The CEO and the new BMW

Posted by Eric S. Pelletier

You’ve made it. You’re finally at the helm of this company or this Business Unit. Your new appointment crowns many years of hard work, and a bit of luck. You’ve read HBR articles in detail and a swarm of your favorite consultants are sending you congratulations notes.

In many ways, the situation is comparable to when you got delivery of your brand new BMW. It’s always a bit intimidating getting into a new car. The smell of leather and glue is nicely intoxicating but you worry about the controls. It would be silly to stall, or worse crash, as you take your first turn outside the dealership.

You know how to drive. You got your license eons ago, much like your forgotten MBA or engineering degree. You’ve driven thousands of miles on all types of roads and under many weather conditions. You have experience behind the wheel of many cars, from your rusty Honda at school to the convertible you bought when you cashed your first stock options.

It mirrors your career. You have been staff and line. You have headed three different countries ...

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