Five Ways for CEOs to Get Out of Their Own Way

Ever wonder why little has changed in your organization?

Lately I’ve noticed a pattern among CEOs that I have been in conversation with. Many cannot get out of their own way and therefore are unable to move forward. There is nothing more frustrating then knowing where you want to go and not be able to get there, especially when the buck stops with you.


Here are five ways for CEOs to get out their own way in order to increase profitability, while decreasing stress.

1. Less talking and more doing: Having the same discussion about the same people months later and wondering why nothing has changed does little to improve the condition of the organization. In fact, this approach usually makes matters worse. If you believe these people are really keepers, then provide them with the support they need to perform at their best. Otherwise, find replacements who can rapidly help you achieve your objectives.

2. Invest rather than cut: Make a list of companies that have successfully cut their way to profitability. Now think about the companies who have invested their way to profitability. Which list is longer? Most successful organizations achieve their position by investing in the organization. Think twice about your actions, before you cut your way to bankruptcy.

3. Let your people manage: Many CEOs have a difficult time letting go. In particular, those that are the founders of the company. Yet this is exactly what you must do to take your company to the next level. You cannot drive your firm forward, by sitting in both the back and front seat of the organization. Someone has to be the one looking for the next turn. That someone must be you. If you are unable to trust the people you have hired to do the jobs you need done, then it’s time to reevaluate your staff or your leadership style.

4. Find a trusted resource: CEOs waste hours of their precious time seeking input from a variety of sources before moving ahead on particular matters. This time is lost forever. What makes matters worse is when nothing is done because the CEO feels overwhelmed by the variety of opinions. Imagine how much time you could free up if you had a trusted resource you could rely upon to discuss ideas with. Consider partnering with an executive coach who can help swiftly guide you through those moments when hesitation can lead to procrastination.

5. Face your fears: Just because you are the CEO doesn’t mean that you aren’t entitled to be afraid at times. It’s what you do in these moments that count. Acknowledge what is holding you back and then make a plan to move forward. As you do so, your fear will dissipate.


You’ve worked hard to become the CEO. Now get out of your own way so that you can enjoy the success you’ve earned.

© 2011 Human Resource Solutions. All Rights Reserved.

Roberta Chinsky Matuson is the President of Human Resource Solutions and author of the new book, Suddenly in Charge! Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, January 2011). Visit Roberta’s Blog at Generations at Work or her Linked-in Group Suddenly in Charge! Sign up to receive a complimentary subscription to Roberta’s monthly newsletter, HR Matters.

About the author

For more than 25 years, Roberta Chinsky Matuson, president of Matuson Consulting, has helped leaders in Fortune 500 companies, including Best Buy, New Balance, The Boston Beer Company and small to medium-size businesses, achieve dramatic growth and market leadership through the maximization of talent. She is known world-wide as “The Talent Maximizer®.” Roberta, a leading authority on leadership and the skills and strategies required to earn employee commitment and client loyalty, is the author of the top-selling book, Suddenly In Charge: Managing Up, Managing Down, Succeeding All Around (Nicholas Brealey, 2011), a Washington Post Top 5 Business Book For Leaders.