Sunday, November 5th, 2017
SO, YOU WANT TO BE A CEO—
There are all kinds of assessments for top leadership roles. Take your pick. Some are good, many are antiquated for today’s demands. Here is my food for thought assessment for CEO Wannabe’s.
1. Are you fine with being gossiped about allllllll of the time? Your hair, your clothes, who you like, who you don’t like, who you favor, who you neglect, how stupid the things you say are, your personal quirks, your family, your work habits, your particular brand of goofiness and your latest mistake, the one that makes you cringe being laughed about in the cafeteria.
2.Are you ready to be trustingly skeptical all of the time as you are flattered, sucked up to, cajoled, manipulated, lied to, catered to, complimented on your brilliance by people wanting to win a bit of your power.
3. Are you ready to be under examination and the threat of losing your job from day one til the end of your tenure. Length of time in the CEO role is longer now than in the last five years but always under constant scrutiny for performance improvement and blame.Are you ready to live with failure hanging over your head even while you preach optimism and vision to your company?
4. Are you ready to lose touch with the day to day functioning of your company? Can you hand over the reins to your team while you do all the interfacing with the outside world that can feel like fiddling while Rome burns? Or worse are you ready to recognize when you prefer the frippery to the difficult job of leading your business?
5. Are you ready for isolation? Are you aware that you will be surrounded by white noise as people ‘protect’ you from information you need, withhold feedback that could provide course correction, and allow you to think things are better than they are in reality?
6, Are you ready to feel powerless as you try to navigate among all your various stakeholders?. Can you manage a Board of Directors that may not understand your business but can constrain your action? Can you tolerate legal strictures that hold back action, community pressures against company action, hidden resistance of the people in your company, financial gridlock and knowing that these constraints make your company slow to go to market with a new strategy?
7.Are you ready to take a constant grain of salt, to not believe your own spin, and to not let your ego become a Macy parade blimp? Can you combat the heady power that makes you believe you are better than your are? Can you resist perks that make you a kind of organizational royalty? And if you can’t do any of these, are you ready for a humiliating fall from grace when reality overcomes fantasy?
Granted, I am talking about the underbelly of the CEO reality. I’ve known many CEO’s who thrived and loved the role. They understood all of the above. And then, there were those who didin’t.