Walk a Mile in the CEO Shoes.
May month means that spring is in full bloom for us in the UK and this period is often descried as a time for rebirth, renewal, and re-awakening. Things are literally coming to life and we are bursting with new energy! It feels perfect to theme this month as the month of Empathy and take a close look at what this especially important emotion really means.
Empathy is the capacity to understand or feel what another person is experiencing from within their world and literally to walk in their shoes. Perception is a very powerful thing, and we quite literally see things differently according to our filters. Learning how to see things from other people’s perspective can be such an eye opener because suddenly we see things that may not be what we “perceived” them to be for that person. Very appropriately quoted by the late Dr Wayne Dyer said “If you change the way you look at things, it changes what you see.”
This week we want to focus on what it could be like to walk in the shoes of your CEO. Let’s take a closer look at the emotions that they may be experiencing. For now, try to set aside that (rather horrible, but common) human trait of assuming and judging. We all do it! Making the assumption that because the CEO drives a lovely car and lives in a plush house, their life is like a bed of roses. The assumption that they have no doubts, no fears and no worries is just that, an assumption! You may just be surprised!
Do yourself a favour and stop and really think about this. Take the time to ask yourself some questions. What is life really like for people in the CEO’s position and why should your awareness and sensitivity make any difference? Well, in a nutshell, it is always beneficial to take the focus off ourselves and consider what life is like for others because when we do this, we immediately connect and relate better. We see things from a much broader perspective that can have a far-reaching impact on how we think and ultimately on how we work. Connecting and relating better with your CEO will certainly make you feel more connected to the organisation. Considering how much time we spend at work, feeling connected and working as part of a focused, supportive team, makes for a much more enjoyable and meaningful experience.
So, what does it really feel like to be at the very top of an organisation? How does it feel to be solely accountable? What is it like to know that all the employees (and their families) lives are your absolute responsibility? How does it feel to have to go to the board of executors or shareholders to tell them that the company did not achieve the revenue goal?
For us to REALLY walk a mile in the CEO’s shoes, let’s take a look at what some of the tasks are that comes with this job title.
Pleasure to meet you! I am hot seat Harry/Harriet, and I am in the C-Suite. (Things can feel a little hot in here!) Some of the things that I am responsible for are:
- The overall success of our organization and for making top-level managerial decisions.
- Creation and implementation of our organisation’s vision and mission.
- Developing and executing our short-long-term strategies and setting strategic measurable goals.
- Ensuring our corporate social responsibility strategies are current.
- Managing our resources, risk and return across the company, always with the goal of increasing the shareholder stakes.
- Communicating with our shareholders, government entities, and the public.
- Evaluating the work of our executive leaders within the company, including directors and sales managers.
- Maintaining awareness of the competitive market landscape, expansion opportunities, industry developments
Whilst I sit here simply contemplating these things, I can literally feel the pressure. The higher up you are and the more you earn, the more accountable you become. Yes, you may have a big salary, and in most cases, you have created a lifestyle that offers everything of the best for your family. The private schools, the extra activities and hobbies, the holidays and generally living to a high standard which can be frightening and daunting when your teams are not hitting the revenue goals. Sustaining all of this for your family must be very pressurising.
CEO’S work long hours and often when the workday is over, the responsibilities for the CEO are not. They travel a lot and spend many hours living in hotel rooms and sitting on planes. Sounds glamourous but it is not. It can be lonely and all of us prefer to sleep in the comfort of our own homes. Most CEOs share the same characteristics in that they are hardworking go getters who have studied extensively to get to where they are. They are accountable and responsible and luckily, most successful CEO’S have high emotional intelligence. (Boy, do they need it!) They are used to achieving and one of the biggest frustrations CEO’s consistently must deal with is when their teams are not doing what they are supposed to do.
Certainly, this is the case with the CEO’s I have spoken with. They have told me they feel deeply frustrated as they have taken every conceivable step and measure to ensure that things should run successfully. They have sourced the right people through extensive and often, expensive recruitment drives. They have invested in training and equipping their teams and providing them with all the tools they need to do a good job.
They did it all and yet, the biggest headaches still exist. The 3 most common ones that I hear are:
1. Sales managers do not seem to be managing their teams effectively! (By the way, this is not your fault sales managers!)
2. Inconsistent (yo-yo) sales results.
3. Retention of skilled staff.
This is the information hot seat Harry/Harriet NEEDS from their managers
- Accurate updates on the status of the sales pipeline?
- What are the obstacles that could stop us from achieving our goals?
- Which salespeople are working best, and how can we replicate this with others?
- Which salespeople are not achieving, and why? What action plans do you have to help improve their performance?
- How confident are you of achieving our sales goals?
This is just a snippet of the information that your CEO needs before they can go to the board room meeting. Seriously, how do you think it feels to be the one who needs to explain all the reasons why the target was missed and what will be done to fix this.
The truth is we NEVER truly understand something until we experience it. I do hope that you can at least get an idea of how this feels for your CEO? I certainly do empathise for you Harry or Harriet. 🙂
If you are a CEO or a Sales Manager who needs better performance, resilience and reliability from your team, an excellent place to start is to establish your staff’s emotional intelligence skills. Fill in this short online assessment and receive a report on the current level of your sales team’s ability to sell using emotional intelligence as a tool. In further consultation with us we can help you to build a training program that integrates your company objectives while developing your sales force to sense, understand and effectively apply the power of their emotions during interactions with buyers to not only close their sales but to exceed their targets.
You can do that here Emotional Intelligence Online Sales Assessment | Sales Skills Accelerator