Half Man Half Noodle

If your CEO sucks, how would you do it differently?

When there’s an issue at work, we say “I could do their job, what an idiot!” When friends keep making the same mistakes, we say “I wouldn’t stay in that relationship!” It’s rarely that simple. We underestimate the complexity of human nature and overestimate our own ability in the same situations. How often do we make mistakes? The same mistakes that we chastise others for. How would a good leader handle the mistakes of their followers?


The highest position in an organisation is the Chief Executive Officer. You’re a CEO. The organisation you’re in charge of? It’s you. If this idea seems cheesy, it is, but hear me out. If you looked at the key elements in your life: your diet, your routine and your relationships. Do the actions you take ensure the best chances for your success? Your brain is in charge of the day to day operations of your body and its resources. Upon which success or failure largely depends.


Often you can’t get a job without having experience, and you can’t get experience without having a job. The job of being a ‘productive’ human has been thrust upon us, and we gather experience as we go. In theory, we should be masters of our own industry by now. We’ve spent our entire lives in our own bodies. Do we ever question whether the experience we have gained is valid for our current job? What if we want to take the organisation in a direction where we have no experience? Such as a new career or being a parent. How much time do we spend distraction ourselves from our experience with Netflix, alcohol or oversleeping?

Malcolm Gladwell famously wrote about the key to mastery being 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. That’s 13 months. We’ve much more experience of being ourselves than this measly 13 months, but has there been deliberate practice? So much of our lives is spent sleeping, eating and then repeating the same experiences over and over again. We drift and become complacent.

Sleeping on the job

Speaking of complacency, many people have had the same job for 20 years, with no experience outside of that company, never-mind that industry. While this may speak volumes in a company that has had a successful track record, many companies are not successful.

We often mistake time for experience. Who appears to have more experience, a person who has spent 10 years as the manager of a small company in the coffee bean industry or another who has 5 years managing different sizes of teams across industries of varying successes and difficulties? Specialising has its place, as does commitment but we need new challenges to grow. Whether that’s a new role within the same company or within a different company. Therefore we shouldn’t simply trust our emotions because they have been employed with us for 30 years, especially if they’ve been doing the same job, even more if they haven’t been doing a very good job. There’s always another way.

Characteristics of a good CEO

Courage, Passion and intensity. You want the CEO to care about the organisation. Set ambitious goals. Take initiative and capitalise on opportunity. Intensity and passion for growth makes them charismatic and persuasive. Does your CEO have these qualities?

Resilience and drive. Taking risks can lead to exponential growth or failure. A great CEO can bounce back from failure and learn from mistakes. Are you taking calculated risks or always playing it safe?

Build strong networks. Any company cannot work as a sole entity. They need good relationships with suppliers, transporters, training facilities and customers. It would be foolish to assume that they can operate totally independent.

Humble. Let the work speak for itself. A great leader should not be self-involved but be there to support the next great leaders. Boasting is often a sign of these feelings of inadequacy.

Realistic optimism. An optimistic outlook on life. The best is yet to come.

Understanding. A great CEO understands how the different components work. Researches how other organisations work for success and can handle adversity.

Coaching employees. Not every employee in the organisation will be working at full capacity. There’s real life happening that means they can’t reach their potential nor see working as their priority. Similar to how when you’re feeling sad you may not feel like socialising.

Communication with other departments

The brain is the boss but sometimes other departments make decisions without consulting the brain. In every organisation, the CEO must have staff under them, that they can trust to manage on their behalf. We can’t be everywhere at once. Our brain might trust our emotions in some instances and let them make decisions for us. But if our emotions are causing us to make poor decisions affecting the whole body then the brain must step in.

Send the CEO on a training course

If the CEO isn’t doing a great job; the company is in financial ruins, has a poor network and many departments are in a state of disrepair. You don’t have the option of firing your CEO, but, you can send them on a training course. Read books, observe others, ask for help from those who are doing well.

Let’s face it, you’re a complicated organisation and when it comes to growing, you want others to invest in you because they believe in what you are pushing for. Before anyone else can do that, you must be willing to invest in yourself.