Solving The Riddle or Wrestling The Problem

When seen in the right light, business success is a riddle.

* For some CEOs, it’s compelling, thought-provoking, challenging and energising (i.e. The Riddle)

* For other CEOs, it’s maddening, heart-breaking, confounding, and draining (i.e. The Problem)

Your ‘stance’ determines which of the above paths you take. There is no more consequential choice a CEO will make throughout their career. This choice of stance affects and shapes everything about your role. Everything.

Business Performance is best expressed as finding the right mix of inputs at a given time and getting them to dance together.

This is The Riddle that I speak of. 

Solving the riddle of business performance is complicated. There’s no use positioning it as something simple if it’s not – this would be a disservice to the CEOs of the world who’ve done the hard yards and cracked their own riddle. 

Solving this riddle requires an elite set of skills that cannot be plucked off the shelf (in fact, many elements of this skill set are not known by most CEOs because the subject matter is not yet in the public domain …) which means that a CEO has to seek out these advanced skills and intentionally acquire them. 

My experience of CEOs is that most fall into a default position about their business that differs greatly from reality. They see businesses:

  • As objects
  • In two dimensions
  • Money generators
  • ‘Accelerators’ to be pushed

With this stance in place, Wrestling The Problem is the inevitable choice. And with this particular worldview in place for the 30 – 50 years of a career, that is a lot of toil and suffering to endure. 

But when you shift to see businesses for what they are:

  • Fluid
  • Alive
  • Responsive
  • Having a soul

… then you’re at the centre of The Riddle and the game changes. You’re on an infinitely more rewarding career path and joy, wealth, meaning and fulfilment will follow suit.

CEOs of the world … pay VERY close attention to this choice. 

So much rides on it

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