The Lazy CEO Podcast

Middle Managers with Dave Fechtman

by Nov 21, 2022The Lazy CEO Podcast

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Middle Managers Episode at a Glance:

  • The importance of Middle Managers in an organization as it grows to over 100 employees
  • The impact of external hires or promoting too quickly
  • Accountability and employee development

In this episode…

We have talked before about the criticality of management, as we talk about business model processes and leadership or talent, everybody’s happy to spend on their executive team and get these A-players. Everybody’s happy to go hire people that are sort of billable, and customer-facing, but once you cross about a hundred people, the distance between those two spreads enough that you must have people in the middle. And as entrepreneurs, it is not an appealing place for us to spend time, effort, and money. And yet, it can put a nail in your tire and really screw you up. So this episode is focused on what it does it do to your company if you don’t, and what are the implications? And then we will get into how to make it better.

When organizations grow and that need arises, generally they’ll do a few things. One is they’ll ignore it and they’ll just overburden the executive team. What we most commonly see is a spoke and hub where all decisions run back and forth between the CEO or the leaders directly involved in decision-making in one way or another. Or we see a flat organization, maybe some supervisors, the CEO’s direct reports. With either one of those models, you start to see a lot of constraints. You start to see a lot of slow down, burnout, and overwhelm. So, what organizations often do is they’ll hire externally because they begin noticing that there’s a need and you lose institutional knowledge or you promote somebody too soon or they haven’t been fully developed, now you’re having to backfill the best person in that department who now doesn’t know how to lead effectively, and the whole thing becomes problematic.

The best way to avoid this issue is to know your organization. Who is ready to move in the next 12 months, or in the next 3 to 5 years? So the real question is, how do you get someone ready?

There are two ways to develop your talent – providing them with Professional Development. The first is technical expertise through certifications, conferences, and job training. The second is leadership development. There are a number of ways to go about providing leadership development. Nothing beats one on one interactions. CEOs should skip levels and spend time with people two levels below. Experience what someone is good or bad at yourself. Start giving them small bite-size challenges.

This episode of the Lazy CEO Podcast will answer these questions and more.

  • What do you do when you promote somebody and six months in you realize you made a mistake?
  • 4 ingredients to effective accountability – Clarity, Responsibility, Deadline, and Reward
  • Tools for assessing middle managers – Nine Box, 70-20-10

Resources mentioned in this episode:

Thank you to our Guest

Dave Fechtman

Velocity Advisory Group brings extensive experience in strategic consulting, executive coaching, and developing the people side of the business. They partner with clients to accelerate performance by helping them achieve clarity and make better decisions by empowering teams and organizations. Dave is recognized for his ability to immerse himself in a wide variety of businesses and to approach each company’s challenges as if they are his own. He has the unique ability to connect with his clients on both a professional and a personal level, which has led to his becoming a de facto member of the leadership team for many of the companies he serves.

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