The CEO check-in

August 18, 2019
By Rowan Belchers

I often describe my role as a cheerleader for Leadership. 

A large part of that is undoing the negative narrative leaders have about how depleting work inevitably is. This belief is incredibly limiting and – these days, at least – just plain untrue.

There has never been a better time to be a CEO as the optionality about where you work, how you work, who you work with and what you do has never been greater. This is even more true for the CEO, given your ability to make change.

If I look back over my CEO relationships over the past 15 years, there are clear themes. One prominent theme is that the happiest CEOs are the successful CEOs (note: this is not reverse causality – it’s not their success that makes them happy, it’s how they’ve shaped their life).

What sits below this is what I call ‘healthy indulgence’: maximizing their enjoyment of every single aspect of their role: their office, their schedule, their food, their offsite locations, how they do their reviews, how their Exco meets, how their meetings are prepared for, how their family is integrated in their work, how their offices are decorated, what kinds of people they recruit into their business, how they do their CSI, how they work with purpose. The list goes on.

None of this is possible if your underpinning belief around your CEOship is that it’s something to be ‘endured’: depletion, sacrifice, hardship.

So that is my challenge to you:

Check-in with yourself about how much you’ve let yourself dream into your role and to what extent your beliefs might be influenced by old ideas and inherited organizational history.

If you feel that you’re not getting the joy you’d like out of your privileged CEO position, then try asking yourself the following:

  • Do you control your time, or if you’re at the mercy of other people’s demands?
  • Does your partner truly understand what you do, and why you do it?
  • Do you allow your work experience to be ‘joyful’ – yes, joyful!
  • Are the full extent of all your talents – all of them – are expressed in your business?.
  • Would you be proud of your work endeavour if it all ended tomorrow?

These are big, higher purpose questions. And they should be, because how you approach your work matters.

CEOs matter.

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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