I predict that within the next five years half the Fortune 500 companies will have a Chief Thought Office. The reason is that is the way a company thinks, what a company thinks, and how a company thinks is becoming increasingly essential to the success of the company.
Over time companies begin to think certain things are true about their business. Companies develop a mentality of “that’s just way we always done it.” They become blinded to new opportunities and they don’t recognize approaching disasters. We live in a time where technology is advancing exponentially. New things become possible every day. The question that needs to be asked everywhere in an organization is, “What is impossible today, but if I could do it, would change everything?”
A Chief Thought Officer’s job is to question everything, every day, and everywhere. The beliefs an organization has held for years may not remain true tomorrow. The CTO needs to create a culture within the organization of continual improvement – a culture that continually seeks to put itself out of business by finding new and better ways to do everything. A culture that is always willing to give up everything it is today in order to become all it can be tomorrow. This takes courage.
Corporate beliefs just sneak up on an organization. They’re not usually intentional. A CTO’s job is to hunt them down and eradicate them. Just think what might have happened if:
- IBM could have seen the PC market coming
- The Swiss had seen the importance of the quartz crystal
- Railroads had seen themselves as being in the transportation business instead of just in the train business
- IBM had seen that photocopying would lead to Xerox
- Enron and Arthur Andersen had not tried to deceive shareholders
- Steve Jobs hadn’t had a vision for a MAC on a phone, and called it an iPhone
- Banks had been more responsible lenders and not led us into the foreclosure fiasco
When opportunities are not missed, and when disasters are averted, it has enormous impact on an organization. Enron and Andersen aren’t even in business today as a result of their thinking. A CTO may have averted each one of these examples.
Decisions are being made in the executive suite every day. But how many really know the laws that exist on the corporate lens? How many executives really grasp today’s technology? How many of them know how quickly things that seem impossible can become possible over night? It would be interesting to know how many Fortune 500 CEO’s have a Facebook account, or a Twitter account, or are on Linked-in. CEO’s need Chief Thought Officers in order to avert disasters and exploit opportunities.
My name is Steve White, what do you want to change today?
Steve White is an accomplished executive and Thought Management consultant. His strategic consulting and his book, Please Change Your Mind, help individuals and businesses understand how to manage thoughts to reach desired outcomes. Claim a free excerpt of this book, access to his newsletter and exclusive videos from Steve by texting your name and email to 404-996-1900 or enter your contact information in the box on the upper right side of this page.