A client who recently started as a new CEO for a global company asked “what should I not do?” Now a decent coach is always going to turn the question back to the client. But it got me thinking too…is there a really good answer? Here is what I came up with:
A review of the literature and the research is pretty clear about the CEO being important insofar as he/she does the right things, not the wrong things. No one will really notice if a CEO is a great leader (except the immediate leadership team), but a bad CEO can tank the company.
Rather thankless really. But that’s why they get the big bucks!
Most important right out of the gate: Win hearts by listening and paying attention to what matters most to the people e.g.: the current values.
Then: Vision, strategy, culture.
Next: Once it is all rolling the along, avoid doing anything immoral, illegal or unethical. Obvious, you might think, but the big downfall of top leaders and this is as true in politics as it is in corporations, is that they think they are above the laws – explicit and implicit.
But who are we kidding? People watch CEO’s really carefully, I would submit that everyone always gets caught in the end.