I have always tried to build relationships with CEOs of other companies to learn as much as possible from their experience. In my early days of being a CEO, I would go to many events around Austin to hear speakers and network with other chief executives. I often saw one CEO at these events who always had his CFO by his side. The first few times I saw them together, I didn’t think much of it. But after a while I begin to wonder: Does this CEO go anywhere without his CFO?
Event after event, the CFO was right by the CEO’s side. I never saw any other member of his management team with him. I didn’t need to see much else to know that this CEO probably had a problem with his executive team. If he spent this much time with his “favorite child,” he was likely neglecting the other members of the team. I suspect the CFO was positioned as “first among equals,” acting as a proxy for the CEO when he wasn’t present and exerting influence way beyond his financial responsibilities.
Are you a “My Favorite Child” CEO?
- If you tracked the time spent with your executive team, would it be balanced across all members?
- Do some members of your executive team exert more influence within the organization because of their close relationship with you?
- Does the organization perceive some departments always getting what they want while other groups are neglected?