My Last Year…

Once again, my friend, a senior executive heading the US subsidiary of a foreign company, has sent  along a brief but pointed update to his prior anonymous posts (see My Boss is an Idiot’ and My Boss is PMSing (Putting More Stress) on the Leadership Team)  that he’s shared with Oak & Apple Partners over the past couple of years.  He’s  analyzing his current assessment of his situation and especially of his boss.  Read on!

To remind you, 2014 was coined by my CEO as the “Year of Execution”. It turned out to be the “Year of Executions” (in business we refer to it more politely as Terminations).

2015 has been coined by my CEO as the “Year of Accelerated Growth”. So far, it’s been a year of accelerated decline with both sales plummeting and losses continuing to mount.

You may ask why yourself, “Why does this CEO continue to fail?

In my view, these are the major areas that he and, by extension, the company have failed to address:

  • He did not solve the Strategic challenges that the company had prior to his arrival:
    • We still do not excel in solving specific customer problems better than our competitors.
    • We still try to be too many things to too many customers/verticals/geographies, and therefore lack focus.
    • Our main markets are becoming increasingly more competitive and bloody ‘red oceans’. We desperately need to re-think our strategy and create a plan to move to more lucrative markets.
  • He also created new Strategic challenges that we did not have prior to his arrival:
    • He broke the trust and loyalty we shared with our own employees.
    • He created uncertainty and misalignment with our long-term partners.
    • He created a stressful and fearful environment for both management and employees.

As a result, morale is now as low as I’ve ever seen in this company!

My Last Year? No, I’m not dying. I sense that 2015 will be my last year reporting to my CEO. One of us is not going to survive this year, at least not in his current capacity.

I think this person is going to be me!

I am optimistic about my future. My options. My horizon. It’s time to start working on new initiatives.

Are you a CEO?  What’s your reaction to this situation? What would you do if your employees perceived you this way?

Are you a senior executive with a CEO like my friend’s?  Do you have any advice for him?

About Ken Drossman

Ken Drossman is a Managing Director at Oak & Apple Partners, LLC. Ken has spent more than 35 years demonstrating practical financial acumen by leading, advising and guiding privately-owned, small and middle-market companies through financial and operating challenges. He has in-depth experience in all phases of financial, strategic and operating management from hands on cash flow budgeting through acquisition financing, from divestiture of business units to reorganizing and leading newly formed companies. Prior to co-founding Oak & Apple Partners, Ken has been the principal at Lakeview Business Consulting, LLC, which assists entrepreneurial business owners and their companies in achieving their business vision. Ken earned both his undergraduate and graduate degrees from The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. Before founding Lakeview Business Consulting in 2006, he served for 18 years as CEO, COO and/or CFO at several privately-owned companies, in industries including financial services for hospitals; digital document storage and outsourced back-office services for professional service firms; design and distribution of personal business accessories through big-box retailers; capital goods manufacturing for national and regional retail chains; and information services for beverage alcohol manufacturing and marketing companies. Previously, Ken was a Partner at Grant Thornton, LLP, where he provided management consulting services to such companies as AT&T, Baxter Laboratories and GTE-Sylvania, as well as many middle-market companies.
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