Monday, April 18th, 2016
WAITING TO BECOME CEO
I have been thinking about the many CEO’s that I know or who I helped in their development to become CEO and—–
—–all of them had to become good at waiting without becoming passive.
Some couldn’t wait and actively looked for outside opportunities and most found they still had to wait.
It takes time to groom and grow someone to become a CEO. And it takes time for the career kaleidoscope to turn so that the opportunity comes at the right moment for the organization and for the person. For every CEO chosen, there are one or two who are not.
I don’t know any CEO who did not think they could do the job NOW. Not one.
In my experience, many got what they were waiting for. Sometimes it was by default. She or he was the last person standing after others had left impatiently.
Sometimes it involved living through a company transition that put highest level
decisions on hold. Sometimes it took time because the Board needed to be persuaded that the best candidate was chosen. Sometimes the CEO in place just couldn’t pull the trigger that meant his or her career was over.
So, it takes ego management, disciplined gracefulness, and incredible patience for CEO candidates to not lose their place during the time they have to wait to be chosen. Candidates cannot be too eager or vocally impatient. They can not become timid in their work (which often does happen) and lose their strong achievement record in the process. They cannot become bitter or sarcastic about the organization because it’s plain bad form. Transitions from one CEO to another is a delicate time in an organization’s life. CEO candidates have to learn that waiting is part of the process to become the CEO. In or out of their organization, CEO choice takes time.