There is no manual for becoming or taking over as a CEO. Not surprisingly 33% to 50% of newly hired and promoted CEOs fail within their first 18 months. At the same time a successful CEO succession is critical to create lasting value. How can you select the right person and organize a good transition to maximize the chances of success?
“The #1 thing I wish I had done differently? I wish that I had developed clear core values and that I had used them in my recruiting process, to filter out candidates that didn’t fit our culture,” said the CEO of this consumer good company that went through a roller coaster over the past decade. Ten years ago his company had a lot of traction, their products were flying off the shelves, and they were in a hiring spree. Several years later they hit a number of roadblocks that put them in a tough financial position – and the impact of their toxic employees became extremely painful.
“Dad, I find you very hard on me lately,” my 11-years old son told me recently. I taught him to speak up and, as a result, I’m regularly confronted with his feedback. Although I appreciate him speaking up, I felt my body boiling and my thoughts going wild. “What does he think. I’m really soft with him. If he finds this hard, what if….”
Yeah, feedback is not always nice to hear and does have an effect on you.
When I was a young manager, I was panicked by the idea of giving feedback – until I was given a clear 3-step methodology to have ego-less, collaborative, and actionable feedback conversations. Having a feedback conversation is about preparing yourself mentally in order to avoid being judgmental – towards yourself or towards the other person. Our previous post was about overcoming your fear of feedback. This articles lays out three steps to give constructive feedback in a way that contributes to your team members’ personal development.
“Your behavior is unacceptable; please don’t ever do this again!” said the unhappy email from the head of this organization. He was referring to a communication I had sent a few days earlier – and inferred from my message that my goal was to subtly break one of the organization’s rules. I felt hurt. This short email darkened my mood for the rest of the day. What made this specific feedback hurtful, while my wife complaining a few days later about me gaining weight was not?
What does your most valuable prospect look like? “Probably a lot like your existing valuable customers. The easiest and most profitable growth will be achieved by adding additional customers very much like your current most valuable customers,” explains Robert Bloom in his book “The Inside Advantage.” Clients you resonate with will bring clients in the same vein. The key question is: Who is your ideal customer – and how do you identify and describe them?
“I don’t have enough time in a day to work on the most important things!” I regularly hear CEOs complain. We all have a tendency to jump on the most urgent problems – because they are urgent and also because, let’s face it: we are addicted to fixing problems.
The issue is: when we focus on fighting fires we don’t work on what really helps move our business forward. A year quickly goes by and we realize that we have missed some of our goals. There is a key to break this vicious circle though.
“Who cares about our Core Purpose?” I thought when I joined my first company. “Isn’t a core purpose just a few vague nice-sounding words in an employee handbook?”
I couldn’t have been more wrong! As the company grew, growth pain points became more and more visible.
“My company has great growth potential, but I am so stuck in the damn dailies, I can’t find time to work on my business,” sighed the 55-years old CEO of this mid-market manufacturing company. He started his company 15 years and successfully grew it – but over the past few years, growth had stalled. His efforts to re-boot his growth engine have failed as well. In short, he felt stuck. How can he un-stuck himself?
Are you and your senior leaders acting as LEADERS? Five steps to create a culture that aligns your team
When your car’s tires have an alignment issue, it is not only difficult to stay on course but it wears your tires without noticing. The same is true for your company. If everyone isn’t aligned to the same goals with the same strategy — if someone is pulling a little bit more to the right or to the left—you won’t stay on course and you will end up wasting a lot of resources.