Choosing a new CEO

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A recent survey by online job-search firm Monster.ca suggests that Canadians will be seeking a leader who possesses the same qualities as a top-notch CEO — rather than a drinking buddy — to run the country.

Now this is good news as I’ve had a few drinking buddies in my time who found picking their nose a challenge, never mind picking the best minister to head up health care.

But, while 89 per cent of those polled picked ‘having vision and leadership’ as the most sought-after qualifications, 51 per cent said it was also important for the next prime minister to be someone they would want to have a beer or coffee with.

The unfortunate thing about surveys is that they spew out tantalizing bits of data to whet the appetite, but never go into enough depth for us to to really devour the meat of an answer.

After all, if we really want the prime minister to be a good buddy, then why do we get so upset when he gives those people who are already his friends political favours? We can’t have it both ways.

But the CEO angle is interesting.

The best CEOs want to have a healthy, profitable company that rewards its shareholders (us) with dividends — such as decent health care, tax cuts, etc. To do that, they need to be able to tone the muscle (industry), fuel the creative (arts) and inspire the base (small business) to achieve success.

They also need to take a hard look at their business model to see where it’s leaking. Sometimes what seemed like a good idea in the past has become so weighted down by dinosaurs that it has turned into a bubbling tar pit that does nothing but suck in money without spitting out anything of value. And when some of those overpaid senators . . . err, dinosaurs, don’t even bother to show up to the pit on a regular basis, I would think a smart CEO would know when it’s time to cut his losses and close the failed division.

The only differences between running a healthy country and a healthy corporation is that as shareholders of the country, we want a leader who will put this nation back on its feet, eliminate debt and channel all future profits back into our society. We want health care to be, well, healthy again. We want education to be something we take pride in rather than endure, and we want a leader who won’t try to make us someone else’s problem when we get too old.

Is that too much to ask? M

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