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A.G. Lafley’s four leadership lessons for chief executive officers

Terry Frost, Newlyn Blue Q, Flowers Gallery

In Harvard Business Review, Procter & Gamble CEO A.G. Lafley highlights the things that only a company's chief executive officer can do.

While the CEO can act as communicator, coach and problem solver, there are others within the organisation who will be able to fill those roles. However, it falls upon the CEO and the CEO only to link the organisation to the outside world – society, the economy, technology and customers.

To achieve this, Lafley advises chief executives to concentrate on:

  • Defining the meaningful outside – Pinpoint the external constituency that matters the most.
  • Deciding what business you are in – Highlight your core businesses and which ones you will grow.
  • Balancing present and future – Don't allow the short-term interests to take precedence over the company's long-term objectives.
  • Shaping values and standards – Define your company’s identity and expectations in ways that encourage the right practices.

What Only The CEO Can Do
A.G. Lafley
Harvard Business Review