Monday, August 26th, 2013



As a CEO or top executive leader, you have to absorb too much. 

Too much information
Bad surprises in results
Big fat mistakes that cost huge chunks of money
Conflict between functions on your team
Idiotic turf wars or personality clashes 
Constant prepping for a Board Meeting or Analyst call
Top talent that disappoints or demands
Community expectations
Realization that a major initiative just isn’t going to get the job done
A direct report that drives you nuts

AND being at the top you manage your emotions and your impulsive responses and your bluntly honest thoughts  and keep moving.

And mostly that’s good.  You carry too much power to habitually unload on the company and your team(s).

BUT that necessary reserve can build up internal gunk that can get pretty darned distracting and noisy.  It creates a drag on your leadership energy.

You know its gunk when you:
-Talk about the same issue and person for more than six months with your professional confidante
-Blow your stack at a meeting and direct it publicly at one person
-Begin to gossip about one of your direct reports about another person on the team
-Feel insulted or outraged at most interactions with the same person
-You talk to your best friend or spouse about this issue or person during purely social engagements
-You have given up on a person and they don’t know it and it’s been more than 3 months
-Are jealous or resentful of someone’s success
-When it feel so good to have a drink and talk about it with whoever is drinking with you
-You turn this person or issue or decision over and over in your mind when you are alone in the car

My point is that gunk is inevitable.  You need to do a mental assessment of the topics  in your internal gunk.  Usually there is one that dominates.  Then address it.
-Get clear about it first.  What are you thinking and feeling about it.  –
-Then create the conversation in your head or, better yet, on paper. 
– Sit on it for a week.  Share it with one person.  Decide if clarifying it for yourself is enough
– Then decide.  Does the idea of addressing it directly make you feel more energetic, more ready to engage, more powerful, more authentic or scared, unsure and ambivalent.  Don’t act unless you know the difference. 
-Then let it go.  Clear it out.  

I am not talking about everyday irritations.  This type of gunk clearing is not to be done frequently.  But not to realize that you carry it  and not  to decide about how or whether to  handle your particular “gunk” is a real drain on your much needed clear leadership power.


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