Relevance in business is a valuable marker to watch. But it asks some tough questions of you, the CEO.
There’s something about being ‘irrelevant’ that I find quite frightening, at least in my interpretation of the word.
It feels like it would put me in the column of being outdated or ‘past it’. Even worse, unhelpful or damaging.
But holding ourselves to a standard of relevance also holds a whole lot of value, if we are able to muster up the courage to engage with the challenge of being relevant.
I talk to my CEO clients a lot about ‘being on the right side of the ledger’, meaning that their businesses – net/net – are positive influences in the world. Obviously, it’s something that most CEOs intuitively want, but the practicality of building a business of relevance is more exacting.
The initial response often comes from a place of obligation:
- “I should do more of …”
- – I could be better at …”
Neither responses are that helpful in that the life force that sits beneath those responses is weak and unsustainable in the long term.
Rather, I encourage my CEO clients to see the immediate value in striving to become more relevant: greater purposefulness; the ability to attract more substantial talent; the security of having a truly enduring Strategy; better engaged and excited people around you.
One of the great reframes that I would love the business world to benefit from, and hence the messaging within the Lockstep brand – ‘Building businesses that matter” – is to recognise that having an eye on matters such as relevance is, in fact, performance-enhancing. And not a drag or a nagging concern.
If a CEO can make this leap, it opens up a world of new and better possibilities and opportunities.
It’s a leap worth making – or at least being curious about.