CEO Coaching: Do Something!

decision“Lack of Action Led to CEO’s Ousting”

— headline from the Wall Street Journal

This particular CEO took the job out of a sense of duty and was known as a good guy.

I believe decency in the C-suite is key to capitalism’s survival. But decent people (remember the Boy Scouts list?) sometimes lack critical skills and behaviors. Sometimes they’re chocolate bunnies — sweet on the outside, hollow on the inside. However, sometimes they’re chock full of many skills, but they lack confidence and fear making decisions. This often looks like a need for analyzing a problem or opportunity until the decision makes itself. Sometimes it takes the form of too much collaboration — putting everything to a vote. Some folks who are attracted to the “no bosses” movement are from this camp. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone just got along and made all the tough choices that benefited the company for the long term? … And when that works, we’ll have kindergarten without teachers!

Boards and shareholders hire CEOs to do something, not just preside. They hire CEOs to set direction, engage their teams (which may not always mean a “nice” environment), and make the tough calls with less-than-perfect information.

Being a CEO is a damn tough job if done correctly! Confidence is required! Narcissism, no, but someone who’s uncomfortable being in the limelight and doesn’t feel a burning desire to lead shouldn’t apply. 

Caring, collaborative people can make great CEOs, but they also must occasionally be fearless and willing to make the tough calls and piss people off for the organization’s long-term good. They must be ready to act.

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