“Exhibiting good leadership traits is key such as the ability to make timely decisions, being innovative and reliable as well as setting the vision and following through.”
Of the C-Suite executives, the CEO is the most senior and is responsible for managing the organisation as a whole.
What is intriguing about the role of the CEO is that they are the centre point of the organization and act as a communication bridge between the Board and the rest of the organization. The role is wide-ranging and significant with responsibilities including implementing strategy, leading the management team, managing the overall operations and ensuring that effective corporate governance is in place at all levels in the organization.
In keeping with good governance practices in the long-term best interests of the company and of the stakeholders, the success of a CEO will be underpinned by his/her characteristics and experience. The former is reflected in his/her values and behaviors and the latter in knowledge of the business environment.
Exhibiting good leadership traits is key such as the ability to make timely decisions, being innovative and reliable as well as setting the vision and following through. Example of values that underpin such traits are integrity, independent thinking and transparency.
“Where on the CEO journey are you?”
What are the myriad factors that make up a CEO?
As a CEO what was your primary driver to become one?
Where on the CEO journey are you?
What are the phases of the CEO journey?
What is your greatest fear as CEO?
Wisdom Tool Number One: Know Your Primary Driver
Have you ever thought about what drives you, as CEO, to take on this all-encompassing and responsible role? CEOs may be driven to take on the role for a number of reasons, reasons I call the CEO Three Primary Drivers™. The three primary drivers I have noticed are A Story, A Flash, A Vocation.
“As CEO, what is your primary driver?”
- A Story. Perhaps you grew up in a family which struggled financially and you vowed to do everything you could to create a different life for you. Or perhaps you grew up with a father or mother who had the role of CEO, in a family business or another organization and witnessing their drive created yours.
- A Flash. Perhaps you experienced a flash. A moment where you suddenly knew what it is you wanted to do. A seemingly out-of-nowhere realization of what you wanted to do, with and, in your life transmitted to you in a flash or in a series of flashes.
- A Vocation. A vocation could be described as wanting to do something bigger and more meaningful. Working for a specific cause, a mission and perhaps building a legacy.
As CEO you may or may not be aware of what your primary driver is, or it may be a combination of two or all three, or another one altogether.
As CEO, what is your primary driver?
Wisdom Tool Number Two: Know Your CEO Journey
With the driver triggering the desire to be a CEO, have you ever thought about what are the stages of the journey of a CEO? I have categorized the stages of the CEO journey into four and I call it the CEO Orbit™. The stages of the CEO Orbit™ are Transitioning, Functioning, Navigating, Excelling.
“You are performing the role with ease, are delegating appropriately and seamlessly communicating with the Board.”
- Transitioning. You are transitioning into the role of CEO, getting to know the organization better, to understand the stakeholder landscape and adopting a multitude of tasks.
- Functioning. You have taken responsibility for a full-spectrum of assignments and have become the go-to person for a large group of stakeholders.
- Navigating. You are navigating the various aspects of the role including operations, governance, stakeholder communication and Board liaison.
- Excelling. You are performing the role with ease, are delegating appropriately and seamlessly communicating with the Board.
Where on the CEO journey are you?
Wisdom Tool Number Three: Know Your Visibility
“how you are perceived by others may vary based on how comfortable and confident you feel.”
During the lifecycle of your CEO journey, you will have ups and downs and the view you have of yourself will vary. What is surprising is that the view others have of you will vary too. Because you are in a centre-point position, the midpoint for many stakeholders, you will be subject to ongoing evaluation and the perception of you may oscillate based on a number of variable factors linked to your performance in the role.
Your ability to function well in the role and take the organization to the next level is not only based on your experience, skill and tenure, it is also related to how comfortable and confident you seem in the role to how stakeholders perceive you.
Within the CEO Orbit™ and the four stages of the journey, how you are perceived by others may vary based on how comfortable and confident you feel in the role, such as:
- During the Transitioning stage, you may come across as insecure and grappling to understand the range of tasks expected of you.
- During the Functioning stage, you may come across as overwhelmed and lost in the operations and resource management of a multitude of tasks.
- During the Navigating stage, you may come across as capable, mostly on top of things and not dropping too many balls.
- During the Excelling stage, you may come across as calm, confident and excelling in the role as CEO.
How do stakeholders perceive you in your role of CEO?
Wisdom Tool Number Four: Know Your Progression
“moving beyond minimum requirements and raising the organization to greatness.”
In order to progress from a place of being perceived as insecure and overwhelmed to being perceived as capable, calm and confident, there are two main areas which need to be addressed. The two main areas are self-governance and organizational governance.
Factors influencing self-governance broadly comprise of behavior, mindset, values and beliefs which, when brought to awareness and development, result in greater confidence, competence and consistency.
Factors influencing organizational-governance are the vision, the strategy, the stakeholder mapping and the governance landscape, which when brought to awareness and development, result in moving beyond minimum requirements and raising the organization to greatness.
“Good self-governance leads to good organizational governance.”
To further explore how you can access your innate wisdom to get a handle on self-governance and organizational governance and moving beyond that to a place of excelling and rising to greatness, schedule a coaching conversation with Siobhán. Drop a note to firstname.lastname@example.org to set something up.
P.S. Here are three ways I can help you get to know you, and your organization, better.
- Schedule an exploratory call with me: email@example.com.
- We will explore where you are on your CEO journey.
- What is the cost of not knowing your organization? Find out how well you know your organization. Take the Govern Wheel quiz!