CEO keeps investors even after losing top performer

Written on:October 11, 2012

How a CEO’s careful decision-making enhances investor relations.



A publishing company in the eastern United States in the midst of bankruptcy proceedings lost its top-performing general manager (GM). This high achiever made more money for the organization than the organization’s other two GMs combined.

“Dave,” the CEO who started with the company only a few months prior, had brought in investors who could buy and build the company. But, with the top-performer leaving in the middle of the deal, the CEO needed to explore ways to communicate the loss to the investors and receive their buy-in for moving forward.



Dave felt inclined to immediately call the investors to let them know. He was known for making quick decisions, which often required backpedaling after the fact. I held one meeting with him and advised him to take the time to think through the situation first and come up with a plan to remedy the situation.

He was very receptive as we talked through and role played what he needed to do. I helped him see how the investors might react to different approaches. He quickly realized he needed to finalize discussions with a possible GM candidate, whom he had interviewed but not yet hired.

Dave presented to the investors the loss of the GM along with the news that he had secured a viable replacement.



Going through this process helped Dave slow down his decision making, which increased his ability to more consistently make quality and balanced decisions. He recognized the speed of his past decisions created an unstable work environment, especially when they required reversal. He also saw the need to gather more information before he decided something on the spot.

This one small change in his communication style allowed Dave to come up with a better “sell” to the investors. They stayed on board and supported him. Plus, his new style helped him grow the business steadily as it moved forward.

Dave later recommended me to another client.

When a critical decision presents itself, do you have the skills allowing you to stop, take a breath, and gather enough information to make a good decision?

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