What do you need?

I try to teach indulgence when I work with CEOs but it’s a surprisingly hard attribute to build.

Indulgence, when broken down, essentially means:

 ‘Caring enough about my role to curate it in an effective, fulfilling and meaningful manner’.

Indulgence – note: this is not the same as decadence – opens up the portal to building leadership ‘craft’. CEO craft is the surest and most effective driver of CEO performance.

CEOs are usually typically stoic about the role which, in appropriate amounts, is noble. 

But there’s a flipside to this stoicism that promotes toil and struggle where there needn’t be. CEOs are not good at answering the question: “What do I need?”

The challenge I experience CEOs facing is that they are typically so overwhelmed that providing a coherent answer to this question is very difficult –  in some cases, impossible. 

In my experience, these are some of the CEO needs that are most neglected:

  • The need for summarised company information rolled up in exactly the way the CEO needs it
  • The need for thoroughbreds in their leadership team
  • The need for rest and rejuvenation
  • The need for space and time to think
  • The need for professional development
  • The need for wise, trusted outside counsel for a sounding board
  • The need for an EA to shield them from white noise and distractions
  • The need for external expertise to fill in lacking expertise
  • The need for access to peer CEOs to compare challenges

The CEO role is hard enough as it is and the bar for excellent CEO performance is high. Every small gain you can make to reduce the strain, volume and complexity of the role is material.

I hope that these prompts reveal an aspect of your overall CEO experience that requires attention. Generally, the fixes are pretty obvious and easily accomplished.

But only with a dose of indulgence in the mix.

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