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Drucker’s Rule

Employees at Cinergy found out that Rogers was an apt pupil, eager to learn from the grades that they had given him. And Rogers discovered that while employees generally awarded high marks to him, they also believed that he had room for improvement in certain managerial disciplines. Along with asking listening-session participants to grade him, Rogers put an open-ended question to them: “What’s the one thing I need to do better as CEO?” Later, in a memo, he analyzed their written answers and grouped those answers into a few broad categories — Strategy, Vetting of Major Decisions, and so on. Tellingly, the category into which the largest number of responses fell was one that Rogers labeled Internal Communications. Some 20 percent of respondents, he noted in the memo, voiced a wish that he and other senior executives would “visit the field more and . . . share more ‘bad news’ when appropriate.” Thus, even as he sought to get close to employees by way of organizational conversation, Rogers learned that many of them were urging him to get closer still. Another lesson that he took from this exercise concerned the need to follow up on what employees had told him. “My challenge is how to use this data,” he says. “Has it changed me as a person? What will I behaviorally do as a consequence of knowing this? If I do nothing, I know I have lost an opportunity to be a better CEO.”

Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind

Reprinted by permission of Harvard Business Review Press. Copyright 2012. All rights reserved.

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This Reviewer

  1. Stephen M.R. Covey is cofounder of FranklinCovey’s Speed of Trust practice, a worldwide consultancy and training group, and former CEO of Covey Leadership Center. He is the best-selling author of The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything (Free Press, 2006) and the coauthor, with Greg Link, of the recently released Smart Trust: Creating Prosperity, Energy, and Joy in a Low-Trust World (Free Press, 2012).

This Book

  1. Talk, Inc.: How Trusted Leaders Use Conversation to Power Their Organizations (Harvard Business Review Press, 2012), by Boris Groysberg and Michael Slind
  2. Boris Groysberg is a professor of business administration in the organizational behavior unit at Harvard Business School. He is the author of Chasing Stars: The Myth of Talent and the Portability of Performance (Princeton University Press, 2010), a Top Shelf selection in s+b’s Best Business Books 2010, and a frequent contributor to Harvard Business Review.
  3. Michael Slind is a writer, editor, and communication consultant. He previously served as managing editor and as a senior editor at Fast Company magazine.
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