Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

The Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

The Top 5 CEO Sacrifices

There is no easy way to the top of Everest and it is the same in business. CEO’s have all made sacrifices to get to sit in the big seat. The big question is, “are many of the sacrifices made actually necessary”?

So often we see people putting in long hours, pleasing the boss, fueling their ego and trying to get a step ahead of their colleagues, like it is a game. So, how much productivity is lost through people being overworked, over-stressed and caught in a negative frame of mind?

Many people only see the successes of a CEO, rather than what lies below the surface. Hard work, dedication, discipline, persistence, failure, disappointment, sacrifice and failure are what it takes to get to the top in any industry.

Recently we surveyed a number of CEO’s, Senior Managers and Business Owners (CEO) on “What are the top 5 CEO sacrifices you have made, that you would take back in a heartbeat?”

The top 5 sacrifices are:

#1 limited time with children and family,

#2 not prioritising my own fitness,

#3 a lack of time to look after my health and wellness,

#4 forgetting about my friends, and

#5 working during family holidays.

When you take a look at this list, you notice a number of aspects that so many people value, especially family, but when it comes to the crunch people often choose work first. It is common for people to make the choice to work as they think there will always be time for family and friends.

“Spending too much time with accountants and lawyers (it took time away from people that really mattered).”

There is more and more research showing that sleep, as well as psychological and physiological recovery, are major ingredients in mental and physical performance. Why do we then sacrifice the most important aspects of growth to overwork our brains?

 “Pure vacations, as business owner there is no pure down time”

Not having enough time for hobbies and personal development were also common. Many people wait until they are retired before they focus adequate time on themselves and what they really want to do in life. In many cases they lack the energy to really do what they want when they retire as they have neglected their health, wellness and fitness for some many years as they ground it out every day at work.

“Exercising more and less procrastination when thinking about exercising”

It was interesting to hear that a number of CEO’s say they sacrificed a lot of time with negative colleagues and Board members. They noted at times it made their life miserable, as it took the enjoyment and time away from their innovative and creative mind.

“Not being aggressive about Board of Directors composition. I need a Board that adds value, not just meet and waste my time. It was a sacrifice because it made my life miserable.”

The one aspect the resonated a lot with us, is that a number of the CEO’s felt they didn’t say ‘thank you’ enough, to those that really matter. Gratitude is an important part of being a successful leader. We sometimes forget that a lot of other people in our lives are making sacrifices to support our drive for success.

“Not saying thank you enough – to my family, my friends (many were neglected) and employees (who really made the company work).”

You have a choice, you can commit to the hard slog and burn the candle or you can put measures in place to ensure your productivity is high and you have the time for the important aspects that matter in life.

Stay tuned as we begin to open you to a different way of approaching work so you can deliver a high level of performance in all aspects of life.

What are your CEO Sacrifices?

READ MORE ARTICLES

Have We Got The Hiring Process Totally Wrong? Link
Are You Leading A High Performing Culture? Link
Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link

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What Does It Take To Improve Your Culture

WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO IMPROVE YOUR CULTURE?

What Does It Take To Improve Your Culture

Culture

The culture of a company, organisation or team is the make or break between growth and decline, retention and turnover, and success and failure. Too often we hear comments such as “toxic culture”, “team unrest”, “trouble in the boardroom” and “disorder in the trenches” that disrupt team cohesion, productivity and performance. If you are facing a storm in a teacup, what steps can you take to re-right the ship and ensure that your culture breeds success?

“Culture eats strategy for breakfast”.

PETER DRUCKER

WHAT IS CULTURE?

First of all, let’s take a look at what culture is. Culture is our:

  1. Shared behaviours and the way we treat each other;
  2. Voices and our actions;
  3. Products and services;
  4. Capacity to learn and transmit knowledge to succeeding generations;
  5. Customers and consumers;
  6. Way of acting and interacting with others;
  7. Combined way of life;
  8. Attitudes, beliefs and philosophies; and
  9. Community and ourselves.

What we do as a leader is ultimately more important than what we say when it comes to culture. In essence, culture is the personality and DNA of the company, organisation or team.

There are, in general, four types of organisational or team culture:

  1. We do things 1st – Our focus is making breakthroughs and creating the future through adhocracy.
  2. We do things fast – We love to compete and want to be the fastest to go to market with a short-term performance focus.
  3. We do things right – Our culture is to make incremental checks, do our homework and control the process through a hierarchical approach.
  4. We do things together – We collaborate and are focused on long-term development in a tribe type environment

“The most important thing about culture is that it is the only sustainable difference for any organisation. Anyone can copy a company’s strategy, but nobody can copy their culture.”

TORBEN RICK

THE CHANGE PROCESS

It is important to understand your current culture and what it will look like in the future is the first part of the process to support successful change. Once you understand what the future looks like, from a culture point-of-view, you then need to utilise your collaboration skills to engage your team to commence the implementation phase and begin establishing the cultural behaviours. Finally, you need to coach and mange your team so that it is embedded in the way things are done in your organisation or team.

UNDERSTAND what you want to look like and establish the expectations that are required to get there:

  1. Complete a cultural audit by evaluating your current culture and performance.
  2. Clearly define your initial vision
  3. Develop a new set of expectations by clarifying your values and behaviours

COLLABORATE through teamwork and align your team so a common vision can be achieved.

  1. Identify and clearly articulate your strategic priorities
  2. Bring your team together and engage them in developing and defining your team goals
  3. Focus on your results and build accountability through clarifying and tracking key measures

COACH and manage your team to ensure that culture is cohesively developed and ingrained.

  1. Build a management system that incorporates the cultural drivers, priorities and goals
  2. Guide, manage and communicate your new habits and routines
  3. Celebrate the small wins and build team motivation throughout the process

“A culture of discipline is a principle of business, it is a principle of greatness.”

JIM COLLINS

REQUIREMENTS FOR CHANGE

Changing an organisational or team culture is one of the biggest challenges a leader will face. This is due to a culture comprising an interlocking set of attitudes, processes, roles, goals, values, attitudes, communication and assumptions. It is unique for every organisation and team, and therefore every change requires a unique approach. A leader will need to be prepared to disrupt the organisation or teams deepest values, beliefs and what it holds closest to its heart.

Culture is deeply embedded into every layer of an organisation and requires the leader to question everything to fully understand what aspects are absolutely crucial to extract or mould for a better future. It is constantly evolving over time, although the culture is deeply linked to its history and development.

Important elements to consider when preparing for change:

  1. LISTEN to employees, by giving them a voice
  2. COMMUNICATE through 2-way communication and feedback channels
  3. LEAD by example by seeking, speaking and acting with truth
  4. FEEDBACK on a regular basis to and from employees
  5. COLLABORATE openly rather than in isolation, through encouraging sharing and healthy debates
  6. TRANSPARENCY by leveraging tools to stay on the same page
  7. APPRECIATION with a sustainable reward and recognition program
  8. CHALLENGE and encourage employees to take risks
  9. TEAM approach by creating a supportive environment that cultivates strong co-worker relationships
  10. CARE by showing that people matter
  11. ENJOYMENT in a light-hearted and fun environment
  12. PURPOSE with passion
  13. COMMON language, values and standards
  14. PERSISTANCE and consistency in your approach
  15. FLEXIBILITY by adapting and evolving throughout the process
  16. WORK-LIFE integration and/or balance
  17. EMPOWER employees by providing a sense of freedom and ownership, as well as embracing and inspiring employee autonomy
  18. BOUNDARIES that have clearly defined roles, responsibilities and accountabilities
  19. LEARNING environment through continuous training and development
  20. RECOGNISE and solve, both individual and organisation,  problems  and issues

CASE STUDY: A few real life examples of how I have implemented some of the requirements for change:

LISTEN – We implemented a “pebble in my shoe” segment during our monthly team meeting, which allowed people to openly express things that were living rent-free in their mind.

COLLABORATE – In one organization, we established a 3hour period on Wednesday afternoons for employees to work on creative team projects that were focussed on innovation .

APPRECIATION – Working in hospitality, we had a company-wide manager meeting just before lunch every day, where we recognised at least one employee or team achievement.

ENJOYMENT – Every month we had a staff party, which had a different theme, where each team worked together to create a skit, performance or show.

CARE – At a recent coaching course, the attending coaches wrote a handwritten thank you card that was individualized for every presenter.

PURPOSE – To bring out the passion from our employees we changed our values to philosophies and asked the employees to develop the meaning of each philosophy.

WORK-LIFE – I find I am most effective when I exercise before starting work and then go for a ride or run during lunch time as it provides clarity and reflection to the projects I am working on.  I have encouraged staff to do the same.

The cultural change process will test your full range of leadership skills. You cannot afford to take your attention away from the change process as a drop in momentum can have a negative effect on the cultural change. If you aren’t in the driver’s seat, you have no control over the final destination.

Tune in to next week’s article, which will discuss the leadership attributes of successful change, what a positive workplace looks like and developing a High Performance culture.

“Culture does not change because we desire to change it. Culture changes when the organisation is transformed; the culture reflects the realities of people working together every day.”

FRANCES HESSELBEIN

READ MORE ARTICLES

Are Leaders Born? Link
It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Art Of Communication – Change Series Part 4 Link
Achieving Successful Change – Changes Series Part 3 Link
Change Tantrums – Change Series Part 2 Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link

LEARN MORE

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Are leaders born Craig Johns Nelson Mandela

ARE LEADERS BORN?

nelson-mandela
Nelson Mandela – Photo Credit: Seattle Globalist

ARE LEADERS BORN?

Nature (our DNA) and nurture (environmental influences) both need to be taken into consideration when trying to understand how a leader is formed. The way I like to look at whether leaders are Born or Made, is by looking at leadership capability through the concept of a bell-curve.

At the bottom of the curve, there are ~10% of people that will struggle, no matter how hard they try, to be a good leader. Their DNA is just not wired to lead and every amount of training is unlikely to get them to a position where they can lead effectively. On the top of the bell curve are the ~10% of people who are born to lead. They are born with an innate instinct to lead. As they grow and develop they tend to continue getting better and better.

The other ~80% of people in the middle have the potential to be good leaders, if not great leaders. They have to be prepared to work really hard on their leadership skills, especially self-awareness. This involves learning how to take a ‘birds-eye-view’ of yourself, be open to asking for feedback and developing great listening skills.

However, I do believe that the world’s most exceptional visionary leaders are highly likely to only come from the ~10% of people who are born leaders.

To try and understand some of the discussion points around whether leaders are born or made, let’s look at some of the theories and evidence that support either side of the coin or both sides.

“The greatest leader is not necessarily the one who does the greatest things. They are the one who gets the people to do the greatest things.”

Ronald Reagan (Adapted) 

THEORIES

According to the Great Man Theory, popularised in the 1840’s by Thomas Carlyle and Trait Theory, people inherit certain qualities and traits, which are aligned with leadership. People are born with different qualities that predispose them to be a leader, which is similar to someone who with the natural qualities of a gifted musician or talented athlete. They will naturally excel and thrive when confronted with the appropriate situations, whereas other people will struggle. The most exceptional leaders, don’t become overnight successes, they were leaders from the onset.

Behavioural Theories emphasise that the process of teaching, learning and observation allow people to become leaders. They believe the concept of leadership is something that can be learnt, like a skill through training, practice, perception and making observations over a period of time. But, to what level can a person achieve, from a leadership point of view, if they don’t have the natural charisma, ability to influence, natural integrity, and ability to motivate and inspire?

“Leaders aren’t born, they are made. And they are made just like anything else, through hard work. And that’s the price we’ll have to pay to achieve that goal, or any goal.”

VINCE LOMBARDI

SITUATION

Some people are very good leaders in certain environments, but not others. They may lead well when they know and trust a small team they are working with, whereas they struggle in a larger team of people they don’t know so well. Even exceptional leaders are only effective when they are in specific locations or environments, for example they could be in a family, societal, community, national, or global environment.

Leaders, sometimes, don’t always stand out from the crowd. They are the quiet achievers, who have an uncanny ability lead people away from the limelight and in a very subtle way. Their quiet, softly spoken and under-the-radar approach may have a profound effect on the way people behave, how they perform and decisions they make.

“Leadership is not magnetic personality – that could just as well be a glib tongue. It is not ‘making friends and influencing people’, that is flattery. Leadership is lifting a person’s vision to high sights, the raising of a person’s performance to a higher standard, the building of a personality beyond its normal limitations.”

PETER DRUCKER

GENETIC

There are bodies of research that imply that 30% of leadership is genetic and 70% is learned. Although the percentage of genetic versus learned is likely to vary quite a lot between individual leaders, but it still implies that there is a major learning component to leadership.

Many leaders, tend to have an extroversion trait. They also tend to have high levels of empathy as well as social and emotional intelligence, whereas IQ is not always an important characteristic for a leader. As I discussed earlier, introverts can also be great leaders.

“Leadership is an observable, learnable set of practices. Leadership is not something mystical and ethereal that cannot be understood by ordinary people. Given the opportunity for feedback and practice, those with the desire and persistence to lead can substantially improve their abilities to do so.”

JAMES KOUZES & BARRY POSNER

GROWTH

Great leaders tend to be in constant growth, as they aim to improve every day. They tend to seek new experiences and a greater understanding of themselves.

People who are adjusted, social, ambitious and curious are more likely to become leaders. Their curious nature leads them to learn through mediums such as books, informal training from coaches or mentors, interpretations of life experiences, websites, observations, listening and formal training in an academic type setting.

“The leader must be able to know what followers want, when they want it, and what prevents them from getting what they want.”

BERNARD BASS

FINAL THOUGHTS

Leadership is a reflection of who you are and how you want to improve the world for the better. No matter whether leaders have come from a background of hardship and personal struggles or they have endured leadership through an abundance of resources, everyone can continue to develop their leadership skills through deliberate practice and experience.

Developing as a leader is no different to any other expert, where they grow through deliberate practice, struggle, sacrifice, hard work, and regular self-assessment.

Are leaders born?

READ MORE ARTICLES

It’s Your Story Link
Be A Rookie Link
Art Of Communication – Change Series Part 4 Link
Achieving Successful Change – Changes Series Part 3 Link
Change Tantrums – Change Series Part 2 Link
Why Change? – Change Series Part 1 Link
I Make No Apologies This Is Me! Link

LEARN MORE

active CEO COACHING
active CEO CORPORATE
active CEO PODCAST
Craig Johns SPEAKER
Craig Johns BLOG
Contact CRAIG JOHNS
Return to HOME