consultants who have never managed a fruit stand.
Be aware that management books tend to be written by management consultants who study successful companies during their times of peace. As a result, the resulting books describe the methods of peacetime CEOs. In fact, other than the books written by Andy Grove, I don’t know of any management books that teach you how to manage in wartime like Steve Jobs or Andy Grove.
Peacetime CEO aims to expand the market. Wartime CEO aims to win the market.