A friend of mine became the CEO of a company. He is very good - in solving technical problems - in the past he designed single-handedly new IT systems and solutions to complex problems.
Now since he became the so called highest level executive manager of the organization, he was forced to get away from technical problem solving - he was suppose to lead the company, take it the next level as per the market needs, think customers, think relationships, think conflict resolution, think creating future capabilities. Well so much and so many thinking needs - where is the execution part. However, whenever he get the nitty-gritty technical problems he will contribute much more. In fact, he designed technical systems (based on his past memory) in the board room - everything for him can be automated. His only direction to solve any problem is how to automate and everytime he gets a kick out of automation solution to any problem.
Secondly, since the CEO himself by his action setting up this direction, everyone of his reportees also got into technical problem solving - in fact designing technical solutions for the day-to-day problems - trying to automate everything and getting their Techie Kicks out of it.
However, Employees, Clients, Suppliers and partners who were suppose to work through the highly automated systems that the CEO was interested in designing became extremely frustrated with no focus in the big picture communication and design.
His company suffered. He got out of the job, with enough money - and he got into technical problem solving as R&D Scientist in one of the companies.
Well the lessons are -
Higher you go in the organization - bigger the picture should be - even if the depth in one or two areas may not be there. However, there is a concept of "T" Employees which IDEO talks about (http://www.ideo.com). The design employees needed should have broad exposure, interests, aptitute and attitude while having deep competencies in one or two key areas.
Can the CEO's get away with only Breadth or only depth? Come to think about - can anyone of us get along with only depth or only breadth? The new world - where emphasis is on change, learning, knowledge, networking and Innovation - it is the T shaped people who will succeed. Is that so?