I had a very interesting client, Peter, the CEO of a Japanese owned company with a chemical engineering background. He had a PhD in chemistry. He had never led a company nor been a CEO.

In the course of his career, he was working for a Japanese owned company, making equipment that is used by pharmaceutical companies, products & processes in the manufacture of drugs – highly technical and engineering oriented equipment.

He was chosen by the owner of the business, a second generation CEO, to become CEO of their North America division. It’s a global company, but Japan accounts for their biggest market share. Peter had never been a CEO before and had no clue what he was supposed to do when he came to me for help.

He would ask, “What am I supposed to do? What is the CEO role? And how do I do that?” All this was foreign to him.

A scientist has a different framework than a typical CEO – that of getting to a right or wrong answer. So Peter wanted to find “the right answer” in his role as the CEO. “Where should the firm go next? What is the best way to get there? How do you stand out or differentiate your products from competition? How do you deal with people that don’t get along?”

(Don’t we all want those answers? )

In the role of business leadership, there’s so much “best judgment” involved. In a business entity you don’t, most of the time, have an “answer” until much later. It’s a world of trial and error vs. a world of calculation and predictable result. And that’s a very unsettling thought to someone with a chemistry background.

Now you’re responsible for all these people; you’re responsible for this company, all these jobs, and you’re looking for the best and definable answer to the questions posed. It can be really intimidating.

So it was quite a learning curve for Peter to cope in this environment. One where you try something on a smaller scale, review the results, and then look for the broader conclusion that you can expand.

It’s a world of iterations. You learn something from it, then revise, and next commercially expand further.

In today’s world of internet speed, and ease of finding competitive information, it is more prudent to expand something that is partially complete or tested.

How much completion? Maybe 50 – 60% is enough.

And now get exposure to a real audience. The customer or prospect. Revise, then go back to market the revised product or process.

This becomes the speed of innovation or what some call agile development. This is what the great marketers understand and how they go about rapid development. Lots of trial and error and many iterations become the rule.

So what a great CEO has to deal with is that there isn’t just one answer. That we don’t have all the information that we need. But it is better to do something and then continue to learn how we improve the product or service.

The concept is, there’s no crystal ball that defines the answer. There’s a lot written about Amazon and Jeff Bezos using this same approach to iterations to generate success. Alexa was actually developed this way, according to insiders. In essence you are trying to find ways to fail faster…..in order to learn the best approach to expansion.

Pretty compelling logic, I believe. But it does take the right kind of people with the right personality to deal with rapid changes.

And just maybe, this approach is not just for chemical engineers, but actually should be understood by any progressive leader or CEO. Is that you? How do you go about development?

If this approach might be valuable to you, reach out to me. We can explore how it could apply.

Contact me at: https://brodyassociates.net or

email to: stevenbtx@gmail.com or