How to Save CEOs From Themselves

How to Save CEOs From Themselves

Help save CEOs from themselves!

Most entrepreneurs suffer from what I call A.D.O.S., and it stands for:  Attention Deficit, Oh Squirrel!

The reality is, entrepreneurs and CEOs are often “Quick Starters” (a term from the KOLBE A profile I have all the CEOs I coach/mentor do).

CEOs have an idea, and they launch right into wanting to do it that day. They return from conferences or events like EO, YPO & Vistage put on monthly with multiple great ideas or new systems that “will only take a few minutes to do.”

They rarely follow one of my favorite mantras “Plan, Brief, Execute, De-brief”.  Instead, they often get dragged kicking and screaming into planning meetings. They would rather quickly delegate/abdicate their “great ideas” and get things started quickly by passing them off to their bewildered teams – often before the people are ready to run with them.

Now don’t get me wrong, the CEOs ideas are usually right on, but are often not urgently needed and can wait a quarter or two until the proper plan is in place. This is where your role as COO comes into play. You are the keeper of all ideas, keeping track of them, thinking on them, and making sure that they are necessary for the company to move forward BEFORE implementing them.

The fact is that CEOs can get angry if their teams don’t run with their ideas as quickly as they want them to. And these entrepreneurs often feel an urgency to start the idea right now. It’s important to understand that dynamic and be able to mange your CEOs expectations so that they do not get frustrated, but also help them understand that their ideas need time to perfect before putting into action.

The reality is, they just need a system to keep track of their ideas. And if they have a simple system in place to know their ideas won’t get lost, they’re more OK with starting them when the time is right.

Every quarter, the team can vote on which ideas to start, which plans to keep on the list, and which ones to finally throw out. At least the entrepreneur’s ideas are kept somewhere safe.

I suggest using systems like Trello, Asana, Basecamp, or Google Docs to save all potential project ideas.

Remember, you’re the COO – you have to save the entrepreneur from himself by giving him a place to store his ideas by putting a system in place to allow the entire team to vote on when (or if) to start them.

The COO Alliance is here to help with these, and many other, challenges facing COOs today. For more information, and to apply, apply now.

2 Responses

  1. Interesting. Very interesting. Although I’m wondering…

    I used to be like that: New ideas every day and ready to start on each one of them, today.

    However, I’m not sure it’s because I was a CEO. I think it’s because I was younger and an ‘entrepreneur’.

    I’ve seen plenty of CEOs that come with a total of 0 new ideas per year… They tend to be older people AND in more conservative industries.

    Nowadays, I’m older. Yet, I still have dozen of new ideas every day – really. That’s the ‘entrepreneur personality’. But I am more interested in getting ONE great idea to success, than producing a long list of projects who will die on the runway. My list of “projects started but never finished” is full already 😉

    So… Very important topic. Yet, I’m not sure it’s a CEO / COO thing. It may be more a function of ‘entrepreneur personality’ + “age”. Maybe?

    1. Great points – I agree. Not ALL CEOs have a million ideas, it’s the entrepreneurial personality for sure! Your point about one idea to success is great (too bad not all CEOs are like that), it’s usually the COO who takes all the ideas, chooses the one that’s best for the company and executes it. Perhaps you are a bit of both?

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