When we talk to students and other young communicators naïve enough to ask us for career advice, the first thing we tell them is that there are two kinds of CEOs, who run two kinds of companies. The first kind of CEO thinks he got ahead—and this type of CEO is usually a he—by using his head, playing his hand carefully, keeping the cards close to his vest and not saying anything stupid.
We tell young communicators to try to work for the second type of CEO—the CEO who thinks he or she got ahead and will get ahead by communicating, by sharing good ideas and listening to the good ideas of others.
This is the kind of CEO that Wal-Mart CEO Lee Scott appears to be. Or, at least, appears to be becoming, as he leads one of the most dramatic reputational turnarounds in the history of business. And get this, kids: After relying for years on an outside agency to write his speeches, he’s looking for an in-house speechwriter.