Whether you're the CEO of an established company or brought in for a turnaround, you face staggering leadership challenges, including:
Inability to trust certain groups you've inherited to tell you what you need to know,There is an urgent need to replace some members of your leadership team, andOpportunity to motivate discouraged and skeptical employees. https://www.chipshome.com/
These are some of the conclusions of Hidden Truths: What Leaders Need to Hear But Are Rarely Told, a 2020 book by David Fubini, a senior lecturer at Harvard Business School who previously spent 34 years as a senior director at McKinsey.
Fubini makes a compelling case that many new CEOs take jobs after years of developing skills within a specific function -- such as marketing, sales or manufacturing -- that may not be ready for their top leadership role.
Here are four things CEOs told Fubini they wish they knew before taking their first job, and what you should do about them.
- Dig for the truth.
When you're the CEO of an organization, people assume you have confirmation bias -- the tendency to collect information that reinforces what you already believe and reject the rest. Therefore, they will immediately try to convey your view of the world and feed you the information they think you want to hear.
As this happens, you must find the company's most pressing problem, dig deep to discover the root causes of that problem, and examine possible solutions.
How to do it? Talk to your direct reports, managers and line-employees. In writing You Can't Order Change, I noted that Jim McNerney, who took over as CEO of Boeing in 1995, replaced a predecessor who had damaged the company's reputation and employee morale.
McNerney -- who was previously a McKinsey consultant and CEO of 3M -- spent considerable time listening to front-line workers. He also listens to directors.
He was struck by the gap between what managers and front-line employees told him. If managers told him everything was going well and employees could cite verifiable examples of problems, McInerney knew it was time to replace the manager.
- Decide who to keep and who to replace
In theory, a new CEO can hire or replace anyone in the organization. What's more, there are considerable advantages in making quick decisions. This is because you risk losing talent that could help you achieve your goals if you drag your feet.
I should seek answers to questions like the inquiry process mentioned above
Which leadership team members act according to the values you believe are important to the company's future success?
Which leadership team members do you trust based on whether they have shared with you a realistic assessment of the company's problems and potential solutions?
Which leadership team members possess effective and leadership skills that you believe are critical to the company's future success?
There should be team members who pass all of these tests, and those who fail should be replaced by those who do -- whether from within the company or outside.
- Create an emotional connection with your people.
Most people are more motivated by recognition than money.
A CEO can feel recognized by praising people -- both publicly and in one-on-one meetings. To be sure, business leaders can also give raises to show that they appreciate a team member.
However, one of the most powerful ways to motivate people in the right way is for a leader to listen to each employee's aspirations and create a career path that aligns those aspirations with the company's mission.
As I wrote in Goliath Strikes Back, this is how Best Buy inspired an employee who wanted to buy a house in the Boston area. The manager of the store where he worked -- encouraged by CEO Hubert Joly -- helped the employee develop the skills to earn a promotion to reach his dreams.
- Don't overstay your welcome.
If you're brought in as CEO to lead a turnaround, it's easy to create a five- to 10-year plan that will leave you with a capable successor. I think Joly did it when Best Buy hired Corey Berry as CEO in 2019 after his retirement.
If you founded the company and led it to great success, it's even harder not to welcome you. But Jeff Bezos -- who credited Amazon employees and customers with helping him finance his July 20 trip to space -- left the company on a high note and in the capable hands of Andy Jassy.
If you're just starting your CEO journey, tap into these valuable lessons now