Even as CEO, in certain situations you should consider if there’s a better job out there for you.
There comes a time in every CEO’s career when they need to exit their position.
Yes, there are plenty of examples of CEOs who keep the post for 30 years or more. But the average tenure for a chief executive is just five years, according to PWC, and there’s a reason for that. At some point, every CEO faces the question of whether it’s finally time to take the off-ramp and leave the company.
But how do you decide when it’s time? There are three key topics you can consider to help determine the answer.
1. You’re out of ideas
All of us can relate to the experience of starting a new job and being filled with energy and new ideas. The possibilities of what you can do can seem endless, and the exciting ideas can flow like water. Your organization might even struggle to keep up with all of them, especially during the first 12 to 18 months you take the job.
2. You’re low on energy
We all have energy when we start a new job. There’s so much to learn and so many people to meet. It’s exciting and energizing, especially if it connects to your passion and it’s a place you want to be. You can’t wait to wake up each and every morning and get back to work.
On the flip side, we have all worked in a job we hate. One where the clock can’t tick fast enough before the day is over, and you can go home and do something you actually enjoy. The catch is that if you feel that way about your job and you’re the CEO, everyone in the organization knows it. It becomes a kind of negativity that infects everyone. That’s why it’s important to check your own energy level and see how you feel about your job.
To be fair, everyone can have a bad day. But if you find your energy level lacking for a week, a month, or longer, then it might be time to ask if the job is a fit for you anymore. After all, life is too short to waste on doing something you hate.
3. You’re not being paid enough for your work
I recognize that very few people, especially CEOs, think about money as their first priority when it comes to doing their job. Very few of us are driven by greed, and most of us have much higher goals and ambitions.
You can imagine how demotivating that is to the current leadership team. They have been working hard to grow the value of the business, but the investors are the ones who will reap most of the rewards from that work. That’s why I won’t be surprised if the CEO and other leaders choose to move on to another job where they can be more fairly compensated for their work.
So, if you ever find yourself wondering if it might be time to move on from your current CEO role, or if you’re a board member evaluating the current leadership of a company, consider these three factors: Is the leader still generating new ideas, adding energy to the organization, and fairly compensated? If you find yourself answering no to one or more of these factors, it might be time to make a clean break and start anew. In fact, it might be the best move for everyone involved.