Some corporate executives, like Tesla’s Elon Musk, are larger than life. They lead massive organizations that drive innovation and impact our society in significant ways.
But executives are also humans, and humans make mistakes. An executive job in a big corporation is very demanding. When they don’t work out, they’ll list things like a bad cultural fit, poor onboarding, and a deficit of appropriate expectations. Often these are just excuses – there is a long list of ways a highly intelligent and capable individual can be misguided.
No Communication with Front Line Employees
It’s all too easy for the corner office to become isolated. Because there are so many focuses, communication can suffer between it and customer-facing employees and middle managers. With the modern corporation and decentralization, innovation often happens with front line employees. An open culture must be cultivated that promotes ideas as well as criticism. There must be systems in place that gather information and send information to the head manager.
Not Firing a Direct Report
This is never an easy thing to do. Maybe they have a long history together, or the executive even brought him or her on. It might make investors or employees anxious.
But executive teams must be cohesive and high-functioning. If they’re not, their work definitely suffers.
Not Staying Focused
It’s all too easy to make grandiose plans and financial goals at first. Unfortunately, they will fail if the company’s strengths and weaknesses haven’t been appropriately addressed.
One common pitfall is an acquisition that doesn’t match the core business—also launching too many new products that dilute the company.
Unaware of Psychology
It’s not uncommon for people to suffer from things like anger and paranoia. Executives need to be self-aware and know what triggers them.
Propose New Vision Immediately
It’s very common for someone to be excited about a new job and of course, there will be new ideas that come with it. But an executive should enjoy their unique position while it lasts as an outsider. They should consider waiting a few months before deploying the resources needed to make significant transformations. Spend the time to observe and listen to customers and co-workers. Sharpen that vision.
A CEO position, while highly compensated and thrilling, is not an easy one. Follow these tips to avoid big pitfalls.