CEO Coaching: Off your line? Stop!
When skiing bumps (moguls), you must do numerous things right. Keep your weight centered, hands forward, and face down the fall line. Find your line by looking multiple turns ahead. And so on. Get one wrong and it’s messy. Best thing to do when you’re off your line? Stop. Have a conversation with yourself and get it together. Then start again.
I see leaders who are off their line continue to speed through situations when they should pause for reflection. Doing the same thing with more force usually isn’t a good idea. Might be an acquisition, a “people” problem, or a capital expense. It’s all the same root cause—lack of good process.
I’ve watched CEOs double down on a flawed strategy—mostly because they publicly espoused it (as they must!) with everyone from their mother to the board of directors. Politicians do this frequently. If they have the intelligence and wherewithal to change direction, they often get skewered. So instead, they assign blame to others and obfuscate. What a shame. Better to take the flak. Have you noticed that those who routinely admit mistakes (such as Warren Buffet) are accepted?
Leading a business means you must use evidence and logic to choose a direction, have a robust decision-making process, and put effort into the journey. But sometimes, you get off your line or the market tells you that you were wrong.
You’ll find stories of tough-as-nails “heroes” who stayed the course through thick and thin, ignored their generals, and eventually won the battle. They make for good Page 1 coverage. What makes them good stories, however, is that they’re unusual. Many more leaders refused to change course or question their assumptions and failed.
“I can’t change the direction of the wind,
but I can adjust my sails to always reach my destination.”
This doesn’t mean wishy-washy leaders are effective. Ever work for one? They’ll drive you nuts and make little progress.
Leading effectively means you not only must develop a process (and discipline!) for decision-making but also a strong process to evaluate success and the courage to stop and reset rather than blindly bashing through bumps.
In what aspect of your business should you pause and reflect right now?
coaches CEOs to higher levels of success. He is a former CEO and has led teams as large as 7,000 people. Todd is the author of, Never Kick a Cow Chip On A Hot Day: Real Lessons for Real CEOs and Those Who Want To Be (Morgan James Publishing).