The Presidential Inauguration takes place every four years but at any given time, 14 to 15 percent of CEOs are in their first year of office, according to global management consulting firm Boston Consulting Group (BCG). Many of these CEOs …
Earlier this week I had the pleasure of hosting the Austin Technology Council’s first CEO Forum of the year at The Driskill Hotel here in Austin. As Chairman of the ATC, I am proud to help promote the growth and …
Every new CEO faces some resistance, and high profile ones like Marissa Mayer are especially susceptible to attention-getting PR stunts from disgruntled employees or people pretending to be them. So this e-mail from an alleged Yahoo employee should be taken with a grain of salt. Regardless of the letter’s authenticity, it does bring up an interesting point about her being late to every meeting so far: I think showing up late to meetings is one of the worst sins for a CEO (especially a new one).
Being late to meetings the CEO probably initiated in the first place basically says to employees: “My time is more valuable than yours – not only each individual employee but everyone at this meeting combined.” This behavior flouts one of the three critical tools I’ve asserted that every CEO needs to excel: caring. If the actions described in this e-mail are accurate, Mayer will not be a very successful CEO. I’ll write more about how new CEOs can set themselves up for success in a later post.
“Building and running a business is very hard, and doing it well is an act of craftsmanship no less sophisticated than engineering.”
PandoDaily contributor Bryan Goldberg said this recently in a post about engineers who want to start their own companies but often underestimate the expertise and skills needed to succeed: Your 2013 resolution: Come to terms with being “only” an engineer. I often meet really talented and smart engineers who have become frustrated with the way their companies are managed. They feel that they can’t accomplish anything significant within the current management environment. They complain about meetings and bureaucracy getting in the way of their real work. They make the decision to take an idea they have and strike out on their own. They are convinced they won’t make the same mistakes their previous employer made.
All of this is great, and I encourage entrepreneurship in all its forms (I am an engineer by trade). The one problem these engineers often run into is this: Knowing what NOT to do is not the same thing as knowing what to do. There are a million different individual ways to fail, but true success requires that you do many things consecutively right. The vast majority of the time, successful startups have two founders: Typically, one is technically focused and one is more business oriented. If these engineers don’t find a business partner, they often micro-manage every decision in order to avoid making the mistakes of their past employer. Unfortunately, most of these decisions are in areas where they have absolutely no experience or expertise.
Companies that are run in this manner – even if they get off the ground – never reach their full potential, because the founding engineer thinks he has to fully understand every issue to make a decision. As Bryan’s article points out, engineers can be CEOs just like anyone else, but just because you are smart, don’t think being a CEO is easy. I encourage you to read his full article here.
I’ll be leading the Austin Technology Council’s first CEO Forum of 2013 this Tuesday, January 15th from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. at the Driskill Hotel. The discussion will focus on building a company for a successful exit. Register here to join us.