The Grey Chronicles


Celebrity, Lieutenant, Stalwart, Traveller, Orphan

Global Remix — The Fight for Competitive AdvantageIn Richard Scase’s book, Global Remix — The Fight for Competitive Advantage (2006), it explores major economic, technological, demographic, cultural, political and social global trends over the next twenty years. He then considers the impact upon businesses and the every day lives of the employers and employees within them. He covers extensively the threats and opportunities predicting what Western businesses will face by the year 2020 as India and China continue their growth. The book is premised on globalization—the death of distance and size.

Scase, an author of over 20 books, is one of the world’s leading business forecasters and was voted one of the Top Ten most influential people in Britain by Personnel Today magazine. He predicts that by 2020, businesses will be made up of five differing types of workers. These are:

“… the ‘Corporate Celebrity’ whose role is to inspire, secondly the ‘Corporate Lieutenants’ who make the vision of the celebrity happen, third come the ‘Corporate Stalwarts’ these are the ‘doers’ of the business, those without whom the business would not run so efficiently. Penultimately there are the ‘Corporate Travellers’ who are the temporary workers driven by money and excitement. Lastly are the ‘Corporate Orphans’ who are furthest away from the source of income.” [Emphasis added.] (Impact Executives, 2006)

The Corporate Celebrity is readily identifiable. This usually refers to the Chief Executive Officer [CEO]; or in some companies, the Chairman of the Board of Directors. The keyword here is INSPIRE. Inspiration is through leadership by example, leading at a higher level or not succumbing to the five temptations. Corporate Celebrity are committed to doing the right thing and to getting the right things done. Famous Corporate Celebrities are of the caliber of the following: Jack Welch of GE, who brought Six Sigma to business consciousness; Lee Iacocca who turn-around Chrysler in three years, instead of ten; or Sam Walton, who built WalMart even without an MBA or the Toyodas leading Toyota to successfully thrive globally even though the company is full of contradictions.

The Corporate Lieutenants are the representatives of the Corporate Celebrity, who by reason of their possession of the right stuff had been selected by the Corporate Celebrity to represent the latter. They could be of any type of boss, and do the decision making for the organization within the powers vested in them by the Corporate Celebrity.

The Corporate Stalwarts are the frontliners, the essential cogs of the corporate wheel. They usually try their best efforts to become a complete leader, or maybe at least practice as a one-minute manager. They usually bear the brunt of Corporate Lieutenants when things go wrong; and more often than not, at the receiving end of the sometimes emotionally-charged sentiments of the rank-and-file. Thus, they act as the sounding board as well as the first-line of defense, and sometimes the sieve of information from the bottom-up, requiring them to possess the three skills of an effective administrator.

At the bottom of the pyramid are the Corporate Travellers and the Corporate Orphans, the creation of increased outsourcing and offshoring. Worlds apart from the Corporate Celebrity, they have fewer rights than the first three groups of personnel. Scase notes that they have however, “in a sense been rescued by globalization, as they have been given an income and increased hope.” A previous post in «The Grey Chronicles» already discussed about free-agent nation in a previous post, whereby these new independent workers, both Corporate Travellers and Corporate Orphans, are transforming the way we live, as well as changing the essence of corporate loyalty.

Many CEOs have already ignored the advice of management guru Peter Drucker, who suggested that “the person on the top rung of any organization should not earn more than 20 times the salary of anyone on the bottom rung … although earning more, they will probably hold their leadership positions for shorter periods of time.”

Corporations must respond. In the 19th Century, we managed factories, in the 21st Century we need to lead knowledge workers. Leaders make the difference. The same points have been raised by IBM’s Global Innovation Outlook 2.0 (IBM, 2006), asking:

“If the Industrial Age is in fact giving way to the Knowledge Age, what are the new foundational structures and organizing principles that will characterize institutions in this era? How will those principles affect existing corporations and the field of competition? What will they imply for the disciplines of management and current research and development practice? Will basic terms such as “employee,” “employment” or even “enterprise”—which has been synonymous with “big business”—take on new meaning, or perhaps become irrelevant?”


IBM (2006). Global Innovation Outlook 2.0. New York: International Business Machines Corporation, 2006. p. 7. back to text

Impact Executives (2006). Are You a Corporate Celebrity, Lieutenant, Stalwart, Traveller or Orphan. Impact Executives, Harvey Nash Group, 22 November 2006. back to text.

Scase, Richard (2006). Global Remix — The Fight for Competitive Advantage. Place: Kogan Page, 2006. 180pp. back to text.

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 LicenseDisclaimer: The posts herein do not necessarily represent any organization’s positions, strategies or opinions. Read the full version of self-imposed rules for this blog: A New Year; New Rules. Unless otherwise expressly stated, the posts are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.
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