Small Business Spoonfuls Podcast

SBS 219: 10 Things Your CEO Won’t Tell You

Hey Compliance Warriors!

In this episode we review 10 things you can be prepared for in some cases that your CEO won’t be telling you outright!

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Enjoy and until next time, Be Audit Secure!


Lisa: Welcome back to another edition of small business spoonful’s. I’m Lisa Smith

Mason :..and I Mason Merrell.

Lisa: And today we have a really cool article that I came across in business management daily.

Mason: Yep. It is secrets of a CEO: 10 things HR needs to know.

Lisa: Yeah. And so the writer of this article  talked about things that the CEO may never say to you as an HR professional, but you need to understand.

Mason: Yeah, that’s right. So there’s 10 things, as you mentioned here, and we just kind of  want to go through them and talk about them.

Lisa: Yeah. So, let’s just dive in.

Mason: Okay. So, the first one is CEOs want to concrete info before making decisions.

Lisa: Right. And so I love what the article brought out that the CEO doesn’t care if something’s gonna make your life easier or you know, like you just think it’s pretty and fancy and the newest and greatest. No, they don’t care about that. They want to know that this return on the investment is going to be real a nd that, you know, there’s gonna be some major benefit other than your ease.

Mason: Yeah, it’s all about money.

Lisa: So you think about a CEO, I mean, there are gregarious CEOs of course, but a lot of them are very structured thinkers. So when you approach a structured thinker, you need to be ready with the facts and not the emotions.

Mason: You’re not going to be all over the place with them. They want to cut and dry answer right then and there.

Lisa: Yeah, so they want it in concrete. Anyway, that’s a really great number one tip there.

Mason: Yup. Okay. So, the second one is they’re desperate for ideas and any competitive information.

Lisa: That’s right. So, HR wants to be a business partner and a lot of times we complain because we’re not taken seriously enough but what are we doing on that other side? Are we bringing ideas to the table? Maybe we are. The article here said that you’ve got to know the business. You’ve got to bring your curiosity to the meeting and share your knowledge.

Mason: Yep. It gives you a little tip here at the end of this paragraph, it says, read the same trade publications as your CEO.

Lisa: That’s right.  Find out where your CEO is trusting you know, who they’re trusting to get information and read that. And then when you come across something that they’re not reading, share that with them.

Mason: Yeah and that kind of gets your thought process in line with theirs. Right That’ll help you guys kind of be on the same page.

Lisa: Yeah. If they can see you thinking like a CEO, then they will take you more seriously.

Mason: So, this next point, it’s kind of funny, it says CEOs don’t understand what you do and they don’t care.

Lisa: So again, it goes back to HR feeling like we’ve been stuck in the basement, not taken seriously for years, which has a lot of the times it’s been true. But it says here that most CEOs wonder if HR people and understand the business or are we just all about the legal side and the emotions and the people, staff or do we actually get what we’re doing here. The mission of the business.

Mason: Yeah, exactly. So, in some ways that’s kind of good the CEO can focus on what’s going on with the business and if you’re worried about the legal side and things like that, you can kind of keep them in line. But usually they, they just really don’t care what you do in the HR department and that as long as they’re not going to be in trouble for something that you’re doing.

Lisa: Yeah. Because their attitude is: “I’m hiring you to handle that.” But then we say, you hired me to handle this, but yet you won’t implement my suggestions. Well that takes us back to maybe they don’t have faith in the fact that you get the mission of the business. So again, very good tip there.

Mason: Number four is they think of you as a cost center.

Lisa: Yeah. We really can be at times likely views like, okay, so you know, sales makes me money and the billing department makes me money and blah, blah, blah. Right? But what does HR do They cost me money. Now is that true And in all seriousness of this, is that actually true?

Mason: No, because they’re keeping you from costing more money to your business if you’re not compliant.

Lisa: Yeah and that’s why the advice here from the writer is be able to articulate what you do as it relates to the bottom line. CEO wants employees to be happy, but many times they’re looking at productivity and like we said, return on investment and what is this costing me? How is this affecting the bottom line? So, if you don’t, you’re not obviously going to be showing where you’re dragging in money, but if you can show them where you are keeping them out of court, then that contributes to the bottom line. The bottom line is that sometimes until the CEO sees your stuff save them. They won’t get it. That’s where the other tips come in handy.

Mason: Yeah, that’s right. Okay. So the next one is CEOs want to know what’s going on in the business but they don’t have enough time and then in parentheses or the skills.

Lisa: Yeah, so they want to know, so this is where want to have a regular meeting with the CEO if at all possible. They know they’re not real well versed in HR. That’s why they hired you. Or if they are versed in HR, they don’t spend their days keeping up on every little change.

Mason: Yeah. And they don’t spend their days managing the employees, usually either in the as it brings out here, they don’t know about marriages or births or major life changes that are going on in their employees lives. So, in some way they can depend on you to fill them in briefly on what’s going on.

Lisa: Yeah. Just kind of keep them up to speed and like it points out here, give them the important stuff. Don’t give him a bunch of office gossip. They don’t care about that. That just wastes their time.

Mason: That’s right. Especially if there’s an important conflict going on, like we talk about a lot on this podcast and they need to be brought up to speed on what’s going on with that.  Okay. So, number six is they may not tell you who is on their “A-Team”.

Lisa: Or which employees that they’re watching closely. So, sometimes the CEO will sit back and observe and they’ll watch you perhaps and they’ll be thinking. “You’re on my A-Team. I’m looking at you for promotions.” They’re not going to say that. So, it’s really important that we have to be useful and we have to be honest, we have to be a great source of information.  Again, not gossip and we don’t want to try to read the CEO’s mind.  Just another good one. Just keep in mind they’re watching.

Mason: Yeah, that’s right. Okay. So the number seven, this is interesting. They want you to make decisions.

Lisa: That’s right. That’s why they hired you. So, if I hire you to be my HR person and then I’m making all of the decisions for you. And you’re coming running to me with every issue expecting me to advise, you. What are you getting paid for. A lot of times it is pressuring, the CEO is like, “I don’t have time for this.“

Mason: Yeah, that’s right. Just, from a little personal experience here, I worked for a guy. I wasn’t in HR necessarily; I just was his tech and he was very disconnected from the company. He was off doing other things, traveling and all that kind of thing. But he expected me to do to basically take care of the business and he was paying me well to do that. So for that first year or two, I was like calling him all the time and he was getting really frustrated and then once I realized I needed to start making some of these decisions. Our relationship got a lot better because I took a little more charge. You need to know your place in some situations. Especially when it comes to like a big money decisions. But these little everyday decisions, if you just take care of it and handle it, your business is ultimately going to run smoother and you’re going to save a lot of time.

Lisa: Yeah, absolutely. And if you don’t feel like you can do that, you’re in the wrong job. Like in your situation you could do it. It was just not well communicated to you. And this is why it’s secrets of a CEO. They don’t always tell us these things.

Mason: That’s just one thing that’s an important thing to know, know your place, but also feel free to make those decisions if that’s what is contracted to you. Okay, number eight, they don’t feel they should have a to give performance reviews.

Lisa: Maybe you feel like the CEO needs to be stepping in and giving this great feedback to you because you give performance reviews, all these other people and you participate with supervisors and managers and, but sometimes the CEO who might be your direct supervisor is not reviewing you. You’re just going to have to be okay with that. In a perfect world, they would, but you know, encourage the big boss to give feedback that in the end if they don’t, just deal with it.

Mason: Yup, that’s right. Okay. So, number nine, they love and hate the board.

Lisa: Yes. Because the board is that thing that gets in their way sometimes. You want all of your information that you give at board meetings to be accurate and you don’t want the CEO to be criticized by the board because of the dumb things you do. At the same time, remember it’s not you and the CEO against the board.

Mason: So, it’s really important to make sure your information is accurate that you’re bringing, Okay, so number 10, they won’t tell you what’s going on at home or when they’re planning to leave.

Lisa: Yeah. So, it mentions here that often new CEOs like to bring in their own HR person. If you’ve got a CEO getting ready to exit, you may not know. You really need to take the advice here. It says, make sure you have your own plans all the time. There’s always a plan B and a plan C that need to be in place.

Mason: Yeah. Don’t rely on that. The PR, that person’s schedule. I a bell ringing back to a smaller business scale. Same thing the, this guy I worked for. He was always gone and leaving, and he never told me what was going on most of the time. Unless it was something huge. But I’d call him up and I’d be like, Hey, where are you at? He’s like, “Oh, I’m in California, I’m in Florida.” I’m like, “okay, well I guess I’m just going to make this decision and run your business for you.” So that’s just kind of bringing it down to a smaller scale. It happens in all kinds of areas.

Lisa: It does. And then when that CEO, like in his case he was the owner, but like if the CEO is not the business owner and they’re getting ready to depart for another CEO job or something else, then that incoming replacement may not want you as the HR person. I mean it’s like when a president is elected, they bring in their own administration and that previous secretary of state and all they’re gone. They’re replacing them with their own people. This is why networking is so important.  Join organizations, reach out, meet people, you know, have that plan B just in case.

Mason: Yeah, that’s right. So just don’t put all your eggs in one basket.

Lisa: Yeah. So, I think to kind of wrap up these 10 points, they’re all pretty much like what the title said. These are secrets that you won’t often be communicated to you. Don’t take anything personally. Don’t demand too much. Run your department, keep your CEO informed and be valuable.

Mason: Yeah. That’s the biggest thing is make yourself a value to those, to the organization, to where they don’t, they can’t do without you.

Lisa: Yeah or if they do send you away, you have a great resume and you can go somewhere else and say, look what I did in the previous position

Mason: Well that was an interesting little article. Glad we went through that and hopefully that’ll help other people too.

Lisa: Yeah. Well, I guess we’re done here, so it’s a wrap. Until next time, I’m Lisa Smith

Mason: and I’m Mason Merrell, be audit secure.

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