This week, Adam Bryant interviewed Christopher Cabrera, CEO of software firm Xactly, for his New York Times Corner Office Column. Cabrera talked about the notion of personal and organizational reinvention. Here's an excerpt:
We talk a lot about reinventing ourselves. I’m constantly in front of the company explaining to them, “The skills that I had to take this company from zero to $20 million are very different than the skills that are going to take this company from $100 million to $200 million. Every six months, I’ve had to reinvent myself, and so what are you doing to reinvent yourself? And we’ll give you the tools you need to help you do that.” We have to just keep reinventing as time goes on, and part of that reinventing is constantly challenging each other about what could we do better, and what could we do differently.
Cabrera offers an important lesson for leaders here. He reminds us that people and organizations need to reinvent themselves from time to time. They have to learn and develop new skills and capabilities. The CEO sets the tone. By talking about his own need for personal reinvention, Cabrera offers an example for all the people in his organization. He can't stand pat, so they should not do so either. He's pledging to develop new capabilities and asking them to do so as well. In too many organizations, CEOs ask their employees to engage in training and development activities, but they don't seem to think that they need them. The best leaders acknowledge to all that they are still learning and developing as well.