5 Minute Crash Course For New CEOs
May 30, 2018
Perhaps you have worked towards this your entire career.
And now finally, you have become the CEO.
But it may not be exactly what you expected and you’re bound to run into a few surprises.
Here are some of them:
You won’t be running the company
Your external demands are going to be greater than internal needs.
In addition, you’re going to struggle to make time to attend to board members, shareholders, industry groups, and other external parties.
If you’re a CEO that’s come from outside the company, you will need to learn how your new company operates. However, if you were promoted from within the company, you’re going to find it difficult to let go of operations to now learn the unfamiliar landscape of exterior constituencies.
You will probably feel a sense of loss because you will no longer have your finger on the pulse as you did previously.
In addition, you will have to hand over much of the responsibility of operations where previously you had thrived, and you’ll need to accept that you won’t know as much about what’s going on in the company, relying instead on others.
Now you will need to instead learn about things like investor relations and regulatory affairs, much of which you were not party to before.
Your priority as CEO is now to create and communicate with clarity, a strategy of the structures and processes that serve to direct organisational behavior. It is vital that you select the right senior management team of which to designate much of the burden of running the company.
You’re not the boss
Although as CEO you’re at the top of the hierarchy, now you won’t only have one boss, but you will report to the board of directors, which makes it 10 or 12 bosses, remembering that it was the board who hired you and they have power over you.
Your job also means educating the board about the company and the industry, because you won’t ever want any of the members to feel they are uniformed or did not know something they should have known.
And although its vital to form relationships with board members, it is equally important that you treat members and directors not as buddies or people to confide in, reminding yourself always that they hold you responsible for the entire wellbeing of the company.
It will be difficult to source reliable information
When you become CEO, reliable information becomes a rarity.
Suddenly the information you get will be skewed because all your relationships change.
Everyone is on their guard now, no longer freely supplying the information you need.
Every bit of information you now receive is filtered.
Sometimes that’s because of hidden agendas, and sometimes it’s with good intentions. Everyone is wary of being the messenger of bad tidings and everyone worries about being shot down.
Tip: interact regularly with employees on all levels, so that if you ever need to ask a delicate question, they won’t be so on their guards. This makes it a little easier to find out what’s really going on.
Related: What CEOs Don’t Know [& The Fix]
Everyone will watch you, all the time
Every new CEO understands that he or she will be watched, but you may not fully realise the extent of the watching and interpreting.
Your every action will be analysed and interpreted and oftentimes, grossly misinterpreted.
Anything you do is immediately verbally spread and expanded. You’ve got to be aware that you, in your personal life, are constantly sending a message.
Assumptions are made even before you arrive at your desk on the first day of being the CEO.
Everything a CEO says, even in contemplation, is assessed, analysed and perhaps blown out of proportion.
At this time, it’s important to carefully consider how any actions and the communication of them, will be interpreted by different audiences, both internally and externally.
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