This States Agreement Is A Nice Surprise Before You Start

A certain balance between staff and professional is another topic that always comes up in our workshop. It is easy for a new CEO to underestimate the number and magnitude of the requirements placed on him. Many new CEOs are convinced that they can balance their new challenges without too many problems with their personal lives – after all, they have done so in other management positions. However, the role of CEO, with all its requirements and publicity, can greatly amplify this tension. One CEO concluded: “At the end of the day, there is no balance. There are only trade-offs. Yes, it is true. And that really led us to a truly remarkable result in the annals of diplomacy in the Middle East. The United Arab Emirates has announced that it will normalize its relations with the State of Israel and thus join a very small number of Arab states to recognize Israel. And it wasn`t a small part of a deal negotiated by the Trump administration. The CEO disagreed. He thought the company`s advertising was obsolete and that a rejuvenation should begin immediately – and that would most likely mean hiring a new agency.

He suspended the marketing campaign until a new advertising plan could be developed – a decision he hoped would send a strong signal about the changes he wanted to introduce. He did not realize that he had also sent several other strong signals. In November, the US secret service (which deciphered Japan`s diplomatic code) revealed that Japan was about to halt diplomatic negotiations. U.S. officials believed this could lead to Japanese military actions and warned military commanders throughout the Pacific, including Hawaii. But as Japanese military codes were still safe, they didn`t know where Japan might strike. Most thought that Japan would seize oil-rich British and Dutch colonies in Southeast Asia. U.S. forces in the Philippines could threaten such a Japanese advance – Washington saw it as a potential conflict. The prospect of an attack in Hawaii, which spanned 3,400 thousand oceans, seemed slim.

The new CEO`s workshop at Harvard Business School is open only to new CEOs of companies with annual sales of more than $1 billion or more. In keeping with HBS`s mission – to train leaders who make a difference in the world – we launched this workshop a few years ago to address the unique challenges that business leaders face for the first time in large, complex companies. We personally invite each participant to ensure the appropriate size and composition of the group, which usually includes a dozen CEOs, whose organizations cover a wide range of branches. These CEOs run state-owned enterprises in advanced economies. They have been appointed and are awaiting office or in the first few months of their term. Since the program`s inception a few years ago, some 50 new CEOs have participated, among the world leaders such as Applied Materials, BellSouth, Cadbury Schweppes, Caterpillar, Lloyds TSB, Lowe`s, Novartis, Schlumberger, UPS and Walgreens. Recently, a group of early workshop participants met again to review the early years of their work and recalibrate their agendas. Well, that was in March 2018. I remember it was kind of a rainy night. And it was a dinner at a restaurant called Cafe Milano, which is in Georgetown. And it`s one of those classic Washington irrigation holes.

The Trumps are going. The Obama administration, senior officials had left earlier. It`s an Italian restaurant, you know, full of power-brokers. And one of the most loyal and wealthy customers of this restaurant is a diplomat called Yousef Otaiba. And Otaiba is the United Arab Emirates ambassador to Washington. It is therefore not necessarily diplomatic of one of the largest countries in the world.

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