So You Want to be a Great CEO?

So you want to be a great CEO?  You wear lots of hats, but the pandemic increased the importance of one.

Dr. Lawrence King, a speaker for Vistage Worldwide, observed that there are 6 roles a CEO typically fills:

  1. Strategist. You set the future direction of your company through mission, vision and business strategy; company culture; leadership development and alignment of the three essentials.
  2. Ambassador. Meet with your important customers and clients to truly know them
  3. Inventor. Finding your customer’s pain and developing products/services to relieve it.
  4. Coach. Become a teacher, coach and mentor to your direct reports
  5. Investor. Know the market value of your business and strive to grow it.
  6. Student. Professional development is key to both functional expertise & leader skills

When everyone worked in the office, you had the ability to collect information on how to do your job when you “managed by wandering around” (MBWA). One in a while, you may have gone too far by micromanaging someone instead of empowering and facilitating the personal and corporate development of the person.

Mid-pandemic and post-pandemic, CEOs will be leading a distribute workforce, sometimes working at home, sometimes in the office, sometimes in distributed pods. The good news is that it’ll harder to micromanage people; the bad news is that you’ll be spending more time coaching your direct reports and helping them coach their subordinates. You now are being cast for the role of “master-coach”.

When the lockdown began, I had this conversation with the CEOs with whom I have the privilege of working through Vistage Worldwide. Dr. King was scheduled to speak to the group at the time, because I expected many to have new growth challenges during early 2020, and that they could benefit from learning coaching principles – something rarely taught even to business students. Little did I know how important his visit was!

The point is that you now have to spend more time being an effective coach for your direct reports, and model for them how to do it with their staff. Further, you need to help them set best practices and the increasing need for coaching becomes more important to personal and professional development, employee engagement, corporate culture development, and new systems for communication.

As the executive coach/mentor for my members, I share a number of articles and books and role model coaching them during our 1-on-1 monthly sessions when they experience challenges. Here are two to help you: an article from Dr. King, The One-to-One: How to Coach Your Direct Reports and a book titled Coaching Salespeople into Sales Champions.  
What are you doing to improve your role as a leader-coach and role-model? Another hidden benefit of Vistage Worldwide is that each CEO has about 12 peers in their local group (which I chair)who provide support on challenges almost immediately. If the issue is complex, and familiarity with the players is less important, you can reach out to the 23,000 global CEOs who use our intranet (MyVistage), to get advice and referrals. Since many are professionals and own firms that specialize in HR and employee engagement, their expertise is invaluable.

Why not find out for yourself? Vistage offers appropriate leaders an opportunity to experience Vistage meetings virtually. Just contact me for details.  Email Jerry.Cahn@VistageChair.com or call 646-290-7664.

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