As a CEO, when is the right time to invest in yourself?

August 5, 2020
By Rowan Belchers
A few plain truths about being a CEO:
  • You will always be too busy to set aside time for self-development.
  • There will always be an endless list of topics and skills that you could benefit from acquiring.
  • You will think about what other people require to perform before you think about your own performance.
  • There is an infinite number of “10 things a CEO should ….” lists that cross your path, all of which will feel attractive.

Over the next few months, you will be able to follow the journey of CEO Kevin Liebenberg as part of his quest to unlock 30% better personal performance and 30% more joy from his leadership by way of the “Hello CEO ….” initiative.

Following Kevin’s journey and observing his shifts might prompt you to interrogate your own development needs. Your response will be worth noting: attraction, resistance, denial, motivation, interest, comparison, procrastination. Those might or might not be a wise choice, but only you will know that.

In my experience, there are a few signs to look for that might dictate your decision to start a CEO learning journey:

  1. Return on (your) effort is decreasing
  2. Energy is low
  3. Things are moving faster than you can keep up
  4. You are being buried
  5. You are feeling uncertain
  6. Anxiety exists within your body
  7. You feel stale and ready for change

Development cycles come in waves and there absolutely should be a period of non-evolution so that you can integrate learnings and put them to good use within your business.

The preferred state that I seek in my CEO clients when undertaking a learning journey is ‘curiosity’ – that is the optimal, ego-free, open-stance position from which to learn. I would also be very surprised if COVID hadn’t surfaced one or two of the above ‘states’, given the magnitude of the changes that have taken place over the past 100 days.

At a minimum, try to be direct and honest with yourself about your current ‘state’ regarding whether a learning intervention is required. Even if you choose not to embark on one, acknowledge the true reasons behind that choice. That alone will be helpful.

I look forward to including you in this very rare look into a high-performing CEO’s development path.

Rowan Belchers

Rowan Belchers

Rowan is the founder and CEO of Lockstep, a business leadership consultancy. Lockstep works with CEO’s, executive teams and future leaders globally, partnering with clients who seek customised leadership solutions. Rowan is a highly respected advisor to CEOs with over two decades’ experience in guiding businesses and their leaders towards reaching their fullest potential. Rowan leads The CEO Project, a Lockstep initiative.
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