Running a company is not always a sprint, often it's like running a marathon. In preparing for a successful marathon, I've learned to mix up my training. Sometimes I need to train longer distances. This morning I ran a 21 km piece in preparation for my upcoming Marathon in June.
Other times I need to do sprint training on the track.
The same goes for being an efficient and effective CEO.
My friend Rowan, a retired CEO and veteran of the telco industry, shares the three primary functions that guided him as a CEO for twenty years: gaining employee buy-in, having a clear vision, and ensuring alignment between all parts of the business. This is typically a slow process and takes time. Here slow and steady wins the race.
Yet for a new CEO, it's important to very quickly cultivate self-awareness and embrace your shadow. Ego management and self-care are critical. You must be fast here. Expanding your awareness helps you prepare for and adapt in the face of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity (VUCA) and increasingly chaotic contexts characterised by brittleness, anxiety, nonlinearity, and incomprehensibility (BANI).
A CEO who beautifully models multiple speeds is my friend Graham, who has been the CEO of his global travel agency since its inception 43 years ago. Graham's three secrets for peace, prosperity, economic growth and progress are having the right people and leaders, persistence and patience, and staying curious and expansive in his thinking.
So if you want to be an efficient and effective CEO, remember to be strategic with your choice of speeds for different tasks. Always gain employee buy-in, have a clear vision, ensure alignment between all parts of the business, cultivate self-awareness, and make sure you wear the right shoes for the task at hand.