‘Concocting’: a vital CEO-skill that you might not have clocked

May 20, 2020
By Rowan Belchers

Talking about the ‘artistry’ in leadership can sound a bit trite and cliche’d. I get that – it’s a departure from the more orthodox, linear, quantifiable way of seeing leadership and business performance.

But the artistry aspect needs to be unpacked in order to move past the cliche and into the usefulness of this way of thinking.

As a system-leader – or enterprise leader, as the CEO position is nowadays being referred to – you are responsible for bringing a whole bunch of people, energy, initiatives, ideas, hopes, capital and technology together in a manner that ‘wins’.

This can be done unconsciously in a way that piles all of these forces on top of each other and leaves you with a business that is random and scattered, the forces potentially working against one another.

Or, you can apply the creative ‘druid’ in you that develops an ability to ‘concoct’ a performance-enhancing solution across your system. No-one else can do this: only the system-leader has the full perspective, control and influence to get it done.

What does this look like, practically?

Firstly, you need the ability to ‘sense’ – or feel – your system beneath you.

  • Is it firing?
  • Is it slow?
  • Is it uninspired?
  • Is it overheated?
  • Is it directionless?
  • Is it focused?

Beyond that diagnosis, you need to be able to dissect what forces are under- or over-emphasized:

  • Is operational focus required to tighten things up?
  • Is a dash of culture needed to align people?
  • Is more leadership capacity needed to spread healthy influence?
  • Is better tech needed to speed things up and limit time-wasting?
  • Is the organization over-stretched and needing some rest?
  • Has there not been enough change and do things need a shake-up?

I could go on as there is an infinite range of scenarios.

The point is this: if you are blindly stacking one initiative on top of the other without getting a sense of how it’s all coming together, then your organization is operating without a conductor.

So dial up the creative/sensor/magician/the druid in you and see your business like the living, breathing organism that it is.

Give it a reason to seek full performance and it will do as you ask: better profits, better talent, more joy, more meaning.

Rowan Belchers

Rowan Belchers

Rowan Belchers is the founder and CEO of Lockstep, a business leadership consultancy. Lockstep works with CEO’s, executive teams and future leaders across the African continent, 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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