A Survival Guide For New CEOs Who Aren’t Experts

Being the CEO of a company is not easy. A recent study by McKinsey & Company and HBR (Havard Business Review) reveals that in America, the turnover of CEOs is around 50%, and around 75% of the CEOs are considered failing within 18 months of their joining. They further added that more than 90% of the CEOs wished they had managed their transition differently. 

The most successful new CEOs make their impression in the first 100 days of joining, setting the tone for their tenure. As CEO, you will not have a second chance to make a strong impression. This read is a survival guide for new CEOs to create a strong impression in their first 100 days of joining.

Prepare Thoroughly

As a new CEO, you must first thoroughly analyze your competitive environment, such as keeping an eye on economic trends, analyzing competitors’ strategies, understanding emerging technology, etc., and ensure that you are well-rested before taking up the position. Taking on a leadership role and meeting a company’s requirements and expectations can be stressful, so make sure you take a long vacation to prepare yourself before taking up the CEO position. 

Not Making It About You

With great power comes great responsibilities.” 

This tip in our survival guide for new CEOs ensures that you don’t lose track of yourself. The day you become CEO of any company, you start getting a lot of attention, and most of the time, it may even change your reality. With this much power and distortion, you may lose track and start making everything about you. To become a successful CEO, it is important not to let this happen. Piyush Gupta, CEO of DBS Bank, said, “Every time you say or do something, it’s got a massive consequential effect. The whole company pivots.

He added that by asking questions like these, one can stay on track and not make it about themselves-

  •  “What organizational purpose do I serve?” instead of ‘What legacy will I leave?’
  • “How will we respect our past while accelerating or disrupting our future?” instead of ‘What is broken that needs fixing?’ 

Move Slow To Move Fast

One needs to be a good student because there are a lot of things one can learn,”- Keppel Corporation CEO Loh Chin Hua.

New CEOs are generally eager to establish themselves as an industry leader and start making decisions without considering the opinions of others. They even start focusing and leading from the area of their expertise, but this is not a good practice. As per Steinburg, a CEO must be like a “Sponge,” and he should be taking advice from his board and observing what is going on before making any broad decision. Following this tip of our survival guide for new CEOs will ensure that you won’t make any premature or rash decisions. 

Nailing Your firsts

If you come in new, it is easy for the cynics within the business to say, ‘This person really doesn’t understand why we do things in a certain way, so we will sit back and watch them fail,’” – Alison Watkins

Another piece of advice in our survival guide for new CEOs is to make sure that you are making a strong impression right from the beginning. It will send a strong signal that you are here to lead. Remember, everyone, including the ones you have already worked with, is now forming your perception of the CEO; you would not like to ruin it. Within the first 100 days of your joining, make sure you are able to establish your vision and get people on board.

Work On Area Of Maximum Impact

“It is very easy to feel like you have to work really hard, impress people, and sacrifice the balance in your life. [But] if you have the right balance in your life, you can deal with pretty much anything that comes your way,” — Watkins

It is tempting to take on each responsibility and try to do everything yourself, but this ultimately starts a domino effect that leads to your own doom. This is the final piece of advice in our survival guide for new CEOs: make sure that you are taking up the responsibility in your area of expertise where you can create maximum impact, establish clear boundaries, and stay true to it. Also, you should be able to place the right talent at the right place and should be able to drop the members from the team who are not able to perform very well. 

What Makes A Great CEO?

Our survival guide for new CEOs already mentions the steps and tips you can follow to survive as a new CEO, but there is a great difference between a good CEO and a great CEO. A great CEO is someone who always thinks ahead and prioritizes knowledge transfer. A great CEO understands the value of transferring knowledge and ensures that he provides enough space, context, and permission for others to share their knowledge. 

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