Training The CEO Breakthrough Leadership

Training The CEO

Focus on the Primary not the Secondary

What I’ve noticed is that all the leadership training I have seen or taken part in, is secondary in effect at best, not primary. One well-lauded Leadership ‘guru’ took work put together by others and wrote a book about it, making himself the authority. On speaking to one of those others, he told me that he and his small team had just put together some stuff they thought would be useful. There was no science, research, or evidence behind it. Having been through Breakthrough with me he now realised just how secondary the old approaches are.

Perhaps the most famous example of secondary effect comes from the late Stephen Covey of Seven Habits fame. Apparently Mr. Covey had a contract with the US Navy to teach officers about leadership. In the book ‘Turn the Ship Around’ David Marquet describes how he took his submarine from the bottom of the league table to the top within a very short time and without changing any of the crew. Mr. Covey went to see how he did it. What David did (primary) was not what Mr. Covey taught (secondary).

Rebuild your CEO from the bottom up

To develop someone as a person and as a leader you have to start at the bottom – below the surface – and work up, just as if you were building a house. That process starts by bringing their unconsciously held values into their conscious awareness. The next step is to release repressed negative emotions and limiting beliefs. The last step below the surface is to release physical tension from the body. There is no training the CEO, except ours, which does this.

If you do not go below the surface, then you cannot bring your whole self to the field of play. As a general rule shareholders believe they are paying more than enough for the CEO to bring their whole self to the role, but it’s just not happening. No one would knowingly pay for a CEO to turn up at only 80% match fitness, but many are way less fit than this.

You need to resolve the executive team too

Most organisations today are comprised of unresolved senior executives, each out for themselves at their shareholders’ expense. These organisations carry a huge amount of inefficiency hidden by their size which is caused by this misalignment of desired values (those desired by the shareholders) and delivered values (those lived by the executives).

In this VUCA age the only way for an organisation to transform is when resolved executives dismantle the old hierarchic ways from the inside. Our training is a key part of the executive’s journey to personal resolution.

Start at the top of the organisation and work down

To develop the organisation, you have to start at the top and work down. It would be futile for resolved executives to be led by an unresolved CEO. They would just see straight through him or her. Only a resolved CEO can build a resolved organisation. George Prince proved in the 1950’s that Hierarchical behaviours are the opposite of those required for innovation. If your organisation isn’t innovating, it’s dying. Be prepared to rip out whole layers of bureaucracy and be prepared to fight to do it. It is always interesting to note who is fighting you and why.

A resolved business makes more money

All other things being equal, a resolved business makes more money than an unresolved one. The scarcity thinking of the unresolved organisation may enrich the senior management team at the shareholders expense, but the abundant thinking of the resolved organisation provides more for all stakeholders.

You’ll need to evolve the CEO’s operating system too

There was a survey done, a few years ago, on Fortune 500 CEOs. It asked them how often they were interrupted. The answer, as an average across all the respondents, was every eleven minutes. The authors concluded that these CEOs would be more effective, stoned on Marijuana, as long as they weren’t interrupted. Interruptions cost significant IQ points! It was clear from the survey that most big company CEOs did not have an effective modus operandi, ie one that protects their primary capability. And if they don’t, it is highly likely that the CEOs of smaller companies do not either.

Without it, you are not going to get the best out of the CEO or their management team.

It is much better to train the CEO and have them leave, than not train them and have them stay.

For more information on Training The CEO contact Breakthrough Leadership.