When I was signing up for this year’s unConference, I was reminded how last year’s event was great because of the impromptu breakout sessions where it was fair game to discuss controversial subjects. I wish every founding CEO could have been at last year’s session titled, “How founding CEOs can transition from visionary to leader.” Though that was the title, it was clear from the get-go that this session was really about, “How founding CEOs can avoid getting fired before they ever make that transition from visionary to leader.” Eric Paley and Katie Rae, the session leaders, did a great job covering this controversial subject, focusing on solutions to this common problem.
For the last decade, I have been “up close and personal” with the subject of founding CEOs getting fired. As interim CEO at a half dozen companies I bridged the gap after a founding CEO was let go by his investors. And as interim COO at another half dozen companies I helped the founding CEO endure the pressures of their job. (As one founding CEO said when he called asking for help, “Des, I’m one Board meeting away from getting fired. Can you give me a hand?”)
In last year’s unConference session, people had many reasons why founding CEOs get fired “early and often.” The reasons that resonated with me are: (more…)