Openness as a tool

Today a Business Owner asked me what I think about a situation:

There is a CEO in his company who is great, intelligent, and performs good. He also has a high tendency to control everything at the most detailed level, development, accounting, application design, marketing to name a few.

The owner observations is that:

  • CEOs direct reports got used to consult with CEO on every topic. This limits their courage, and takes their energy away. They do less experimenting. They stop themselves by pondering on “What will my CEO say to this idea” instead of just trying it out, etc.
  • As a consequence of that the CEO became overloaded with work, and some processes begin to have a cycle time of a week, instead of hours which obviously slows the company down.

The question is how to enable change in the CEOs mindset? How to help my CEO see that delegating more and giving away decision making power to his subordinates will be better for a company and for the CEO as well?

Our dialog continued with me asking a few questions in return:

  • ME: Did you tried to talk to your CEO about this?
  • BusinessOwner: Ha ha, no. Not with the exact same words as I told you now.
  • ME: What do you think will be your CEOs reaction if you ask him directly?
  • BusinessOwner: Well, I think the reaction will be ok. He is still very intelligent and will probably take it ok.  
  • ME: Then go have that conversation and lets see what happens…

Many times, especially when dealing with other people, we as Business Owners are looking for advanced solutions and smart ways to achieve our goals, but going straight forward, being open and airing all your concerns with the individual can be the shortest, fastest and easiest way of getting what you want.

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