What CEOs’ can learn from the sixty years reign of Queen Elizabeth II

Sixty years of reign by Queen Elizabeth II with 12 Prime Ministers must make all CEO's wonder. Given that CEO's are  barely able to last 7 years at the helm of companies.  OK CEO's are not monarchs but you have to to wonder at the enduring success of the British monarchy in an ever-changing world.  How come QE-II continues to be relevant today? Particularly impressive because in the sixty years  many monarchies have become defunct or  irrelevant (Indian Maharajas, Nepal King , Middle Eastern monarchies to name a few). Here are some thoughts about what might have worked for the Queen.The CEO question is placed in italics after each point:

  1. Visit Hospitals and People: This one is from a BBC report. Apparently King George V the Queen's grandfather was the person who re-branded the monarchy from the German sounding Saxe-Coburg and Gotha to the title of Windsor given that the Brits of the time  were apprehensive about the German house name of the monarch after World War I. More than the monarchy  name King George V set up the routine of every Royal having to visit hospitals and the people on a routine basis. "Be seen" was his motto and that included visiting far-flung colonies like Australia, by sea. The aim was to be seen as enlightened upper middle-class rather than decadent royalty.  As a CEO do you visit with your divisions,branches and people on a routine basis? Do you call at the hospital if your direct report or key manager is sick?
  2. Prime Minister Weekly Meeting:  Queen Elizabeth II meets the Prime Minister every week and has been doing so since Winston Churchill. David Cameron, the current Prime Minister, says that there are no other people in the meeting,no minutes but it forces the Prime Minister to think about where her/his Government is going and what are the top issues of the week. Do Board Chairpersons/CEO's meet every week or at least talk on the phone ? As a CEO do you meet your direct CxO's every week, on a routine?
  3. Change with the times: The Queen has softened her stand on numerous family and marriage issues that seemed so non-negotiable just a few decades ago. Remember that the same monarchy required Edward VIII to abdicate the throne for marrying a divorcee. At a more banal level the Queen has a Facebook page and seems very comfortable with her grandsons from Gen Y. As a CEO do you accept the changes in Gen Y/Millenials? Do you have a Facebook page ?

To summarize, Queen Elizabeth II should get a lot of credit for maintaining the loyalty of her subjects and more importantly keeping public interest in the monarchy alive even in former colonies like the US ! Truly an insipiration for the multinational CEO of the 21st Century. Contact StratoServe.