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Who Steers the Ship?

By: John Wright
Posted: November 12, 2009, from the December 2009 issue of P&F magazine.

We are all keenly aware of the strengths and vulnerabilities of our respective companies. Perhaps, many of us in our quieter moments have a mental image of the perfect Elysian flavor company. Thankfully, most of those images are radically different from each other; otherwise, we would be living in a very boring world. I have worked in every conceivable structure, and over the years my view of the perfect company has changed dramatically with different experiences. Due to space limitations, I will focus this article on only one aspect of my idea of a perfect company: Who steers the ship?

By that phrase I do not refer to the background of the CEO, although that may have some relevance. Irrespective of the size of company and the strength of character of a CEO, most companies are driven, in practice, by a specific function or department. The choice of function to play the lead role may be deliberate or historical; in either case, it plays an important part in the performance of the company.

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