Let's Talk


Be the grown-up in the room

by | Jun 9, 2019 | CEO Role, Management Issues

It should be comforting for you to know that no CEO is ever completely certain that they’re doing the right thing at the moment they’re doing it.

But the successful ones move ahead anyway, and watch to see what happens. They learn from what they see, make adjustments and continue moving forward.


Each of us is surprised to be the grown-up in the room. How did we get there? Has there been some enormous mistake? Will we be found out?

Someone I know sold his very successful business to a Fortune 100 company. He took on a senior role at the acquiring company – as CEO of a successful division. He had gone to Stanford Business School, and had built a successful career at two well-known companies before taking over his family’s business.

One day, he was invited into a senior management meeting, and the Global CEO announced that the company was building a new strategic plan. My friend was curious about the company’s strategic direction and was delighted to be included in the meeting.

At that moment, the CEO turned to him and said “Alex, (not his name, of course) I’d like you to lead the strategic planning process.” Suddenly, my friend realized that, somehow, he had become the grown-up none of us ever fully expects to be.

Doubts come with the job

Every one of us has some doubts — about our ability, our training or our judgment. Each of us is a little surprised to find ourselves in the senior position we’re in.

Has there been some enormous mistake? Will we be found out?

Of course no one has the perfect training, the perfect experience or the perfect judgment. But you’re the CEO anyway — so stop worrying so much and give yourself permission to do your job.

You’re the grown-up in the room

It’s not a mistake. No one else was chosen. You’re the CEO.

It’s time to start acting like it.

Take a deep breath and look around. It’s not a mistake: No one else was chosen. You’re the grown-up in the room. Now it’s time to start acting like it.

Choose a few things that will make a real difference in your company’s results and get to work. Today is a good day to start!


  • List of Categories

Recent Posts

Turn Opportunities into Results

As the CEO, you have to create opportunities, and turn those opportunities into results. That’s easy to say… but much harder to do…

Add staff during a downturn? YES!

It was smart to “right-size” your company during the Covid-19 crisis, but are you disappointing customers by working with too small a staff?

No more POOPP

Most CEOs are so busy dealing with other people’s issues that they don’t have enough time to focus on their own priorities.

Strategic plans? Bah, humbug!

Strategic plans fail way too often — for lots of reasons. Maybe you should consider a more practical operational plan instead.

Don’t be too patient. You can start improving your results this month!