J.P. Donlon

J.P. Donlon
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J.P. Donlon is Editor Emeritus of Chief Executive magazine.

Why a “Dual” Transformation Model is Needed for Future Growth

Dual transformation is the art of creating a second business model that will likely succeed the existing core, but at the same time streamlining and adapting the core so that it thrives in parallel.

RAM CHARAN: CEOs Need to be ‘Talent Magnets’

“CEOs have to take charge of the challenge their companies face from not having the right talent for the future,” argues Ram Charan, the acclaimed business advisor to CEOs and author of numerous books such as “Execution” (co-authored with former Honeywell CEO Larry Bossidy) and “The Game Changer” (co-authored with former P&G CEO AG Lafley.) “Their HR people have failed.” The long-time advisor to such leaders as Jack Welch and more recently GE’s Jeff Immelt has written a new book, “The High Potential Leader: How to grow Fast, Take on New Responsibilities, and Make an Impact,” which is certain to set the agenda for leaders who are mindful of the need to develop the necessary resources to transform their companies for the digital age. Companies have generally developed systems to identify and promote high-potential people, but he argues that they don’t have 20 or 30 years to develop junior people as they have done historically. Performance was largely measured by numbers with little digging for how the results were achieved. Some leadership traits like high integrity and the ability to communicate are constant and performance always matters. But these have become table stakes. “Without the qualities and abilities the fast-changing world now demands,” he says, “a leader is not likely to succeed in a high-level leadership job, at least not for long.” Charan draws a distinction between high-potential individuals and high-potential leaders. A terrific thinker or analyst may have exceptional talent or expertise, but they often do their most productive work in private, free from distractions that intrude on solving the problem at hand. Such people rarely excel at leading other people. He observes that they often lose ground if they set their sights on a job where they have to deal with all sorts of people and relationship issues. Charan points to Craig Silverstein, Sergey Brin’s and Larry Page’s first employee at Google. They hired him to build their search engine while they were all students at Stanford. Not long after Google was formed, Silverstein felt he should try a managerial role. But after several months, Silverstein admitted to the Wall Street Journal that “he wasn’t very good at it.” He became Google’s director of technology and stayed with it until he left the company in 2012. Charan’s advice to CEOs is to become a talent magnet. Not every CEO comes to this easily. In fact, he points to the career of Tony Palmer, president of global brands and innovation at Kimberly-Clark as an example of a leader who saw the need to transform himself to do just that. When Palmer worked at Mars, he was confronted with the challenge. “I had five people reporting to me who had 140 years of combined experience,” Palmer is quoted in Charan’s book. “I was just 32 and I was their boss. I had no choice but to overcome my discomfort and take charge.” Later in his career while with Coca-Cola, Fisher Scientific, Kellogg and now Kimberly-Clark, Palmer says he began to define himself differently. “I now define myself by helping other people be successful. I’ve learned that when other people succeed at work, it really does improve their lives at home. It’s a powerful thing and I get a lot of enjoyment out of that.” Palmer excelled at becoming a talent magnet which attracted the attention of others—even those outside the company where he worked. It catapulted him to all the above-mentioned brands. In fact, the ability to attract and develop talent is one of the things Palmer looks for in hiring people. CEOs, Charan says, should keep an informal list of people they come across both outside as well as inside their company and network with them from time to time—having an informal coffee here, or sending an anniversary greeting there to maintain and monitor relationships.

Building a Better Road Map to the Future of Manufacturing

Manufacturing is at a crossroads between the value generated by the data collected from the equipment and the value generated by the equipment's output.

A Former CEO Says it’s Time Business Leaders Did Something about...

Peter Georgescu, former CEO of Y&R, has teamed up with Home Depot co-founder Ken Langone to urge CEOs to raise employee wages to grow the middle class—and save capitalism from itself.

How Midmarket B2B Companies Can Go Digital

Digital disruption now has the potential to overturn incumbents and reshape markets. Here’s how B2B leaders can get ahead of the curve.

Ram Charan Says CEOs Need to be ‘Talent Magnets’

Charan says that CEOs must overcome any natural shyness they might have and define themselves by how well they help other people be successful.

Cautious Advice on Disrupting your Market from a CEO Who’s Been...

Succeeding at being disruptive requires a deeper commitment than anything you've probably ever done. But in the end, the payoff can be worth it.

Trump’s Council of Manufacturing CEOs are Wrestling with the Talent Issue

Manufacturing CEOs and President Donald Trump talked about how to eradicate the skills gap and educate and employ more Americans in the manufacturing industry.

The Changing Nature of Cyber Threats: What CEOs Need to Know

Is nothing sacred? A network of websites used by hackers to anonymously share information has itself been hit by cyber attack.

Dodd-Frank Doesn’t Need to Be Repealed for Banks and Companies to...

With all that President Trump has on his plate, is it logical to expect a speedy repeal of Dodd-Frank?
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CEO Confidence Ticks Up In August

Trump trade tactics play well with manufacturing CEOs
Strength in the overall economy, consumer confidence and the Trump administration’s pro-business agenda buoyed CEO confidence in August, even as worry persists about rising economic headwinds in the near future.
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