The talented CEO of a global company was challenged on multiple fronts as he continued to grow his organization. Strategy questions, organizational design issues, board relations and executive performance issues became more prevalent and complex as the company continued to grow. Although he had a talented board of directors, they expected him to come with answers and plans, not questions and problems. He wanted access to a thought partner with C-level experience who could help him think through the tough issues.
There are many pieces to this, including active listening, empathy, directing, coaching, and delivering both positive and negative feedback, to name a few.
There are some jobs where you can be very successful in an individual performance role without understanding others, but you can’t be a successful leader without this skill—just a tyrant. You must have some innate ability in this area, but coaching and dedication on your part will lead to dramatic improvement.
In its most basic form, business strategy requires thinking about the future, creating a compelling picture in that future, identifying current reality, and then crafting a strategy that will connect today to your desired future.
The CEO asked me to meet with him on a regular basis for face-to-face confidential conversations to address the key questions and help him arrive at solid solutions. Our agreement also allowed for frequent “quick hit” phone calls to resolve smaller issues as well as availability for projects such as mergers and acquisitions, coaching for his senior team and other strategic issues on an as needed basis.
The company had consistent growth and record profits throughout this 7 year period even though their industry was declining. Tough performance issues were addressed much more quickly and effectively; organizational design issues were vetted confidentially before being implemented. Strategic questions were explored prior to board meetings and the CEO increased both his effectiveness and confidence. Over the course of this relationship, several “million-dollar moments” resulted from our conversations; ideas or directions that we uncovered that resulted in over a million dollars in impact for the company.
Looking for a thought partner? Have questions? Call 303-527-0417 or email Todd.