Our CEO Coach Debbie shares her views on how a CEO’s role has changed over the years.
Over the past 10 years, I’ve seen a shift in CEOs from believing they must have all the answers to realising that their job is to get the best people around the table and create ways of exploring and experimenting to find the best way forward. I’ve seen huge weights lifted from one CEO’s shoulders when he grasped the difference in knowing all the answers and his new challenge of leading the way to find the answers. He remarked: “You mean I can do this my way.” He actually walked with more confidence which attracted others even though they knew there was a lot of difficult work ahead. Not only did this put the CEO on a positive course of moving forward in spite of the difficulties, it also freed up those working with him to bring hidden skills and ideas to the table.
This CEO was very much aware that his approach was indeed a change in the organisation’s culture – touching all levels. As a relatively new CEO, he had fewer obstacles than clients who have been in their role for some time. This CEO was able to “invent” new interventions – from standing meetings to hearing from everyone to devolving responsibilities to those willing to step up and take actions from the newly generated ideas. The engagement was at all levels, well beyond his personal direct reports.
He found explicit and practical ways to lead by example. His context provided him with a host of possibilities which were unique to his organisation. Each client I coach spends a great deal of time understanding their context and shaping their own personal leadership towards this new way of leading. There are no cookie cutter answers.