Those who have heard me speak know I am a strong proponent of CEOs getting out of the office and spending time with customers. This can assure the CEO remembers how to think like a customer, rather than hoping the customer thinks like them. I have another example demonstrating the power of this practice.
One of the leading electronic design automation companies, Cadence Design Systems, took it hard in 2009 with sales dropping almost 50% from the 2007 level. This was not a one year drop, but rather a trend, which saw the former CEO, Michael Fister, leave the company.
The new CEO is Lip-Bu Tan, who has been on the Cadence board since 2004. Cadence’s fortunes are turning around and not just because of the economy, which is hardly robust. One of the first things Mr. Tan did as CEO was to go visit customers. Seems like many (if not most) CEOs who take over a company, immediately go out and visit customers, since they inherently know that is where the answers lie. If only existing CEOs would remember that, maybe their companies would not get off track.
As we have for several years, we will be commenting on the Super Bowl ads with our own unique take, starting tomorrow.