We spoke with a number of CEOs and Directors about balancing the cadences to achieve outcomes now while strategically adapting given today’s lack of clarity… what we call, the foggy window.
Smart CEOs make intentional investments in the development of their organization’s intelligence and demand they accept, if not fully embrace, decision anxieties. Yes, this means setting expectations with revised or new ground rules and performance benchmarks established by challenging the traditional alignment of strategies, business structures, and qualities leaders must possess to meet market demands and customer expectations.
It’s quite a daunting task that requires leadership courage, collaboration, and a will to win which are all magnified in today’s transformational environment.
Here are a few points that CEOs shared with us.
Waiting Has a Price
To move faster requires a different caliber of executive… one who is data driven and forward thinking. Executives that emphasize squeezing more out of operational efficiencies are becoming less valuable, however they are still necessary. Simply making the trains run on time is not the future for companies that will win it!
Our clients seek these forward leaping qualities in almost every search we conduct for operational and functional leaders (i.e., CEOs, CFOs, CIOs, Supply Chain, et al).
Smartly Invest Resources in Culture that Embraces Re-gearing and Monitor the Evolution
The CEOs agreed that while change leadership comes with anxieties, to further develop a winning now culture requires chiropractic adjustments such as changing leaders, adjusting responsibilities, and establishing different, more effective communications and collaborations. Swim lanes, sacred cows, and the inner circle of senior executives are being challenged. How decisions are made, executed, and benchmarked to match the necessities of today’s world provide a clear signal as to how CEOs intend to do business going forward.
With CEO turnover near all time high, the most successful realize they are on a tightrope and are moving more swiftly to replace executives that aren’t able to adjust or push against the velocity of change.
Expect Outcomes, Continually Learn from Successes and Non-starters… Evaluate, Evaluate, Evaluate
It’s essential the CEO balances staying above the fray to create the white space for executive teams to lead and benchmark their activities. Making teams responsible for exploration and explanation is key. Communicating with transparency along with sharing unknowns and concerns are basic to successful transformation.
CEOs who have successfully navigated change have told us that being entrenched in the weeds doesn’t lead to sustainably better outcomes.
Stay the Course of Disruption… Accept the Cost, Even with Successes, Prepare Options
Learning is a basic building block, meaning CEOs and their teams will learn as much from shortfalls as they will from celebrating successes. In fact, CEOs have mentioned oftentimes the learnings from failures is much more valuable in assessing new concepts and/or alternative scenarios to enhance value.
Pivoting based on changes and opportunities the teams perceive, and then betting on whether their perceptions or hunches will win, is no longer a linear game. Decisions on how to win and align resources are like jungle gyms that require a CEO’s keen eye and instinct of when to proceed, pivot, or cut bait.
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