January 30, 2023

No, everyone shouldn’t report to the CEO


Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

Unless you love corporate jockeying and no growth

“The head of [insert your function here] should report to the CEO.”

I’ve seen this a gazillion times on social. It’s the rallying cry for every function who feels they don’t have enough say in the direction of the business. (Read: every function.)

COO, CFO, CTO wasn’t enough so we added CMO and CHRO. The dual acronyms add to the confusion: CRO (Revenue or Risk?), CCO (Compliance or Creative?). You got the C peeps not yet mainstream enough for letters alone so we spell them out (Chief Growth Officer, Chief Diversity Officer.)  Your Presidents, EVPs and “Heads of” round it all out.

(Side note: I’ve argued for a Chief Hiring Officer since to build and sell a product, you need people to do it. And yes I’ll die on this hill.)

That’s a lot of leaders.

Not to diminish anyone’s importance, but it raises a question: if all these people report to the CEO, what the hell happens when she’s on vacation?

And when he’s around: how does he pick and choose who he listens to? The one with the best data? Or the closest personal friendship?

Making all your group leaders compete for 1 person’s attention = rampant corporate jockeying.

And the least damning downside of everyone-reports-to-the-CEO: if someone – anyone – has a boatload of reports and the meetings that go with it, how do they get any actual work done?

Hirewell recently became an EOS shop (Entrepreneurial Operating System. Yes, more abbreviations in this piece.) The short short version of EOS: streamline the org chart by creating a leadership team that divides core areas of the org (sales & marketing, ops, finance). But communicates effectively via regular, non-waste-of-time meetings.

Everyone is on the same page with key priorities. Challenges are divided and conquered. More viewpoints are considered. We get more done, faster.

And we can now scale without Matt Massucci working 80 hours a week.

Tldr: Making more people report to the CEO is not a solution. It’s actually THE problem.

This isn’t an EOS sales pitch and I have no stake, but if you’re a business owner who struggles to grow because it’s becoming too much to manage, hit me up. Happy to refer you to someone who can help.

Partner at Hirewell. #3 Ranked Sarcastic Commenter on LinkedIn.

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