Hint O’ the Day: Know When to Butt Out, Mr. CEO   January 21, 2010

January 21, 2010

CEO will work for food

This one will be short & sweet.

Are you the CEO /CFO / Director of Some Department?  Then read on.

Last night, I talked with some bigwigs who had questions about “The Google” and “twittering”.  It occurred to me that these were people that were bigshots in business, but absolute Luddites in the world of tech.  These individuals are often responsible for making the final call on the web strategy for their corporations.  Why?  Because nobody dares tell them the truth:  (sir) you don’t understand this.

The best advice I had for these guys, especially in dicey economic times, was to stand the *bleep* back.  It takes a big man to realize that his opinion, though tremendously powerful in certain scenarios, is damaging in areas in which he is ignorant.  Yeah, your dumb ego could put you out of business — hence the picture.

I think I shocked one guy when I told him (a little too enthusiastically) “You don’t HAVE to have an opinion!”  Sometimes you just need to put the trust in the developers and marketing people.  Hell, you’re paying them to do the job.  They live & breathe this stuff.  Trust your experts.  These are the people that really know how to get the job done and they will.

When project milestones are delivered to your desk, feel free to give direction, but don’t let your opinion be mistaken as an order.  LISTEN to the WHY certain decisions were made on the project.  If the presenter is too wary to offer you the WHY, then maybe you’ve fostered an environment that is more of an dictatorship than a presidency.  So guess what, big man?  You need to ask these people WHY they made the decisions they did on the project.  Asking questions can even make you seem smarter than delivering orders.  Analyze, consider, and then offer your opinion if you think it will help.  Otherwise, nod quietly.

The stand back and be amazed at some of these people’s innovative genius.

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