CEO Fail: The “My Favorite Child” CEO

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?

  1. If you tracked the time spent with your executive team, would it be balanced across all members?
  2. Do some members of your executive team exert more influence within the organization because of their close relationship with you?
  3. Does the organization perceive some departments always getting what they want while other groups are neglected?



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