The One Thing CEOs Rarely Discuss But Often Struggle With…

The simple fact is that it’s lonely at the top.  

It’s hard for those who don’t run companies to understand.  Employees think the owner has it made because he/she’s the boss and makes the big money.  Even senior managers can’t understand it.  Until they move into the top job.  You have to live it to understand it.

Owning and running a company is a 24X7 job.  It’s an ongoing exercise in problem solving.  The pressure and stress can and often does take a toll.  Sleepless nights, health impact and burn out are regularly the outcome.

These symptoms are often the result when CEOs find that they have no one to turn to which is the case with nearly 2/3rds of all CEOs and company owners.  They have no one they can trust to discuss personal and business challenges.  Someone to help them separate the forest from the trees.  Spouses are rarely the answer.  They either don’t have the business or industry experience or, they are simply too biased and emotionally involved to provide balanced advice.  Subordinates usually can’t help for similar reasons.  They can be conflicted by their own ambitions, internal politics or the confidentiality required.  Lastly, friends are seldom the answer either.  Often, the challenges owners face involve matters that are confidential or outside the scope of their friends’ experience.

The fire hose of pressure and lack of a trusted advisor cause many owners to reach their limit of middle-of-the-night Head Noise.  It’s happening with alarming frequency.  Owners simply wake up one day and say “that’s it, I’m done.  I’m selling and retiring.”  Sadly, this is one of the worst possible outcomes for owners.  It usually results in one or more of the following…

·         Little advance preparation “staging” or preparing the company so that it can be sold at top value

·         Ultimately, a reduction in business value

·         Lack of a management succession plan

·         Incomplete financial or retirement plan

·         Inaccurate or non-existent trust and estate plan

·         Little or no life plan or defined life purpose once the company is sold

·         An emotional and often fractious sale and transition process

·         Worst of all, sometimes a failed sale process

The good news is, there are solutions. If only business owners would seek them out. Our experience has been those who need the help of a trusted advisor are least likely to know it, least willing to invest in the expertise but the most likely to realize top ROI on their investment.

Food for thought as we enter the new year.

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