I knew a CEO who was a great deal maker. This was a very successful and rich man.
Great Functional Skills
He liked making deals, and spending time with clients. He would like to get on a plane and meet with customers all over the world. He was a great salesman.
He had a team of nine direct reports, all very senior executives with deep experience. The thing he did not like to do was manage the organization.
The problem was this team did not work well each other. There was a lot of office politics and there was no one to manage it because the CEO was always travelling.
When I asked him about it, he said, “I am not a baby-sitter, they are all adults, I expect them to fix the issues.” The issues never did fix themselves. The in-fighting became a huge problem.
As I understood the CEO, I realized he lacked the skills to manage the team, and he did not like the task of rolling up his sleeves and working on the organization.
It’s like parents who want to determine how their kids grow up but are never around to make it happen.
The CEO saw selling as glamorous, he was good at it. Operations and dealing with office challenges was not for him.
And, needless to say, he was not willing to step down from the role of the CEO and become the head of sales. That did not fit with his self-esteem.
He also did not want to appoint a president/COO. He wanted to hold on to the direct power.
After a few months, the CEO was let go. The team was reorganized, and a new CEO was brought in from the outside.
In the corporate world, being the CEO, being the boss comes with great power and prestige.
For an executive to step down from the CEO role or not pursue it because they do not have the skills or the appetite for it is rare. And, that is what creates challenges in so many companies.
Am I good for the Role?
We have executives in roles they should not be in. Every CEO who wants to be a good leader and set an example, must first ask themselves, am I the best person to be in this role. Do I have the skills? Am I willing to accept all the duties that are required, or am I going to shirk away from my responsibilities?
Am I dreaming? Fair enough.
That is where the board must step in. They need to understand what the requirements of a CEO’s role are and then make sure the current CEO can fulfill those requirements.
Even Fortune 500 boards make mistakes on appointing executives as CEOs who should be doing other impactful roles in the organization.
Value Other Roles
The CEO role is a very important role, but the board should make sure the other roles are given enough importance, so executives can find the best seat on the bus that matches their skills and more importantly creates the maximum value for the organization.
I knew of a company where an executive who reported to the CEO was paid more than the CEO because of the value being created. The CEO was the one who set it up that way.
The board must setup the right culture where this is possible.
If you are the founder, ask yourself if you are the best person to be CEO. Perhaps there is another role that suits you better. Make sure you do not become the reason why your idea and company do not succeed.
Hire a Coach
If you are a CEO, hire a coach to help you and your team determine the best roles that create maximum value for the individual and the organization.
— By Ravi Kathuria, Author, “How Cohesive is Your Company?”
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