The CEO for the present, with a future

July 25, 2019 Share this article:

By Ricardo Backer, Founder and Manging Partner at Bäcker & Partners, our exclusive member firm in Argentina

This post was first published on Ricardo’s LinkedIn Pulse Blog

When I search for CEO roles, most of the time, the objective is to make a profound transformation and prepare the company for the future. Other times, it is to continue what the founder has achieved until now and to consolidate the company, without losing the innovative culture and energy that the entrepreneur injected. Other times, it is more conventional: directing or expanding a company under the existing paradigm.

I had the opportunity to analyze many cases of innovative companies that have grown in the USA and see the different stages they went through and what their CEOs needed to achieve in order to succeed at each stage.

From this experience derive some characteristics that today might be the key to success for many companies:

1) Permanent drive. The world of today does not allow the comfort of feeling that one has reached the objective. There must always be new energy in order to undertake innovation.

2) Data analytics capacity. Many companies today, particularly those that operate in the e-commerce world, generate tons of data daily. Data analytics is a crucial instrument in developing sophisticated pricing mechanisms, allows for continuous product improvement and offering and discovers products enhancement and services. The most successful CEOs I have seen were the ones who had this ability. They use data to drive and strive strategy.

3) Innovative mind. It is similar, but it is not the same as the previous characteristics. An innovative mind continuously thinks about how to improve, how to innovate, either internally or how to reach the market, new products, services, channels, client segmentation, etc.

4) Installing a culture that encourages creativity so that ALL LEVELS of the company are a source of innovation. Where hierarchies do not exist, where groups of people think about how to do things better together and their ideas are analyzed seriously at the highest level and with agility.

5) Being able to sell, to clients, to investors, to lenders, to other companies, the value of the Company, supported by rich information and based on facts drawn with quality information.

Until recently many thought it might be enough for the CEO to build and lead teams, with general knowledge and that he/she didn’t need to have all of these capabilities. My updated experience tells me that it will be harder for anyone who is not of this profile to lead a company integrated by the best people in the market, who are necessary to be successful in a strong competitive environment.

Ricardo Backer
Founding Partner & Chairman AltoPartners Buenos Aires