Flip Flopping CEO

When a business owner or CEO makes a decision on a direction and announces it to his team, the typical expectation is that the team will move forward with an execution plan. But what happens when, mid execution, the CEO changes his mind, reverses course and, effectively says, ‘just kidding’? 

It seems to me it is the equivalent of a train going down the track and the engine stopping too quick and then trying to reverse course. There are train cars, or in this case, people, projects and efforts strewn all over the place.

I see this situation happen over and over at some of my clients’ businesses. Since I work with multiple levels of the executive team and staff, I often get feedback from them. I see and hear everything from a massive eye roll to outright anger. The result, of course, is wasted time, energy and money. 

The longer term effect can be numerous. If the CEO is fortunate enough to have a top notch team, they figure out a way around the situation and find a successful path on their own. If it happens too often, those top notch executives will find positions elsewhere. Even worse, the replacements will be B or C players and just slug along with the flip flopping and the company remains or becomes a B or C level company.

If you are that CEO or business leader, how do you come to decisions that will drive your company into the future? Do you make these decisions unilaterally? Do you brainstorm with your team or Board of Directors? However you get there, understand that flip flopping for no good reason or the appearance of such can have long term negative effects on your team and company.

If you have no place to really vet your next strategic move, consider a peer advisory group. Vistage group members outperform their industries by over 5% year in and year out. If you want more info on peer groups give me a call. In the meantime, even though it is summertime, watch out for those flip flops.

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