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August 27, 2013
Steve Ballmer Wasn't Up to Innovation's Urgency
 
What's the lesson to be drawn from Steve Ballmer's pending departure as CEO of Microsoft? It's not that a sometimes funny- or clueless-looking guy shouldn't be a CEO. It's that a successfully innovative leader has to be in charge. Ballmer wasn't that, and he'll be leaving before his time. Why does this matter to PR people? Because to position their own organizations or clients successfully, they have to foster innovative thinking in the interest of promoting change.

Julia Kirby in a guest post on the Harvard Business Review blog captures this reality nicely, with references to other articles on Steve Ballmer's announced retirement. "It's worth taking a step back to look at what all the chatter is about," she writes. "The debate has focused almost entirely in the leadership of innovation," and Ballmer didn't win that debate.

"So," Kirby adds, "the big lesson other CEOs should take away from this public trial is a cautionary one: this is how you, too, will be judged. We have known for a long time that innovation is the name of the game now..." As it is in industry, so it is in PR — innovation around constants of effective, ethical communication. 

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Doug Bedell has a background in journalism and PR and is the owner of Resource Relations LLC in Central PA, focusing on organizational and crisis communication. He’s the community manager of SimplyFair.net, a social network on fairness. On the Web, Doug’s at www.ResourceRelations.com. On Twitter, he’s @DougBeetle.
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