Top 10 Ways to Tick Off CEOs


If you aren’t concerned about ticking off the CEO, you should be. It’s easy to irritate high level leaders who operate in high pressure environments, especially if you aren’t part of the inner circle.

Senior leaders expect mid-levels to prove their value and earn their place; they did. They can smell a sense of entitlement and it makes them sick.

Mike Myatt’s top 10 ways to tick off CEOs:

  1. Waste their time.
  2. Present spin and half-truths.
  3. Serve up opinions as facts.
  4. Promote yourself, blatantly.
  5. Offer ideas and initiatives not in alignment with corporate values and vision.
  6. Disregard corporate culture.
  7. Overlook resourcing realities.
  8. Poor timing.
  9. Lack of impact awareness across the enterprise.
  10. Propose all strategy and no tactics and vice-versa.

The number one CEO irritant is time wasters. “Waste their time twice and you’re done.” John Spence.

Time wasters aren’t prepared.

Hone your idea and your presentation. Warning! Your ideas sound great until you present them in the CEOs office.

John Spence’s top 10 tips for presenting to CEOs:

  1. Great ideas are easily communicated.
  2. Simplify complexity.
  3. Offer clear bullet points.
  4. Explain impact.
  5. Describe differentiation.
  6. Highlight return on investment.
  7. Define profits.
  8. Outline savings.
  9. Speak briefly; nothing more than three minutes, initially.
  10. Pull out the full version after the short version flies.

Time wasters can’t explain compelling value.

Dr. John Snyder said, “Be prepared to clearly explain the compelling value your idea creates for customers. I’m looking for data driven value generation.”

Organizational values define compelling value.

“The second most important value is greater employee engagement.” Snyder obviously values engagement. Wise mid-levels speak to values.


What ticks senior leaders off?

What’s convincing to senior leadership?


More on connecting with the C-Suite, tomorrow. Thanks to the following leaders for their interviews. (Listed in order of their interview):

Doug Conant
John Bell
Steve Farber
John Spence
Mike Myatt
Facebook contributors
John Bernard
Dr. John Snyder


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