Sunday’s WSJ featured a piece on CEO pressure turning up in 2014.  

We talked to TrustedPeer Expert and CEO Philip Bouchard about what CEOs can do to manage the pressure they are under.  Here are 5 simple rules, garnered in a 30-minute Expert Session.

  1. The primary responsibility of the board of directors is to hire and fire the CEO.  The tool the board has is blunt, so it needs attention.
  2. The biggest mistake a CEO can make is to over-promise on your plan.  Be realistic and push back on pressure if the expectations feel unreasonable.
  3. Managing the board isn’t about personal relationships; it’s about trust and straightforward information. This means open communications for both good news and bad.  A board member should never hear news about the company from a third party. Never.
  4. Board-level communications should always be inclusive.  Send an email to all board members stating that you will call each of them over a specified time-frame.  Phone or face-to-face is the only way effective board-level communication should happen.
  5. Use the board to manage strategy, not the details.  You don’t want to ask the board's advice about managing the company; they can hire a new CEO to do that.  You want to talk about your plan, how the company is performing, and what you see coming. Board members respect solid, well-thought-through arguments in which the CEO takes a position and provides a risk assessment.

If you do all of the above, your performance as CEO will burnish board members’ reputations with investors and limited partners. 

Make them look good!

Ultimately, straight talk and predictability earn trust and respect. 

If you need consulting on business management, contact TrustedPeer Expert Philip Bouchard.