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10 Mistakes I made as a first time CEO

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When I became a CEO for the first time, there were several things I wish I had known. These are the hard lessons learned that I discovered along the way, as I took on the role.

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10 Mistakes I made as a first time CEO

  1. 1. 10 MISTAKES I MADE AS A FIRST TIME CEO Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  2. 2. But First. I wanted to give credit to the person who inspired me to create this presentation. Miriam Isaac created the "8 Mistakes I made as a first-time UX Manager" presentation which was really well done. Thank you for the inspiration. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT For more UX tips and insights, you can follow her on Instagram @misaac85 or on LinkedIn (Miriam Isaac)
  3. 3. You made the move from management to CEO. But... Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io People look at you differently now. They used to ask “What are next quarter’s numbers?” and now they ask “Where will be in 10 years?” They used to ask “What are we doing this month”. Now, “Why are we doing it? What’s our purpose?” RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  4. 4. Hard lessons learned the hard way. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io I’m new at this. And I make mistakes. These are the 10 things I wish I had known before I accepted the role… and if I’m honest… that I am still learning to this day. If you are taking on a similar role - what do you with you had heard early on? RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  5. 5. 1. Busy is the new stupid. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io As an individual contributor on a team, or even as a team lead, I associated being busy with creating a lot of value. In this role however, being chronically busy generally means I am not focusing on the bigger picture at all. Being busy isn’t a virtue - it’s a weakness. You have to give yourself time, space, and permission to think - away from emails, meetings, twitter, and slack. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  6. 6. 2. Put your own oxygen mask on first. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io In the pre-take off safety video, we are always told to put on the oxygen mask first before helping others. But rarely do most new leaders do this. We prioritize sales, the business, and others over our own health. You need to take care of yourself in order to take care of others around you. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  7. 7. 3. Your culture is evolving, even if you invest or not. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io A company culture is always evolving. Whether you are investing in it or not - the company is changing around you. You should always be intentional about it - cultivating the culture that will bring out the best in your team tomorrow. Or it will surely move away from you. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  8. 8. 4. Celebrate failure if you want innovation. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT You can’t (nor should) but the catalyst for all innovation. But you can foster an innovative culture that experiments and takes risks. Talk about failure- openly. As CEO, the mistakes you make will be bigger than anyone else’s. If you can learn and grow from those failures - so can the team.
  9. 9. 5. Explain the problem - not the solution. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io It is tempting as the new CEO to always lay out your solution and vision. But you aren’t an oracle and all answers should not come from you. Instead, ask the right questions, define the right problems to solve, and let the team create the solutions to drive the business forward. Engage them with the problem - don’t demotivate them with only implementing your ideas. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  10. 10. 6. Being vulnerable may be more important than being right. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io When people have concerns, it is tough to say “I don’t know yet”. Being honest about a problem and asking for help to find the solution can be better than privately working on the solution and waiting to communicate the fully thought through idea. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  11. 11. 7. Delegation is a skill that must be practiced. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io Just like public speaking, delegation is a skill that must be coached, practiced, and learned. Back to mistake #1 - it is vital to give yourself time to think. And the only way to do that is to delegate effectively. It is harder than you think to delegate the right things and follow up well (without micromanaging). Ask for feedback often. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  12. 12. 8. Don’t be the first to speak. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io When a tough question is raised, or a difficult subject comes up, don’t take the bait to speak first. Let the team weigh in and encourage input around you. Don’t take the oxygen out of the room by always speaking first. Write down your ideas, and if no one else has that thought, you can always chime in later. Better still - try to go a week with only asking the right questions. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  13. 13. 9. Don’t get lonely. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io It is hard when you no longer have others in the same role, with the same pressures and responsibilities as you. As CEO, there are things you just can’t say to your employees or to your clients. You need peers, you need support, and often need space away from the office. Find a group with like minded folks you can learn from and give yourself space to learn and discuss topics openly. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT
  14. 14. 10. Growth does not equal Great. Mark Rickmeier Chief Executive Officer, Table XI www.TableXI.com www.Walkshop.io Americans have an odd understanding of success. We tend to measure everything quantitatively and equate success with financial figures and income. Ask yourself what success really looks like and what contentment feels like when you get it right. Strive to be truly successful - which may have nothing to do with top line growth or income. RESEARCH / STRATEGY / DESIGN / SOFTWARE DEVELOPMENT

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