Tag Archives: ceo

Transition Plan for CEOs

What To Do Between Your Exit and Next Position

We wrote a post about how to make a graceful exit (especially when it’s involuntary) that explored what steps to take when leaving your position. This post is the follow-up that dives into how to identify, assess, and consolidate lessons learned to find the right next job. We’ll explore three key steps to a successful transition plan for CEOs.

Continue reading Transition Plan for CEOs

Never do what you are told!

I tell everyone who works with, or for, me that they are never to do something because I told them to do it.  I do not want or expect anyone to do what I ask just because I told them to do it. Instead, I insist they do what they do because:

  • They understand what they are doing.
  • They know why it makes sense to do it.
  • They believe it is wise and right to do.
  • They want to do it.

The objective is to make them (as opposed to me!) accountable for what they do and to help them grow through the experience. Soon I will not have to ask them anymore because what I want done will be internalized and we can move on to the next stage of growth.

If I ever ask them to do something that they do not understand, agree with, or want to do then I beg them to tell me about it so that we can talk it through.

An approach that demands people to do something, but that does not take time to be sure those being told understand and agree with doing it, may seem more like what a CEO should do. It is not and this explains why:

  • When things do not go quite right it is too easy for the person to let themselves “off the hook” as they say, either out loud or to themselves, that: I only did it because the boss told me to. 
  • It is a human tendency to do what you are told to do by persons in positions of authority.  However, when you follow an order, you do not necessarily have to:
      1. Understand what is going on.
      2. Consider the goal and come up with alternative actions that move towards achieving it better, more efficiently, or faster.
      3. Decide on an action to take.

That is, following an order removes the obligation to know, think, or decide. You just do what you are told and assume, hope, or trust that someone smarter, or someone in a position of higher authority, has made a good decision.

The limit of this is that people do what you tell them to do and little or nothing else! A growing organization requires people to think for themselves, to generalize, and to apply broadly lessons learned.

  • The leader in a growing organization can be (and often is) the constraint to growth. Fortunately, this is an easy problem to fix: rather than telling subordinates what to do, the leader should spend the bulk of their time helping the next generation of leaders develop to the point where they operate independently; thereby freeing up the leader for strategic initiatives and actions that only they can perform.

CEOs who thrive on the heady sense of power that comes from knowing that their staff will do their bidding are consistently out-performed by those who do just the opposite and expect employees to think and act for themselves in pursuit of company performance and personal development.

See Also

Management Time: Whose got the monkey?

Alternatives to a COO.

Responsibilities shouldered by the Chief Executive Officer (a.k.a.: CEO, Managing Partner, Managing Director, or Executive Director) of a successful venture increase with growth in scale and complexity. The tension between the need to get things done, get others to do things, bridge the “white space” between organization units, and to represent the organization externally (e.g. to customers, investors, partners, suppliers, etc.) eventually reaches a breaking point.

Most, especially first time CEOs, get the idea to install a Chief Operating Officer (COO) as it seems an obvious way to spread the workload and ease the burden.

Continue reading Alternatives to a COO.

An Action Plan for Executive Transition INto a Lead Role

Executive Transition into a Lead Role

One of the hardest things for a senior executive to do is break into an existing system of operation. At first there is an exhilarating air of difference. Everything is new and there is so much to figure out and to absorb. The opportunity to have a major impact induces a seemingly endless rush of euphoric excitement.

All too soon the feelings devolve into isolation and loneliness along with the realization that no matter what good things happen, everyone watching will wonder why there was not more. Continue reading An Action Plan for Executive Transition INto a Lead Role