“Doomed At Capstone” – The CEO’s Solution

A few years ago, a friend of mine who happened to be a Chief Executive Officer of a large financial services firm called about a problem he was having.  “I’m bored with this job,” he said.  “There just isn’t enough to keep me busy!”

This fellow (we’ll call him Jack) was in the habit of going to work very early in the morning – like 4:00AM?? – mainly because his business happened to be in commodities.  As you know, in commodities, things start early in the day.

Jack was a highly competent man who excelled at his job.  He would arrive very early, take care of business, hold a couple of breakfast meetings, return his phone calls to Europe, and by 10:00AM he felt that he was through for the day.

We talked for awhile about what he was doing – the things that he had to do each day, his various ‘rituals,’ what he enjoyed about his job, and what he disliked.  It became pretty clear that while Jack was perfectly suited for the job and that he should not even consider going somewhere else, he was clearly “Q3.”

I explained the Doom Loop to him and the “Doomed at Capstone” career crisis.

“That’s me!” he shouted!  “Now what do I do about it?”

To make a long story short, the solution we created for him was to get him on the board of a major brewery (he loved beer) as well as on the board of trustees in a significant role with a major university.

In short, Jack “wasn’t very good at” doing his job when there wasn’t so much time as before, and the addition of the two new roles put him – and his “composite position” over between “Q1” and “Q2.”  In a sense, we had to get him in such a situation where he wasn’t really so “good at” doing his job in less time – and that was a challenge for him.

He continued to go to work at 4:00AM – but he had to mix what he had been doing in the past with his new roles and responsibilities on external boards.  That motivated him – and made him happy.

Adding responsibilities to a ole where one is at or above “capstone” is an effective way to move from “Q3” back over to the “Q1/Q2” area.

And that seems to work!

At least it did for Jack!