“CEO Charlie” – Update 05/21/10

May 21st, 2010

Below is an update on CEO Charlie and his job search journey. To read the introduction and learn more about CEO Charlie’s profile, please click HERE for PART I and HERE for PART II.

It’s been an enlightening, busy, and productive couple of weeks for CEO Charlie. He’s been focused, open-minded, and determined. Unfortunately, he is still plagued with the same few questions:

  1. “Am I making a mistake positioning myself as a ‘digital media’ guy rather than a broader software centric technology transformational leader and giving up on my initial job search plan too soon?”
  2. “If CEO’s are feeling potentially threatened by me, should I target Board Members instead? If so, how do I find and reach out to them?”

Disappointingly, Charlie got calls from two different companies letting him know they didn’t think he was the right fit for their opportunities sighting his year out of the industry as their reasoning. He plans to continue to compensate for that time by attending tradeshows, reading trade publications, blogging, and staying active in industry groups. He has also been exploring a promising board seat opportunity at an IT services firm and is in the process of scheduling a third phone meeting for next week.

In even better news, Charlie’s hoping the same questions he keeps asking himself will be a mute issue as he’s traveling east next week for a 2 day marathon of meetings for a position as CEO of a smaller company with a cool technology and an aggressive growth plan. If successful, he’ll be Executive Platinum as a bi-coastal CEO. He’s also landed a consulting job, helping an early stage Silicon Valley company update their business plan and find serious funding.

Meanwhile, Charlie attended a couple of networking events, including the McDermott & Bull Executive Network Forum and made helpful contacts with specific follow up plans. One such plan from the M&B Forum is to take advantage of his transition time (as suggested by the speaker at the event) by joining a local gym which, so far, has added to his confidence, and will assist in outshining his competition. He’s also going to attend an Executive Image Finishing School seminar in June to identify and clear up any branding concerns he has about himself.

Charlie’s done a great job at maintaining detailed search metrics and self-monitoring his progress so far during this process. He has also started to update his wife on daily activities and results since she’s a helpful supportive task manager.

He’s focused on a mail campaign involving interim CEO opportunities, getting 5 warm introductions to OC software firms and reviewing and upgrading his resume and LinkedIn profile.

Now, off to the east coast…

Edited by Jessica Balicki

2 Responses to ““CEO Charlie” – Update 05/21/10”

  1. Greg Freeze says:

    This storytelling format is great. I enjoy books like “The Five Temptations of a CEO” or “The Goal” where there is a character in transition and a mentor periodically appearing to help the protagonist.

    Here, this story is unfolding live, much like reality TV. After catching up on lost episodes (Part I and Part II), I am ready to comment.

    It appears CEO Charlie is doing all of the right things. He has his Special Report, he is getting warm introductions, he is hitting networking events, he is fine tuning his marketing presentations about himself, and he is keeping score with metrics. But CEO Charlie has some specific questions, so I will throw in my opinions on them.

    First, CEO Charlie wants to know if he is making a positional mistake by branding himself as a “digital media” guy. Juxtaposed to that branding is “a broader centric technology transformational leader.” I’m not sure I like either. Notice how “CEO Charlie” has a nice branding ring. That branding ring is memorable. That’s the challenge—making the branding statement memorable. Perhaps a personal mission statement will help in preparing the shorter branding catch-phrase. Since this vignette is missing the identifying information, it would be difficult to actually come up with a branding catch-phrase here, so on to question two.

    Next, CEO Charlie wonders if targeting board members is preferred and how to go about doing it. For public companies, board members are published. When targeting a particular company, CEO Charlie can ask his network not only about his target companies, but his targeted board members too. Board members know when the CEO is contemplating switching out the COO, or when the board is contemplating switching out the CEO. Board members may also know when a different company is looking for talent. This is not a bad action plan.

    In all, CEO Charlie has a great game plan already. He is well on his way toward landing his next position.

  2. Rod McDermott says:


    Great comments and thanks for the detail. I know that Charlie is aware of the public nature of Boards and feels comfortable doing that research. Some of the emerging tech companies he’s targeting are private and their Board members are not as easy to identify. While we discussed joining and attending the Forum for Corporate Directors, he’s looking for other, unique ways to find and make contact with Board members for private companies as well as public. There might not be a silver bullet for this, but we thought we would ask.

    Your idea of building a broader brand for “what he accomplishes for companies” compared with “what companies he could work for” might make a ton of sense for him (that’s how I read it although I’m not sure that’s what you intended). But that will then beg the bigger question, is he losing his focus by expanding his horizon so broadly? And, if it is a good move, how can he target companies – possibly find local, publicly traded companies that have announced income reductions or losses in the last year that are in need of restructuring?

    Thank you for the great comments and please keep them coming.


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