This article was originally published on CEOWORLD Magazine on July 7th, 2019.
Stumbling blocks from the C-suite
Keep one foot on the gas and one on the brake.
Develop a framework to keep a pulse on the everyday.
As I’ve removed myself from daily operations, the feeling of being out of the loop has frustrated me. At the same time, I know I don’t have the luxury to obsess about the nitty-gritty at the exception of higher-level considerations. Fortunately, we found “Traction: Get a Grip on Your Business” by Gino Wickman, a book that provides a framework to ensure everyone is rowing in tandem. By implementing Wickman’s principles, we established a system that alerts us to some day-to-day updates without sucking us into every detail.
Ask for feedback early and often.
Feedback is rare at the C-suite level. It’s also really necessary. As C-suite members are in positions of leadership, they can create and implement change quickly, without the usual series of approvals and discussions. That responsibility also means they should know how they are objectively and perceptually performing. Every executive at our company conducts a “skip-level” meeting with direct reports of a different executive. After aggregating feedback, the results become the basis for leadership improvement opportunities. Consider implementing a similar program as you transition into your role.
Have contingency plans.
You’re going to make painful, embarrassing mistakes that affect not just you, but your full team. This is part and parcel of being in charge. That said, always make decisions with two considerations in the back of your mind: First, how else could you pivot if your initial reaction is wrong? And second, how difficult would it be to reverse your position if it turns out poorly? Taking just a bit of time up front will save you a lot of heartache later.
Solve really big problems with your team.
You might initially feel alone when you step into a C-suite role — but it’s important to realize you aren’t. Bringing in others and asking for feedback are important qualities in a successful leader. Go to your team as a confident delegator seeking to tap into others’ knowledge and creativity. Present possible solutions and lead structured brainstorming sessions. Chances are strong the final decision will be a hybrid of multiple solutions, or perhaps one you would never have considered.