3 Most Common Mistakes of New CEOs

by Howard Shore, Date: Dec 12, 2011

3 Most Common Mistakes of New CEOs

For some, the goal of running a company as its CEO is a life-long dream that takes decades to realize. After years of leading various departments or divisions of a company, the role of CEO may seem like the natural progression and a step that is well deserved.

Some reach the CEO status early in their careers, and others at the end. Regardless of when the appointment occurs, there are definitely pitfalls to finally being passed the “baton of power.”

In my line of work, I’ve consulted with many CEOs—newbies and seasoned veterans alike. Nobody’s perfect. We all have skills and leadership issues that need to be honed and improved (even me!). But there are three areas that I see new CEOs struggling with the most.

CEO Mistake 1: Poor Strategy.

Strategy is not vision. A new CEO may have a vision for what they want the company to become, but that is not a solid, thoroughly researched business strategy. Until the vision is deconstructed, shared with the leadership team, and used to write a smart strategy complete with goals, tactics, timelines and metrics, it’s just a pie-in-sky ideation that has little potential to lead the company to success.

CEO Mistake 2: Bad Communication of Goals.

A CEO’s job is to lead the entire organization to the successful completion of the business strategy. If employees don’t understand the company goals, and more importantly, how they contribute to those goals, then there will be no consensus or focus to their work. That is certainly not the recipe for success. If you don’t communicate those goals to them, who will?

CEO Mistake 3: Overconfidence in Own Judgment.

It’s easy for a new CEO to get a little drunk on the rush of power and responsibility when they are placed at the head of a large company. Many feel they have worked so hard to get where they are, that they deserve the unwavering and unquestioning support and admiration of everyone in the company. Don’t go there. CEOs who are over-confident tend to miss the really brilliant ideas and insights that can come from every level in the company. The worst thing a new CEO can do is close their eyes to the challenges, opportunities and ideas coming from within the company—no matter where or who they came from.

What CEO mistakes have you seen?

About the Author

Howard Shore is a business growth expert who works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please visit his website at activategroupinc.com or contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7216 or email him.