Dear SaaStr: What’s The Top Early Sign a New VP or Manager Won’t Work Out?

There are quite a few:

  • No one good wants to join them
  • Don’t move out any weak performers they inherit
  • They struggle to truly understand the product
  • They don’t really partner with the other executives
  • They don’t immediate start talking to customers

But … the #1 top one for me is when they don’t embrace the goals given to them.  That’s disalignment on Day 1, and it just never works out in that case.

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 or work on TikTok, 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.

(note: an updated SaaStr Classic answer)

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