Vineet Nayar, founder of the Sampark Foundation, wrote an article for the Harvard Business Review where he discussed the changing role of CEOs in the new economy:
“In the manufacturing era, the control zone — which comprises the CEO and senior executives who set corporate strategy, policies, and quality control processes — added the most value to the business. However, value-creation has now shifted, from the control zone to the bottom of the organizational pyramid. At a time of virtually limitless competition between finely differentiated products, what you sell has become less important than how you do so.
“The value zone has naturally shifted to the frontier where front-line employees and the customer interact. That has made existing organizational structures outmoded.
The time has come for chief executive officers to transform themselves into chief enabling officers who enable, encourage, and enthuse employees that are toiling in the value zone.
“The CEO’s new role, I’m convinced, is to help employees see themselves as empowered leaders — as those who influence and drive change. The new CEO can’t play chieftain; he must be a team player obsessed with enabling value, someone who is willing to collaborate. Someone able to discover new grass roots leaders and nurture them.”