The ‘inner game’ and the ‘outer game’ of CEOship

February 25, 2020
By Rowan Belchers
I like the simplicity of this phrase and the way of thinking it prompts when it comes to leadership.

It speaks to two distinct forms of leadership:

Inner game: your thoughts, beliefs, knowledge of self, management of self, vitality, critical thinking, ego management.

Outer game: your visible actions, how you manage conversations, your ability to change leadership mode, your routines and habits, how you allocate your leadership time and energy.

Most CEOs I work with dedicate 90% of their time to the Outer game – in error.

The Outer game is 100% a function of the quality of the Inner game. It’s not more important but definitely comes 2nd in the sequence. In the construct of leadership being made up of 3 elements (Character, Skill and Knowledge) this is an invitation to double-down on the quality of your ‘inner’ game.

Your first port of call is time and space and how you carve out quality time for your thinking, your perspective, your slowing down, and your insight-creating.

From here you will get a clearer idea of what really matters to you in order to translate this into your ‘outer’ game.

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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