end game


CEO: 

I’m exhausted.  Some days it feels like I’ve been doing this job forever! I just don’t seem to have the drive any more.

Walt:

That’s a tough place to be.

CEO: 

Hey, I could use some help here — this isn't easy for me to talk about.


Walt: 

Of course, only I have to say this: there is an implied mandate for every CEO. 

You have to always be running at a pretty fast rate, non-stop, from the day you take the job until you pass the reins to someone else. 

Others can coast here and there, but not you.  You have to stay out in front of everybody else.

CEO:

Tell me about it.  I’ve been doing it for, well, it seems like forever!  


Walt: 

How old are you?

CEO:

I'm about to turn 48 — could I be getting stale?  What do you think?

Walt:

I’ve known CEOs who’ve worked into their eighties, but they are the exceptions. 

CEO:

Wait a minute, this is really depressing me.  I don’t know if I`ll make it to 50, let alone 80!


Walt:

Sounds like you might be ready to move on.

CEO:

Perhaps.  But here’s the problem: if I stay on, I could earn more because the business will be worth more five years from now.


Walt:

Maybe, but if you’re getting tired of the job... look, we all have to leave sometime.

Most professionally run organizations have succession plans for every leadership role, including the CEO.  It’s just part of being in business.  

CEO:

So I should have a plan to leave, a plan to replace myself.

Walt:

Yes you should, as should all of your leaders.


CEO:

Then there is the other problem.  I don't have a clue what I would do with myself if I weren’t running this place.

Walt:

Good to be thinking about that now then, while you have a job.

CEO:

But the question is why haven't I been able to figure that out yet?

Walt:

Because, being a CEO is hard; it’s demanding, and hugely absorbing.

Unless you had some strong outside interests before you took this on, it's unlikely you’ve had much of a chance to cultivate other interests.


CEO:

Now you're scaring me!

Walt: 

I don’t mean to.  Everyone goes through this.

First, begin work on succession planning.  That will take some time.  

While the planning is moving forward, you can do some work with yourself and your family, look at other interests, think about the future more seriously.

By starting the planning process you’ll feel better right away. 

CEO:

When can I start?

Walt:

How about right now.