The Dangers of the Rowboat CEO

Many CEOs of early-stage companies function as what I call Rowboat CEOs. They row hard while facing backward. And they don’t do a great job of looking over their shoulder at what’s ahead.

3 Quick Rules for the New CEO

CEO succession is in the air. British Petroleum, Morgan Stanley, Qatar Airways, Costco, PayPal, and TGI Fridays are all currently undergoing high-profile CEO transitions. As I discussed in a recent Crash Report for my Managing the Future newsletter, a bad CEO succession process can spell doom for a company, even when things are going well.  Generally, then, […]

3 Organizational Design Errors CEOs Make

Many CEOs miss the mark on the design of their executive team. It may seem basic, but unless the CEO has the right direct reports, managing performance is going to be tough. The issue usually involves one key function reporting to another function — rather than straight to the CEO. The three classic misalignments of […]

The Highly Conscientious CEO

Each of the four DISC types (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, and Conscientiousness) represents a set of behaviors that can manifest positively or negatively in the CEO. For that reason, I always encourage CEOs to know their DISC type and understand what it means for them. The High D—or very Dominant—CEO is common, but I’ve worked with […]

Can You Test for CEO Ability?

Can you test for CEO ability? People certainly try. A recent Fortune article examines various assessments that Fortune 500 companies use in selecting a new chief executive. It’s an interesting piece, but I’m a skeptic on these tests’ ability to pinpoint the correct candidate. Any time you give an assessment in the context of qualifying someone for […]

Motivation vs. Engagement: Is There a Difference?

Someone recently asked me if I thought there was a difference between employee “motivation” and “engagement.” In a world overrun with mushy buzzwords, we don’t ask questions like this enough. In this case, there is a big difference between a motivated employee and an engaged employee. The smart leader knows the difference, because they require different interventions. Here’s […]

When the CEO Withholds Information, People Create Their Own

When the CEO withholds information, people create their own. This is a lesson countless leaders learn the hard way. They aren’t transparent about something—the state of the business, why the CFO was let go, what that all-day executive offsite was about—only to find that employees have created their own narrative about it. And it’s usually […]

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