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Life as a new CEO

August 27, 2020

Life as a new CEO can be lonely!

Here are 5 common challenges a new CEO’s can experience and the steps you can take to navigate them.

Challenge 1.  

As a CEO you will likely have an established reputation in a particular function, for example, finance, sales or operations. This can bias the way your decisions are perceived.

Overcome this by developing a more balanced, organisational-wide perspective, and proactively manage the visibility of your interests in other functional areas.

Challenge 2.

As a new CEO, you may have to make decisions that directly conflict with senior managers who backed your ascendance, expecting something in return.

Navigate through the politics by demonstrating that your decisions will be based on objective drivers and a wider vision, for the good of the whole organisation. Reach out to leaders across the business to engage their support.

Challenge 3.

Often your promotion to the top position means that former colleagues were not selected. This can lead to unspoken rivalry, indirect power struggles and backroom conversations between the senior team.

Stay on the front foot by having a direct conversation with each individual. Talk about how things were and discuss how things will need to change. A balance of professional humility emphasising how you will need them on the team, married with a clear vision about the bigger picture sets the stage. From there you can listen to their views and concerns to see if you can build a new working relationship. If that is not possible, you may have to make the consequences of the change clear.

Challenge 4.

As a new CEO you might feel under pressure to make lots of changes.

Mitigate this by balancing the quick wins with the longer view. Often it depends on the capabilities of the people and business around you, to know how quickly and much you can change. It’s not just about your appetite for change but how ready the business is.

Challenge 5.

A new CEO can sometimes fall foul of a confusing transition as the outgoing CEO hands the reigns over. Sometimes it's not clear who is in charge.

Overcome this confusion by creating a clear transition plan, with clear transition steps, involving feedback from the senior leadership team.

An executive coach can help you spot the challenges and sanity check your strategy. With direct and early feedback from your coach and the team about how you are doing, you can make quick adjustments that address issues while they are small.

Are you a new CEO or senior leader?
What are the biggest challenges you face? 
How can you insure you perform at your best?

Get in touch to find out more about executive coaching


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