As we head out of the recession, the loneliest job may be the CEO. After all, they are looked to guide organizations into the future, to make brilliant decisions based on incomplete data, to restart the growth engines that have been stalled for more than a year – and to leap tall buildings in a single bound (perhaps I am confusing them with someone else). All this without a single person they can talk with that doesn’t have a vested interest in the outcome. But you say - they have great management teams, guided by wonderful board of directors, and supported by families that should be in a position to lend a helpful ear. Forgetaboutit!
Imagine you are the CEO and have a very creative idea to move the business forward. You spend some significant cycles to make sure that it will make the right impact on your business. You elect to bring it up to the board and they decide that it will help save the world. Only problem is that you missed one key element that made you back off. Think that anyone on the board will wonder why you did not move this “great” idea forward. Youarerunningonthinice!
What about a potential acquisition that could change the competitive landscape and position the organization to leap into a dominate role. As the CEO, how comfortable would you be discussing this idea with your leadership team? Especially, when the primary reason you want the acquisition is to improve the capability of your organization’s leadership along with the wonderful customers that this target acquisition has. Caughtbetweenarockandahardplace!
What about the need to shift your business into new geographic markets? Not the really glamorous ones like Paris, London, or New York, but exciting places like the Middle East, Amsterdam or Fargo, ND. Think your spouse is going to continue to make those trips with you. Notonyourlife!
Recently, the CEO role has been under fire for being overpaid and asleep at the switch. I beg to differ. I truly believe that this role is the toughest and loneliest job in business. I have the pleasure to work with CEOs everyday and I can honestly tell you that most of them are great people with a passion to make a difference in the world. They care deeply about the quality of life available to their employees. And they look out for the welfare of their families. They can be deeply competitive and driven, but that may be what makes them so important to the success of their businesses. I think that the general population should rethink their positions on the role of the CEO. And thank our lucky stars for their commitment to excellence and loneliness. LonglivetheCEO!