The Connection Magazine AIM MUTUAL Fall 2019 - Page 11

TALK TO CEOS Too often CEOs are part of the problem – they punish open, prompt communications when people say they discovered a problem. What can a manager do who is aware of a serious problem but hasn’t yet dug into it and hasn’t notified the CEO? Manage his or her boss, the CEO. Here’s an example: Early in his career Bob Smith, Division VP at Acme (names changed), was offered a promotion to Division President. Bob would report to a CEO who, if he thought a division president was hiding anything, would send an army of analysts to question everyone. Bob knew this. Shortly after Bob was promoted to Division President he said to the CEO, “I know you hate to get negative surprises, so I promise that within an hour of my learning of a serious problem (and taking that hour to verify it), I’ll let you know what I know. And I ask a favor of you – please give me a day or so after that to investigate why it occurred and then I’ll get back to you, hopefully with what should have been done to prevent it, what we’re doing to correct it, and how we’ll prevent a recurrence.” Bob never was visited by that “army” of analysts. He managed his boss, the CEO, well. Hopefully this has been helpful advice: 1. Answer the CEO’s questions directly; 2. Get to the point. When CEOs asks the time, tell them; do not explain how to build a watch. 3 . Don’t hide problems from the CEO. Manage the CEO by asking for a day to research the problem. Dr. Brad Smart Dr. Brad Smart is an internationally renowned management psychologist and is generally regarded as the world’s leading expert on hiring best practices. The company consults with many leading companies and hundreds of small and growth companies. Brad has conducted in-depth interviews with over 6,500 executives. He is author of seven books and videos, including Topgrading 3rd Edition: The Proven Hiring And Promoting Method That Turbocharges Company Performance; The Smart Interviewer: Tools and Techniques for Hiring the Best; and the training series Topgrading Toolkit, featuring the 12 Topgrading hiring steps and demos of all the interviews. Topgrading methods have helped leading companies such General Electric, Honeywell, Barclays, and American Heart Association plus hundreds of small and mid-sized companies improve their hiring methods. Topgrading.com 11