The top one for me is when they don’t embrace the goals given to them.
A tough part of being a VP is you have to try to hit the goals you are given. Don’t like the ARR plan? You can’t just go change it. Want to do press, not generate leads? Too bad. Don’t want to be on the hook for driving down terrible churn? Well, you know …
I’ve seen many seasoned execs come into a new situation, realize they are in over their heads … and try to change the goals to fit their skills.
It never works out. In a start-up, you can miss a quarter or two, and come up short on some medium-term goals, as tough as it can be.
But everyone has to be aligned on the same goals. And importantly, they have to be the CEO’s goals.
The CEO’s goals have to be your goals. You have to believe in them, and give it your all. If you can’t, don’t take the role.
And if you see a VP subtly (or not-so-subtly) berating the goals, or changing them … it isn’t going to be a fit.