Book Reviews - Inside the world of a CEO
by S K Verma
This book is a Bible for those who aspire to become CEOs, or are already at the helm of affairs. Lonely at the Top gives a vivid description of the inner workings of the business world. The challenges before a CEO can be astonishingly unique. Mohan quotes the example of a spectacularly successful head of a department. Unfortunately, his success went to his head, and he became highhanded with his subordinates, and insolent with his seniors, until the CEO was forced to kill the golden goose by transferring him to another department. The CEO has to juggle productivity, profitability, human relationships and quick decision making. Everybody in the organisation looks up to him. His slightest words are interpreted and analysed from different angles but he has nobody to confide into, since he must keep a desirable distance from everybody. He is all alone at the top. He leads a solitary life. Throwing light on the key problems afflicting the corporate world, Mohan rues the loss of dynamic leaders to management school-fed managers who cannot go beyond bringing cosmetic changes in the organisation. He calls it leadership anaemia. According to Mohan, a real leader goes beyond text book solutions and infuses dynamism and vitality through unconventional measures, which are a trademark of his original thinking. He does the right thing even though on the parameters of short-term profitability, it may appear suicidal. Mohan also points out the hazards of populating the organisation with left-brained wizards who fail miserably at interpersonal skills. “Consequently, organisations are a seething mass of discontent, cynicism, depression, shattered dreams and lost faith,” he says. He advocates the inclusion of people from the humanities background in the corporate world for greater balance.
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