got a CEO last year. We elected someone within our ranks to take on the title of CEO. Essentially we wanted to know we had one person that the buck stopped at. Outside of that we’ve had a hard time working out what else we wanted our new CEO to do. And we continue to struggle with this. I smiled as I read an article on FastCompany today about an ‘un-CEO’. It sounded very like in it’s description of Terri Kelly, the CEO of a company called WL Gore and Associates.

In a decentralised, virtual and highly fractal organisation perhaps the more accurate description of the position is an un-CEO and not a CEO. That’s some of the problem with ‘lanuage’. It means something. And CEO conjures up stuff you want, stuff you don’t want, and even stuff you can’t hope to have in an organisation like ours.

Terri has some interesting stuff to say…

The idea of me as CEO managing the company is a misperception. My goal is to provide the overall direction. I spend a lot of time making sure we have the right people in the right roles. You know the joke, “I’m from corporate, and I’m here to help.” We don’t need unuseful, unvaluable corporate help. We empower divisions and push out responsibility. We’re so diversified that it’s impossible for a CEO to have that depth of knowledge — and not even practical.

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