This month I will commence writing my next book, 'The Strategic CEO', for CEOs or those on the path to becoming one. To succeed, CEOs need to embrace several paradoxes, which I will unpack in the book.
Strategic CEOs are north star leaders who embody twelve extraordinary habits.
Strategic CEOs actively steer their organisations. Strategic CEOs don't get stuck in a Boardroom or behind a desk. They repeatedly engage with the business, its employees, customers, suppliers and shareholders. For CEOs, their time, not money, is the scarcest resource they have to ensure their firm grows profitably.
Demands on CEOs come from many quarters. If a CEO falls behind, they are forced to shift from being proactive to being reactive. Proactivity creates a virtuous cycle with many opportunities. Reactivity can create a vicious cycle, with increasingly riskier fires for a CEO to put out.
To mitigate the risks of tripping up, lagging behind or falling into a reactive spiral, CEOs need to think and act strategically and prioritise their time accordingly. CEOs will have a job description from their Board, which serves as a general guide and framework to assess their performance. However, deciding the amount of time and energy to give to different aspects of their role comes down to the CEO.
CEOs who major in minor things risk not understanding the firm's broader contextual and environmental challenges. CEOs who spend most of their time with big-picture thinking can miss the 'devil in the detail.' When it comes to success, there is no substitute for experience.
Fortunately for CEOs, a swag of proven management theories can be applied to critical aspects of the business, such as strategy, quality assurance, cost accounting, branding, etc. Reliable theories and models for CEO behaviours are harder to find. A Strategic CEO is proactive and develops their own uniquely valuable leadership style, including some simple yet reliable traits and behaviours. This book will reveal the traits and behaviours that separate Strategic CEOs from the rest of the pack.
To assist readers, I will examine and apply the learnings and lessons of some exceptional leaders and CEOs. In the final analysis, the book will reveal that Strategic CEOs belong to an elite group of fiercely determined, highly trusted, quietly confident experts. I will cite the lessons of CEOs and leaders of twelve evergreen and strategically successful organisations: Tesla; Intel; Netflix; Estee Lauder; Apple; Microsoft; San Antonio Spurs; Merck; Stitch Fix; Qantas; NEOM, and the Navy Seals.