Charles Pfeffer

Executive Coaching & Leadership Consulting

Insights by Charles Pfeffer

Radical Self Responsibility

Years ago, I was consulting to a company with a 100 year history of monopoly power.  Monopoly makes efficiency a low priority. It also spawns a culture of entitlement.  There were layers of bureaucracy and little incentive for people to cooperate.  To create a basis for team work, cooperation and performance improvement, we had to find a way to create some expectations for self responsibility among team members.  In a workshop, we appealed to people sense of honor and challenged them with the following agreement. My Commitment I agree to be responsible for generating my own satisfaction in my employment with my company… read more >


Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric was on CNBC Squawkbox the other day talking about corporate leadership.  The interviewer asked whether CEO’s were worth the enormous salaries they get when compared to start-up founders who create a new technology or other innovation.  He said, “New technologies and innovations are enormously important,” implying that founders are worth their compensation.  Then he said something I did not expect.  He said, “The fundamentals of management don’t change.  You have to develop great people.  You have to build great teams.  And it should be fun!  Business used to be fun.  Managers have… read more >

Getting over ourselves

Our businesses are expressions of ourselves. They are the extensions of our talents and visions as well as our weaknesses and blind spots. We live and die in the large and small dramas of customers, employees, suppliers, regulators, bankers and business partners. We hope that the strategy we have created is clever enough to keep us viable in the harsh competitive environment in which we operate. At the same time we know that someone smarter, or younger or more hungry than we are is right now thinking up ways to displace us in the rapidly evolving ecosystem. We know we… read more >

What’s your exit strategy?

We are in a time when Baby Boomer entrepreneurs are preparing for their final acts. For better or worse, this coincides with unprecedented economic volatility and strategic uncertainty. And, we face fundamental social problems that need new, dynamic, entrepreneurial solutions. It’s not an easy time to be planning our exit strategy, but time won’t wait. Getting positioned for your exit will confront you with questions about your personal, professional and civic legacies. Everyone of us has a limited time on this earth to figure out who we are, create a purpose that’s meaningful, find people we love and make a… read more >

Authenticity, Connecting and Self Expression

Authenticity is refreshing. It creates an experience of relief and allows people to breathe a bit easier.  In the presence of authenticity, people realize that on some level they have been guarding themselves against attack.  Authenticity takes courage and confidence.  It is a gamble that being oneself is enough.  It is a bet that opening oneself to others will lead others to join with you.  It is a releasing of one’s own defenses as an act of generosity (or perhaps desperation) in favor of a more complete and unconstrained space of possibility for communication.  Bringing oneself  to a place of… read more >