And the Biggest CEO Fear Is . . .

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
February 24, 2015

Not PR nightmares, not market crashes, not natural disasters. Not even the death of the business. The most common CEO fear, according to research by Roger Jones of consulting firm Vantage Hill Partners, is being found to be incompetent.

The finding comes from Jones’s 2014 survey of 116 CEOs and other executives, including in-depth interviews with twenty-seven of them. (His research contains many other insights on CEO fears, and you can read about it here.)

In many ways, the top honors awarded to fear of incompetence is the most surprising angle of the research. Don’t CEOs land their spots because of their confidence and competence?

“Imposter syndrome,” where we feel the façade will be ripped away at any moment, exposing us as a fraud, afflicts people in all kinds of roles, from parent to public speaker. But when you’re the CEO—when your job performance is scrutinized to the last detail by employees, customers, analysts, and the general public—the fear of incompetence can become overwhelming.

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Want OKRs to Work at Your Company? Make Sure You're Asking This Question.

Mason Hale

Posted by Mason Hale
February 20, 2015

Google, Zynga, Sears. Thanks in part to names like these, OKRs, or “objectives and key results,” have taken off in the past couple of years. Since 2013, more and more companies are integrating this system into their culture and operations. 

The popularity is earned. Lightweight and adaptable, OKRs represent a powerful way to think about alignment and execution within a company.

At Khorus, our mission is to help align every employee’s work with the top corporate objectives, and that’s precisely what OKRs do. However, we’ve identified a simple practice that can take the system to the next level. 

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The Surprising Power of a Good Org Chart

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
February 18, 2015

Org charts might seem like a stodgy detail, but they play a vital role in the high-performing company.


 

In the history of business, we’ve come up with many ways to make the organizational chart more approachable.

There is the upside-down kind, with the CEO at the bottom. There is the interactive digital kind. And then there is the cutesy kind, like Martha Stewart Omnimedia’s, where each manager was represented by a different kind of tree. (Martha herself was a beech, described by an accompanying caption as “the mother tree . . . one of the most beautiful and popular of the shade trees.”)

Though I’ve never assigned myself a botanical identity, I have been known for my own org-chart quirks. In my role as CEO of NetQoS, I managed to fit all 250 employees on a double-sided piece of 11×17 paper that I carried around with me everywhere, and personally updated with each new hire.

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CEO Best Practices #15: Build the Culture

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
February 13, 2015

Here are 3 ways to master the final entry in my list of CEO best practices: building a great culture

 

 

No list of CEO best practices would be complete without a mention of culture. What exactly is culture, though? And how much does a good CEO need to meddle with it?

I like the simplest definition: how things get done in an organization.

That includes how people communicate, how leaders build and develop teams, and how coworkers collaborate—or don’t. It defines the employee’s experience, and it heavily influences the customer’s experience.

Every company has a culture (or multiple cultures), whether it’s developed on its own or been actively nurtured. It is the role of the CEO to create the backbone of culture. It’s a major responsibility, so think carefully about the type of culture you want to set.

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Boost Company Performance by Helping Your Employees Say No

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
February 5, 2015

When employees say yes to too much, their work suffers—along with the performance of the whole organization.

Imagine you have a new marketer at your company. 

Up and running for a few weeks now, Sarah has impressed her peers and senior employees with her insight and work ethic. This morning, she’s got several requests in her inbox:

  • from her boss, to start digging in on a new research project;
  • from the sales team, for a piece of copy;
  • from the communications manager, for ideas for an upcoming email campaign—“if you have time,” the email says.

On top of that, she’s still got new-hire materials to read, the day-to-day minutiae of her role, and some ideas of her own she hopes to flesh out and present to her boss soon.

What does Sarah do?

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CEO Best Practices #14: Emotional Intelligence

Joel Trammell

Posted by Joel Trammell
February 2, 2015

To get the most out of your people, you have to be sensitive to emotions.

 

 

Early in my career, I thought nearly every business problem could be solved analytically. Maybe it was my engineering degree, but when I graduated and started working in real-world organizations, I approached issues as puzzles to be solved: if I gathered enough data and analyzed the parts close enough, I thought I could arrive at a rational solution.

How wrong I was.

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