CEOs — and others in the C-Suite — can find themselves in a bubble, an alternate reality, detached from what’s really happening in the business.
Here is how you can figure out if you’re in a bubble like that, and how you can get out. And if you’re not a CEO, here’s what you can learn from this phenomenon.
Jill is the CEO of a firm staffed with “helping” professionals — largely social workers. She prided herself on the firm’s positive culture, the zero-tolerance policy toward workplace misbehavior, and the happiness of her employees.
Unfortunately it was all an illusion. She found that out by accidentally uncovering one supervisor’s racket of extorting prescription drugs from his direct reports and intimidating them — something he’d been doing for over a year — and none of the dozen people who knew about it had ever reported it or complained. None of Jill’s beloved culture really existed outside her “CEO bubble.”

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Two stories of trust.Liz, a massage therapist, was asked by the new restauranteur who moved in up the block to give him some feedback during his “soft opening.” She gave honest constructive feedback, and he yelled at her. She went to her office and c…

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