ceoI want to talk about a group of consultants and for the moment, let’s say I was involved, working with a CEO as a client. It has changed my thoughts on coaching and has me thinking that perhaps a new model for my business needs to be planned.

Imagine a CEO running a large company to the point where he needs help but is reticent, no maybe more worried that his power will be usurped or worse he will lose total control of his company – his baby. Yikes, this sounds like the beginning of another EMyth lecture – not exactly.

Let’s continue with this fictional company because it is a classic. Five new executives at the ‘VP’ level are brought in to take some of the stress off the CEO, give him more time to reflect on steady planned growth, allow him guidance on this planned growth and share his vision to these executives so all are on the right page.

Now there is a little more information to know here, Management Consultants secured the team and had gone in 2 months earlier to ‘prime the operation’ for change. This new team will report directly to the CEO and will be ‘change agents’ for him. The company having grown over 430% in the previous 3 years will now be poised to triple in size in the next year. That’s the plan anyway.

What’s the wild card here? You have 5 seasoned professionals, elite in their fields, seeing a bright future with this new company and having the belief that growth will move like lightning. The CEO is the wild card. You can’t change a micro manager overnight just like a leopard can’t change his spots. The management team believed they had turned around the CEO to believe change had to start at the top, that growth had reached a critical point where help was needed and that the potential was ripe for fast growth.

All the CEO saw was new faces, people he didn’t scout or hire, undermining his authority, not allowing them to be bullied by him, and the ultimate for him; loss of control. In spite of the fact he’s a great guy he couldn’t see that listening to Consultants he brought in to work on a scenario that could explode in a positive way needs to be listened to, not engage in a power struggle.

The team disintegrated in days. Dreams disappeared, questions arose, doubt entered minds, expertise was ignored and in the end the company was worse off than when the team came on board.

A positive, well adjusted, experienced CEO needs to find employees, executives and consultant who can bring out the BEST in you. A CEO who looks for the worst will fail.

What failed in this business case? Did the CEO micro-manage senior executives used to running the show, yes. Maybe the team was too strong for the CEO to feel comfortable to manage effectively, could be. Was the team respected for their expertise? Not really or the CEO would have listened to them.

I think I will start a Project Management firm that will contract this type of scenario to more willing and open business owners. Then I can take on who I want to work with who will bring out the best in me.

And yes, this was not fiction!

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9 Comments

  1. Well said Gary. If a CEO is micro-managing, he should be removed from his position. The days of micro-managing are over. We no longer live in the last centiry. The type of management style where it was “my way or the highway” will not work in most areas where there are highly motivated and educated employees. Only the weak will follow this style for fear of loss of job. There is no better way to lose a great employee than through micro-managing.

  2. I’d have to go along with with you one this subject. Which is not something I usually do! I enjoy reading a post that will make people think. Also, thanks for allowing me to speak my mind!

  3. Why do people ask for help the refuse to take advice, I’m with you it’s micro managing bullshit

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