Being CEO is different than any other executive position. I’ve lived it myself. I also work with many CEO clients in my coaching practice who are adjusting to the role and are surprised by some of the dynamics around it.
I’ve found that when I share a particular HBR piece from 2004 with them and they read it, those CEOs I work with often breathe a sigh of relief as they recognize they are having an entirely normal experience in the new role. The piece is “Seven surprises for new CEOs” and this is the intro paragraph:
Bearing full responsibility for a company’s success or failure, but being unable to control most of what will determine it. Having more authority than anyone else in the organization, but being unable to wield it without unhappy consequences. Sound like a tough job? It is—ask a CEO. Surprised by the description? So are CEOs who are new to the role. Just when an executive feels he has reached the pinnacle of his career, capturing the coveted goal for which he has so long been striving, he begins to realize that the CEO’s job is different and more complicated than he imagined. [yes, the authors need to work on their gender language. -CD]
The seven surprises are:
- You Can’t Run the Company
- Giving Orders Is Very Costly
- It Is Hard to Know What Is Really Going On
- You Are Always Sending a Message
- You Are Not the Boss
- Pleasing Shareholders Is Not the Goal
- You Are Still Only Human
That’s the core list of seven but the explanations of each are worth reading. Be sure to check it out if you’re a new CEO or if you work with one and want to understand him/her better.