|November 14, 2011
from the desk of Chuck Violand...
Good Monday morning, <<First Name>>—
Is it possible to be too polite in business? Does the desire to avoid conflict or to avoid offending the boss unintentionally slow the growth of the company?
Today I start a three part series that addresses the topic of CEO job performance…a topic not too many CEO’s like to discuss, but one that may have a measurable effect on the performance of one’s company.
BELCHING AT THE TABLE, Part I
by Chuck Violand...
Recently I was reading an article by Warren Buffet about the performance of many Chief Executive Officers. Just to set the record straight—if you’re the owner of a small business you’re usually its CEO. In the article Buffet bemoaned the fact that most CEO’s have no measures by which to hold themselves accountable. As appealing as this might sound to some, most of us need measures to keep us accountable for delivering the performance our companies are designed to produce.
In a small business the relationship between the CEO and his employees or his board of advisors (if he has one) is usually very congenial, as pointing out the boss’s shortcomings to his face is dangerous and therefore rarely done. As Buffet commented in his article “criticism of the CEO’s performance is often viewed as the social equivalent of belching”. This is especially true when you’re sitting at the boss’s table. The first time someone does it everyone else is shocked and can only stare in amazement. They can’t believe it actually happened. If it happens a second time the offender is usually asked to leave the table.
The same is true with managers or front line employees who criticize their boss directly. Usually they’re not long for the table. Even if the offender isn’t asked to leave it can become so intolerable being there that he frequently wishes he had.
Few CEO’s admit this condition exists and fewer yet are willing to freely give up their privileged position of non-accountability. Why would they? After all it’s their company; it’s their money; it’s their name at the bottom of the company checks. Why stir it up when you’ve got a good thing going, right?
Actually, no, it’s not right. Eventually all this non-accountability catches up with us and our company. It shows up as under-performance, stalled growth, or company failure—none of which any CEO worth his salt would accept from one of his employees. But since we have no one we’re accountable to, who’s going to challenge us?
If a company has grown to the point where it has a board of advisors to help direct the business it’s usually populated with people who know and like the owner: friends from church, business advisors, business colleagues, etc. These are usually very nice, polite people who aren’t likely to belch at the table. So, when they feel they must deliver tough advice they couch their comments in “niceness”, sometimes to the point where we completely miss their point. After all, many of us don’t “get” subtleties. We have to be hit with a ball bat to recognize when someone’s trying to tell us something.
If you look in the other direction to see who the people are who report to the CEO it’s populated with those whose pay checks they sign. This fact is not lost on them and it doesn’t take most of them very long to instinctively recognize the tell-tale signs of when they’ve belched one too many times: the boss’s glaring eyes, bulging veins in his neck, and his flushed complexion are usually dead giveaways.
So, if we can’t count on the people around us to hold us accountable in spite of all our comments about open door policies and open communication, we’ll have to rely on a different set of performance metrics to measure our effectiveness.
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this time of year
is all about Business Planning for 2012.
To help YOU
with your own planning below are the dates
of VMA programs
and events for
the coming year.
more than two decades
of consulting with businesses like yours,
actively engage the participants, promote achievement, and
in your company
AND YOUR PEOPLE
by making Violand Management Associates part of your
VMA 2012 CALENDAR OF EVENTS
RESTORATION PROJECT MGMT
RESTORATION PROJECT MGMT
THE VIOLAND EXECUTIVE SUMMIT
BUSINESS PLANNING RETREAT I
BUSINESS PLANNING RETREAT II
Captiva Island, FL
BUSINESS PLANNING RETREAT III
Captiva Island, FL
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