I Am The CEO, If I Want It Done, I’ll Just Say So! … What to do when the levers of power are not attached to anything

Do Any Of These Statements Sound Like Your Workplace?

“40% of our middle managers DO NOT have the leadership competencies required for our company to be successful.”  “The executive team are not showing up as leaders.”
 “We have a culture that says, ‘You should be lucky to work here.”  “People are disconnected from why we exist and where we are going.”
“We promote people who are great at their job, but do not have the competencies or maybe even character to lead.”  “I am blown away by the people issues that get in the way of moving forward.”
 “We don’t lead people; we herd them.”   “We need to stop trying to hire a team and start developing our people.”


I have partnered with organizations ranging in size from 15, to 150, to 1,500, to 15,000 employees.

All have scaled from high impact teams into enterprises.

All struggle when the ties and tendons that once held, everyone, focused became stretched by the growth.

Stretched to the point where the organization’s efforts to meet its goals and objectives were frustrated because employees:

  • They lacked trust and confidence in leadership; and
  • They were disconnected from the organization’s mission and strategic objectives.

Read about connecting employees to strategy

And they faced these very issues while undergoing a huge expansion.


Imagine the biggest project your company has ever taken on.

A new project that would grow your company’s size by 30-50%.

Your company’s leadership are 90%  sure they will be on time, on budget and successful.

BUT: Employees are 75% sure this will fail.

The Problem

When I reported back to the client what I saw, the CEO angerly asked: “Why is this a problem? I Am The CEO, if I want it fixed, I’ll just say so!”


Why can’t the CEO fix it?

The CEO, though respected, but is an emotional vacuum.

Read more about Emotional Intelligence

He would move through the floors of his office complex by the stairwell and by skirting around work areas. He purposely avoided talked to his employees.

He was a visionary but could not explain the strategy or the tactics in a human way.

He needed to accept responsibility for how the company’s story was disseminated through the company.

My work with employees identified concerns about leadership competencies, the poor culture of leadership and the leadership skills of managers & supervisors.

Read about Steve’s organizational consulting

Yet the CEO wanted it fixed by fiat.

Research and experience show that investing in the following key leadership competencies are most critical for success:

  • Inspirational Leadership & Execution
  • Strategic Direction & Influence
  • Building Talent

Leaders who are effective in these competencies have the strengths required to lead the organization for years to come.

Organizations whose leaders struggle in these areas are domed to remain irrelevant and ineffective.


The Solution?

The gap between the current an organization’s leadership bench strength and what its future leadership demands are as a severe liability as failing to manage any other risk.

I recommended that my client take both a strategic and a tactical approach to align the development of managers with organizational objectives.

Strategically, they need to invest in developing leadership competencies and development programs and hiring tools and processes.

Tactically, they must develop mentoring and coaching supports required to close the skill gaps in each critical leadership competency.


The Single Most Important Thing To Do?

There is a Japanese term called Gemba (現場) meaning “the actual place.” … In business, Gemba refers to the place where value is created; in manufacturing the Gemba is the factory floor.

The CEO needs to see and be seen in the places where value is created. The gas plant, the control room and, yes, even the accounting and IT departments.

Read about leadership presence

He needs to ask good questions to hear and see what is going on and to ensure his messages are being communicated throughout his company.

He needs to paint the picture of his vision so everyone can see it.