Five Leadership Keys to “Getting the People Right”

Get the people rightOne theme that is always heard at CEO Connection Boot Camps is something that sounds like, “You’ve got to get the people right.”

After all, your people are your most strategic asset. Your “secret sauce” without a brilliant team will get you nowhere. But how do you make sure you actually are “getting the people right?’

From my perspective, these are the five keys for you as a leader to make sure you’re leveraging:

1. Ask your people what they’re genuinely passionate about

I have discovered in recent years that at business and networking events one of the best ways to truly connect with executives is to ask them what they are passionate about. Yes, even the most stoic of executives will immediately smile, relax and illuminate as they connect with their inner self and reflect on what brings them the most joy in life. It’s that inner connection that is the key.

Use this same approach with your team members and everyone in your organization. Invest the time to discover what they are passionate about, and then go one step further and ask, “What is it about (sailing, for instance) that makes you so passionate?” In doing so, we receive clues to roles they will naturally excel in.

For example, answers such as “the teamwork involved,” “freedom,” and “the ability to chart my own course,” help leaders put team members in roles that provide them these same benefits and enable them to thrive. Taking the time to do this well shows you are truly committed to not only “getting the people right,” but also to empowering them to feel truly alive while at work.

2. Know the strengths of each team member

We all have weaknesses as humans that we bring to our jobs. Most stem from our fears, insecurities and struggles with jealousy and forgiveness. But the general consensus among CEOs seems to be that unless these flaws are “fatal” (harmful to others, the culture or the business environment), the main focus of development should be on honing and leveraging team member strengths.

If someone is an exceptional negotiator, put them in roles that provide opportunities for them to negotiate and to hone this skill. Great motivators will take groups of people who have been lacking motivation and turn them into inspired contributors. And leaders who are adept at leading by example should shepherd teams that may have been lacking an example. Here again, investing the time to think strategically about this is critical.

3. Set your people up for success

By giving your employees opportunities to be passionate about their work and to leverage their strengths you are certainly well on your way to setting them up for success. You complete the loop by ensuring they have proper resources and support to get their job done, and by providing them a clear leadership vision to work toward, a values-driven environment and a nurturing, empowering culture.

4. Let go of the people who are holding you back

It’s as simple as that.

The number one thing CEOs always say they wish they’d done sooner is move faster on talent decisions. If someone is resisting change, not adhering to organizational values, does not fit with the culture or is doing anything to hold back their peers, the team or the organization, you simply must let them go.

By letting this person go you set the rest of your team up for success. That is the power of this move.

5. Check in with your people often and re-address the first four keys

Make talent management a priority as a leader, this is not a one-shot deal. The organization will change, your industry will evolve, your people will grow… You must be committed to addressing and re-addressing the first four keys in order to consistently “get the people right.”

What did I leave out? What works for you to ensure you are “getting the people right?”

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The Introvert's Guide to Success in Business and Leadership

The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership

Are you an introvert looking to use your introversion to your advantage in business & leadership or an extrovert interested in leading introverts more effectively? I wrote this eBook for you…

The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership” eBook is NOW Available! Amazon Best Seller, Amazon Hot New Release, and the inspiration behind my Harvard Business Review article! Featured on Huffington Post.


BUY Now on Amazon for Kindle or Buy it at B&N for Nook! Also available on iBooks!

Click here to DOWNLOAD in PDF format. Thank you!

Being an introvert is truly an advantage in business and leadership if you know how to leverage it, and if you remain true to yourself.

FOR SPEAKING & MAGNETIC LEADERSHIP PROGRAM INQUIRIES: [email protected]

Photo of Business Meeting by thetaxhaven.

5 Leadership Secrets to Being a Successful CEO

Business success of a businessmanAs a member of the CEO Connection team, I have the opportunity to attend CEO Boot Camps with our members several times a year, the most recent event having occurred here in Chicago last week. The night before each Boot Camp we have a dinner event featuring a seasoned CEO sharing lessons they’ve learned in their role.

At this most recent dinner we had the CEO of a storied Chicago company offering his perspective on, “The five keys to being a successful CEO.” I found them insightful and candid and am honored to share them with you here:

1. You Have to Want to be CEO

While this may seem obvious, the reality is the job is not for everyone, and this particular CEO felt strongly that you cannot go into it for the title or the compensation. Instead, you have to be passionate about creating value for employees, customers and shareholders. As he remarked emotionally, “Every waking hour I am thinking about this company. When you get to that point, you feel the heartbeat of the company.”

2. Treat the First 90 Days Like a Blind Date

The first 90 days in any job are crucial; even more so in a CEO role with all eyes of the Board of Directors, employees and “the street” upon you. There is an element of risk involved when “putting yourself out there” for intense scrutiny. This gentleman advocated meeting one-on-one with every member of the Board and requesting a clear indication of their expectations of you in the role. Discerning whether or not you hear the same thing from each of them will give you a feel for how aligned or divided they are as a Board.

Acknowledging the degree to which they are truly aligned will better prepare you to work with them. And recognizing you have a very short time to make a stellar impression with the Board, your employees, and the street is your impetus for immediate action.

3. Own the Vision…Passionately

Not only do you have to own it passionately, you have to be able to clearly communicate it to every stakeholder. As the CEO stated candidly, “People will know if you believe in it. You cannot waver.” And if part of your vision includes changing the culture, appreciate that it will take you at least five years to do so.

4. Reflect the Light and Absorb the Heat

Great CEOs accept that they have full accountability for everything that happens in their company. This gentleman believes it is his role to ensure his employees get credit for “everything good that happens,” and that it falls on his shoulders to take the heat when someone makes a poor decision. “They have to know I have their back.”

5. Treat Your Board as Your Partner, Not Your Friend or Enemy

“I don’t care if they like me, but I do care if they respect me,” stated the CEO. “It’s far more important to be respected than it is to be liked. You cannot go through life as a leader worrying about if people like you or not.”

Remember that you represent the management team to the Board, so when meeting with the Board you are serving both groups. “Regardless of the conversation during Board meetings, he emphasized, “it’s vitally important that when we leave the room we’re united.”

As a leader, do these five advisements resonate with you?

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The Introvert's Guide to Success in Business and Leadership

The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership

Are you an introvert looking to use your introversion to your advantage in business & leadership or an extrovert interested in leading introverts more effectively? I wrote this eBook for you…

The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership” eBook is NOW Available! Amazon Best Seller, Amazon Hot New Release, and the inspiration behind my Harvard Business Review article! Featured on Huffington Post.


BUY Now on Amazon for Kindle or Buy it at B&N for Nook! Also available on iBooks!

Click here to DOWNLOAD in PDF format. Thank you!

Being an introvert is truly an advantage in business and leadership if you know how to leverage it, and if you remain true to yourself.

FOR SPEAKING & MAGNETIC LEADERSHIP PROGRAM INQUIRIES: [email protected]

Photo of Business success of a businessman by s_falkow.

* CEO Connection is the only membership organization in the world focused exclusively on mid market CEOs. The organization connects thousands of mid-market CEOs and rising CEOs with each other and to people, information and resources which will help them succeed. The average size of the companies they run is $1.8 billion in annual revenue and 7,600 employees. It is all about CEOs helping CEOs.

New Survey of CEOs Reveals How They’re Using Social Media

CEO Connection, for which I serve as Chief Relationship Officer, just released the results of its June Mid-Market Index (for companies with revenues of $100  million to $3 billion) focused on the use of Social Media. In this survey our member CEOs revealed:

Additionally, CEOs gave their perspective of current business conditions relative to last month:

My perspective on these results:

1. I was not surprised that 59% said they don’t use social media for any official communication given that the word “official” holds a higher level of responsibility for CEOs, in my experience. For example, the CEOs I work with who use Twitter to share links of interest to them, or who use internal Twitter-type micro-blogging and regular blogs to casually communicate their activities to employees would not likely categorize these activities as “official communication.” I suspect CEOs perceive “official communication” to represent something similar to Fed-Ex’s blog and video response to a computer being thrown over a fence at the height of holiday shopping last December, in which the Senior VP of US Operations used social media to communicate in an official manner on behalf of the company.

2. On the other hand, studies about the impact of CEOs who use social media show consumers are more likely or much more likely to buy from a company whose CEO uses social media to clearly define company values and leadership principles – which could absolutely be classified as official communications. And in the study I’ve referenced, 94% said C-suite social media participation enhances a brand image. CEOs who are not using social media at all, or who are not using it in an external-facing manner, should be made aware of the significant benefits of a proactive social media communication strategy.

3. If the 50% who use social media but say it’s not a significant part of their marketing responded this way because they’re either struggling to build engagement around their social media marketing efforts or are unclear of how to take their “starter efforts” to the next level (as I suspect may be the case with a number of them), there are a plethora of resources they can look to for advice. For starters, the Content Marketing Institute can provide advice to companies like this on how to create tremendously valuable content to drive these efforts. Additionally, Mack Collier’s upcoming book “Think Like a Rockstar” will teach companies how to solve this common social media marketing problem.

4. I was shocked to see that at this point in time nearly 40% of CEOs are not using social media to listen to public thoughts and opinions about their brand and products. I believe this is a minimum requirement for CEOs of companies of this size ($100 million to $3 billion in revenues). Yet, I know when we tell CEO Connection members how easy it is to simply set up a Google Alert for their company and brand names, many are unaware of this. These communications are critical for companies of this size and may be designed to be unintrusive to CEOs.

How about you – were you surprised by any of this? Would you say your perspective is similar to these mid-market CEOs? Please share in the comments! 

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The CEO Connection Mid-Market Index is the only monthly poll designed to determine and regularly represent the thoughts, issues, and levels of confidence of CEOs of mid-market companies. It provides valuable data from the perspective of the mid market C-Suite; a perspective that is important and deserving of attention but usually lost among small business surveys and Fortune 100 reviews. This survey is administered and analyzed by The NPD Group, experts in consumer market research, reports and analysis.

CEO Connection is the only membership organization in the world focused exclusively on mid market CEOs. The organization connects thousands of mid-market CEOs and rising CEOs with each other and to people, information and resources which will help them succeed. The average size of the companies they run is $1.8 billion in annual revenue and 7,600 employees. It is all about CEOs helping CEOs.

~

The Introvert's Guide to Success in Business and Leadership

The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership

Are you an introvert looking to use your introversion to your advantage in business & leadership or an extrovert interested in leading introverts more effectively? I wrote this eBook for you…

The Introvert’s Guide to Success in Business and Leadership” eBook is NOW Available! Now an Amazon Best Seller, Hot New Release, and Kindle promotion in July 2012. Featured on Huffington Post, and the inspiration behind my Harvard Business Review article!

BUY Now on Amazon for Kindle or Buy it at B&N for Nook! Also available on iBooks!

Click here to DOWNLOAD in PDF format. Thank you!

Being an introvert is truly an advantage in business and leadership if you know how to leverage it, and if you remain true to yourself.