Faking it At Work
I just finished reading an interesting article on ABC:
Silicon Insider: Faking It, CEO Style
“So, am I then claiming that CEOs aren’t faking it when they claim to be leading their companies? On the contrary, my experience tells me that they are faking it all the time. And that it is a good thing that they do â€” at least for the rest of us.
Masking Sheer Terror
Being around CEOs a lot, I get the chance to see them off the job, away from the public eye, and, occasionally, even when they take off their masks. And I can tell you that most of them are utterly terrified. They know fully well that the decisions they make put at risk the careers and lives of thousands of their employees â€” and that most of the time they will have to make those decisions based on incomplete, even false, information, in an unpredictable marketplace, against ruthless competitors. Many of them don’t feel smart enough for the job, most of them don’t feel experienced enough, and all of them don’t feel wise enough.
But they also know, almost instinctively, that to admit any of these doubts would not only be career suicide, but, ironically, the most irresponsible decision they could possibly make for the organization. We all know that the big boss is a human being, complete with human foibles and fears â€” we even laugh over anecdotes underscoring that fact â€” but God help us all if the CEO actually comes out from behind the pinstripes to be revealed as a scared rabbit who is not really sure if the next big company initiative is actually going to work. After all, if the boss isn’t sure the damn thing is doable, why should we be?”
I cannot say that I am surprised by this, but it is a little reassuring because there are times when I really am just winging it. I am relatively good at what I do, but there have been so many occasions when I am not sure what to do and just kind of shrug my shoulders and move ahead.
Most of the time it works out, but every now and then my decision can be classified as horrible and then I placed in a position in which I have to fix it and that can be awfully unpleasant. But I do it in large part because I want to be able to look my children in the eye.
It is not like they would know that I took a shortcut or did this or that, but I just feel better knowing that if they could see inside my head they would see that I practice what I preach.
Zoe Strickman July 29, 2005 at 2:06 am
I feel it is best to lead the way you do.