Private Army

Do you need a “Private Army”?

Many of the CEOs that I have met have said that, at numerous points during their career, they wished that they had access to a “private army”. Often this was just to provide an external perspective on a challenging internal issue but sometimes it could be much bigger, such as providing an independent view of a potential acquisition. One chap said that he would use such a service to introduce him to direct competitors as he could not approach them directly while another I met recently said that a blunt assessment of his organisation’s security (for his eyes only) would have to be his first request.

So, why are such services not currently widely used? I think that there are two reasons for this, namely:

  • The CEO feels that these challenges are part of their own job and if they can’t satisfy themselves then, somehow, they are not good nor succeeding in their role
  • The potential variety of requests means that in-depth expertise in Software Development and Testing, IT Operations, Infrastructure, Security, Cloud, Big Data and Project & Programme Management are all necessary in order to provide the service.

Several CEOs use their own circle of friends but they acknowledge that this has limitations as they can hardly ask potentially obvious questions for fear of losing face.

So my question to CEOs is this: “Are the sorts of comments and desires outlined during this posting representative of what you feel or do you feel something different?”


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