The Lazy CEO Podcast

CEO Project Advisors Discuss Today’s CEO Struggles

by Aug 21, 2023The Lazy CEO Podcast

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In this episode, CEO Project Advisors Discuss Today’s CEO Struggles

  • The podcast episode features Jim Schleckser, host of “The Lazy CEO Podcast,” along with partners Pam Singleton and Julie Walker, discussing challenges faced by CEOs in growing their businesses and providing insights on leadership, succession planning, accountability, and the hiring process.
  • The discussion highlights the significance of CEO succession planning as a major obstacle, with CEOs often avoiding discussions about finding replacements. The lack of planning for succession and weak bench strength in middle management are common issues. The speakers stress the importance of hiring slow and firing fast, and emphasize the need for CEOs to adopt consistent processes for accountability.
  • The podcast delves into the complexities of hiring the right people, cautioning against being swayed solely by impressive resumes and prestigious backgrounds. It explores the differences between sales and marketing roles, advising against combining them prematurely and underscoring the distinction between external-facing sales and lead-generating marketing functions in a company’s growth strategy.

Here is a Glimpse of CEO Project Advisors Discuss Today’s CEO Struggles

In this episode of The Lazy CEO Podcast, host Jim Schleckser discusses various topics related to leadership, growth, and challenges CEOs face. He is joined by his partners, Pam Singleton and Julie Walker, who are experts in advising CEOs and working with executive teams. They talk about the obstacles CEOs commonly encounter and strategies to overcome them.

The conversation touches on several key points:

  1. CEO Succession Planning: Pam emphasizes the importance of CEO succession planning. Many CEOs fail to consider who would replace them in the event of unforeseen circumstances. The emotional attachment to the company and the fear of relinquishing power often hinder the planning process. However, grooming potential successors and having a strong bench strength is vital for long-term stability.
  2. Middle Management Development: Julie discusses the significance of building strong middle management. This layer of leadership often gets overlooked, but it plays a crucial role in the organization. Investing in middle management development, coaching, and giving them opportunities to grow helps ensure a strong foundation for organizational success.
  3. Navigating External Disruptors: The discussion also focuses on how CEOs need to adapt to external disruptions, especially technology-related ones. Embracing technologies like AI can lead to enhanced productivity and efficiency. The conversation emphasizes the importance of CEOs leading this transition and fostering a culture of innovation.
  4. Accountability and Hiring Decisions: The partners emphasize the challenges of holding executives accountable and making wise hiring decisions. They discuss how to identify skilled and culturally aligned individuals with the company. They also highlight the pitfalls of hiring based solely on impressive resumes and titles, emphasizing the need to assess practical skills and alignment with the company’s culture.
  5. Hiring Process and Mistakes: The conversation delves into the hiring process and common mistakes CEOs make. The partners suggest that CEOs must understand the difference between skill and will—technical competence and a genuine desire to perform the job effectively. The importance of an outcomes-based job description and the distinction between sales and marketing roles are also explored.
  6. Handling Difficult Decisions: Another topic discussed is addressing difficult decisions, such as terminating an underperforming executive. CEOs are encouraged to address these issues promptly rather than letting them fester. Learning from these experiences is crucial for growth and future decision-making.

Throughout the podcast, the hosts provide insights and practical advice for CEOs seeking to overcome challenges, build strong leadership teams, and foster sustainable growth within their organizations.

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Sponsor for this episode…

This episode is brought to you by The CEO Project. The CEO Project is a business advisory group that brings high-caliber, accomplished CEOs together. Our team of skilled advisors is comprised of current and former CEOs who have run both public and private sector companies across multiple industries. With our experience and expertise, we guide hundreds of high-performing CEOs through a disciplined approach that resolves constraints and improves critical decisions. The CEO Project has helped high-performing, large enterprise CEOs with annual revenues ranging from $20M to over $2 billion to drive growth and achieve optimal outcomes. If you are an experienced CEO looking to grow your company, visit