Sunday, July 14, 2013

S-league CEO - A CEO or a manager

I had wanted to write this Viewpoint article after the new FAS President is introduced during the AGM (As customary) but S-league CEO Lim Chin had to open his mouth to talk about a 'bright future'.

So it has to be brought forward as I can even assessed what I think of the S-league CEO thus far.

I am not going to claim I was rooting for the S-league CEO from the start as I had questioned the way of choosing the CEO in the first place but he has not make me change my mind in his time 'in charge'.

First of all, I wondered what kind of powers he has even with a lofty title of CEO.

One has to question that as time and time again, one see him not able to make any decision on his own accord.

Examples stand out and one of them is the (yet another) revamp of the S-league last year.

Outline of the plan was revealed in the media but without details, one cannot make sense of it and that is why as time passes from days to months for the details, opinions in the public domain had gone sour and questioned what was going on.

Noting that, the details were revealed earlier than expected at a hastily arranged press conference by Mr Lim but that is where the problem is.

He was quoted time and time again the final decision had not been taken and he was waiting for final approval by the Strategic Business Unit(SBU) thus the delay.

After that, in another example, this year S-league fixtures was not released as our S-league CEO needed to wait for the FAS Director of competitions nod of the head before he can do that. 

The claim was it will finally end the need for any postponement but this week, one already witness the S-league match between Warriors FC and Courts Young Lions postponed.

And before that, fixtures was also changed due to the Atl├ętico Madrid game so let be honest, there will always be postponement in a year due to unforeseen reasons.

Indeed BPL see that every year but they still released their own version which take into account their own needs first.

Yet our S-league CEO cannot do that as it is clearly not allowed for he must take into account other people (or should I be honest and named that team) needs first.

In theory, both the staffs in the SBU and FAS director of Competitions should be below S-league CEO in rankings (and no doubt pay as neither should have any person getting the reported $96k, excluding bonuses, Mr Lim get annually)

However it seem our S-league CEO have to listen to them.

Of course, people will note in an organisation there will also be a system where somebody higher in rank will still have to listen to lower-ranked staffs as the matter is under their authority

That is where the unofficial power from a higher-ranked come from.

Let looked at this year haze, Singapore Prime Minister Lee was able to cut through the rules and regulations of the Ministries of Health, Defence and Environment to get the 1 million masks on the streets in a day when in truth, if we strictly apply the rules and regulations, it will not be as smooth or fast.

No doubt, the Prime Minister is the most powerful man in the cabinet so he had that influence; which in the case if it was the Environment Minister who asked the Ministry of Health (MOH) for the Masks, as the MOH owed the masks, it may not have been the case as they need to account for it.

That where we see how powerful a person is not just officially but also unofficially.

The fact is our S-league CEO Lim should be the third man in the FAS ranking as one noted from this old yahoo article for he was to chart Singapore football along with FAS president Zainudin Nordin and secretary-general Winston Lee.

Yet he cannot get those below to work faster as he does not have the power nor the influence and that is where one see the comparison with a position of a manager.

If one dislike a policy and tell the manager about the matter, the manager can only tell that person he/she will inform the management about the feedback but has neither the ability nor influence to change it as he/she helpless looked on at the person who is complaining.

Is that not the case for Mr Lim, while no doubt any policy decision take time to discuss and implement, the fact he can be kept waiting for months and yet nothing is done show his helpless.

After all, if it was those concerning the FAS president or even FAS secretary-general, it is another matter and it will never have taken months to make a final decision.

Third in the FAS ranking, Mr Lim may be, but not so in reality.

Mr Lim is the S-league CEO yet he has to seek approval time and time again from those perceived to be below him so what type of CEO is he.

Let be clear, a CEO is not all-powerful who can decide on everything but a S-league CEO is one who cannot decide on anything and that is a major difference.

So how can one assessed Mr Lim in his time 'in charge' as I can frankly say I cannot, as in my opinion, he is a manager. 

That is why I asked how can I agreed with Mr Lim there is a bright one when one do not know if the person leading is a true CEO or in fact a manager who has to seek approval every time.

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