Call me crazy but I think the most dangerous person in any company is the CEO. Few of them will admit it. Some will acknowledge the possibility, perhaps theoretically. But seldom does the Chief Executive accept the fact that they are far from perfect, AND that their uniquely powerful leverage means they have the ability to strengthen—or damage—an organization more than any other individual.
I am no exception.
I have been the imperfect CEO, bringing both positive and negative change to an organization. I like to think the scale tipped in favor of my being a positive force for the organization. But therein lies the excuse that many of us use to filter out the imperfections of our performance: “I’m doing so much good that my flaws have a negligible impact. And nobody else has the vantage point that I do, or the skills to make us so successful!”
Moreover, we rarely have an accountability partner to keep us honest. We have nobody to report to, except ourselves, especially in the SMB space where the CEO may be the founder and sole owner. Without a proper sounding board, the CEO may be leading from a place rife with blind spots, with employees who are reticent to respectfully disagree for fear of making a career-limiting mistake.
That is why I feel so passionately about the need for leaders at the top to have a confidante, advisor, coach or strong network of peers that will provide an objective, third party perspective on things. We need outside perspective that is not burdened by emotions or an attachment to the past.
Most entrepreneurial businesses go through a number of predictable phases on their way from being a startup to growing into a mid-market organization. In the beginning, the founder has an aptitude for what the business actually produces (product, services, ideas) and that skill makes them successful. As the company grows the founder takes on new hats in Sales, Finance and HR. They pretty much do it all. With any luck, additional growth creates a new phase which introduces the need for other staff to be brought on board. The Founder/CEO needs to succeed in hiring quality staff and managing teams. And again, with more growth comes yet another new phase when a willingness to step away from business functions and delegate authority becomes the key skill the CEO must acquire.
The change is constant, and in each new phase the CEO needs to be willing to challenge assumptions about who they are and their role in the organization. They need to move out of their comfort zone and embrace a whole different set of concepts and abilities that may not come easily. Especially for someone who has the relatively strong ego that drives many entrepreneurs.
Being open to coaching can be vital to growing your organization effectively and profitably. It can be a tough pitch to the person at the top, but if embraced it can be the regular workout that helps a good leader strengthen the muscles that are vital to fuel sustained growth. And that type of learning can be crucial for the rest of the leadership team, as well. Especially for those that may have grown into their roles without formal executive training.
This is why Trilix has created our Executive Academy: to provide executive coaching and team development in key areas that will help any organization scale more effectively and compete more successfully. If you think you could benefit from an ongoing relationship with a candid executive consultant, or if you have a great leadership team that you want to help develop professionally, just let us know. We’d love to chat about your needs and what we can do to help you thrive!
To learn more about our Executive Academy coach and team development opportunities, click here.
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