We need to care more about onboarding (even for the execs)

Ted Bauer
4 min readMar 22, 2022

Well, look, everyone probably needs to be onboarded better, but for this post we’re predominantly going to discuss executives.

True story from a gig I once had: I was remote/contract (so in many ways I don’t matter, and I get that), and I was coming in about once or twice a week and using this one desk. Well, the company goes and hires a Chief Revenue Officer — still unclear how that’s different from a CFO, honestly — and he takes my desk. (Sadly, of course that role has to be a “he.”)

The good news: I get to stop coming as frequently, because the commute was annoying.

The interesting news: for about 12 weeks, no one hears from this guy, even though he’s in office every day. (At my old desk!) He has four direct reports and he’s barely speaking to them. Periodically he goes off for meetings with other executives, i.e. people at his level.

At around the 12-week mark, this dude sends out a new color-coded sales territory map. Now, in fairness, the map looked nice. But twelve weeks and this was the main output? I’m sure the guy was doing other stuff, but you have to realize how cultures work. Everyone was emailing and Slack messaging trying to figure out if it took this 200K employee 12 weeks to color-code a PDF map with info that already existed.

I realize inherently we’re never going to trust the people furthest up the chain at a white-collar job, and that’s been backed up by research galore. But 12 weeks to color-code a map is some real “Sheesh, wow” stuff.

The problem of where new execs spend time

It’s just with people at their level, mostly. I had a different job once where we met with the new head of our silo and he said “Well, I sit on Zoom all day and take calls.” That was curious to us because the company used GoToMeeting for everything.

Well, turns out that the execs use Zoom for everything. So this guy is sitting in his office taking different Zooms on channels we’d never be invited to. In the first seven months of him working there, we had one all-team meeting and got one all-team email.

How many times do you think he met with people vaguely close in salary to himself? I’m going to guess…



Ted Bauer

Mostly write about work, leadership, friendship, masculinity, male infertility, and some other stuff along the way. It's a pleasure to be here.