Executive Firing – Can You Hear Me Now?

Current and would-be CEO’s would be wise to check out Leadership IQ’s recent study on why CEOs get fired.  I found this recently on Michelangelo Celli’s Inside the Loop blog.

Here are the top reasons for giving CEOs the ax:

  • mismanaging change
  • ignoring customers
  • tolerating low performers
  • denying reality
  • too much talk & not enough action.

mc’s post focuses on the importance of maintaining communication with customers (i.e., ignore customers at your own risk), and I wholeheartedly agree.

What’s also imperative is that CEO’s maintain communication with employees, including soliciting and listening to employee input.  The “too much talk & not enough action” is the finding that resonates the most with me.

I’ve heard too many stories of executive searches gone wrong because the winning CEO candidate gave “good talk” (enough to impress the search committee) and then after getting hired, just kept talking.  These are the guys who spend their first few weeks/months on the job getting to know everyone on staff by telling them their vision/new plans for the organization.

Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk, Talk

There’s nothing wrong with that – people do want to know what the new guy is going to do – as long as the new CEO spends as much time listening as he does talking.  Unfortunately, some CEOs waltz in with their ideas without first assessing the situation … which involves listening.  (You remember that old cliche about why we were created with “two ears and only one mouth” … )

So here’s some advice for those in new CEO positions: listen first, listen well, and talk later.

And my advice to the staff of the new CEO who comes in talking without listening?  Update your resumes & start networking.

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