There is an interesting article in this morning’s Wall Street Journal that makes the assertion that a CEO whose personal brand becomes larger (or as large as) the company’s brand may actually do a disservice to the company. The article states:
Unlike entrepreneurs who boost their companies when they promote themselves, an executive at an established corporation who brands himself is competing with his company’s image. Such executives risk quashing the spirit of teamwork essential to innovation and productivity, and they tend to fail to do vital succession planning.
We always advise our clients who are CEOs of emerging companies that they need to be the face of the company, particularly if they go public, but they should not be the only face. We appreciate the CEOs who are willing to be visible and, frankly, are a bit wary of the type I’ve also thought of as willing to crawl over broken glass for visibility or to get coverage for themselves. Being a great CEO isn’t about building your own ego; it’s about building a great company and providing leadership to your team and their teams that will engender a culture of success.
Last week we met with a senior management team of an interesting growing company. The CEO made it very clear that although he is willing to be involved with the PR program and does his fair share already, the program isn’t about him, it’s about the company.
In an era of relentless Steve Jobs worship, that was as refreshing as this article.