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Stepping into the role of the CEO can be a daunting undertaking.

Lockstep CEO, Rowan Belchers, has been advising CEO’s for over two decades and shares some words of wisdom for those new to the role.

It’s a title you’ve worked towards your entire career – Chief Executive Officer – and you’re finally taking up the mantle. As CEO, you’ll find your previous challenges when leading a team to become vastly amplified. You have responsibilities beyond the immediate, your time is stretched like never before and, for the first time, the buck really does stop with you.

The role of CEO is that of ‘system leader’.

The ‘system’ that I refer to is alive, constantly evolving, a responsive organism that is a business, or a company. It’s important to understand that this system has a very direct relationship with the CEO. In fact, a system mirrors the CEO’s character traits – both the best and the worst – in a very direct way, which is a reality that is unique to the singular system leader: the CEO.

So, how should first-time CEOs think about this wonderful, challenging, complex position?

How a CEO kicks off their reign is important because their actions give permissions and non-permissions for their followers.

A few examples include:

  • Many CEOs choose not to move into expensive corner offices as a way of making it clear that access and transparency are important.
  • A CEO might begin with a big company-wide meeting to share a vision for the future and allow people a choice to align (or not) to the future goal of the business.
  • Issue an instruction to all senior leaders – (as a CEO I’m working with recently did) – to require them to all work from a ‘zero base’, meaning to start with a completely blank slate as a way of making a fresh start within a business that had become outdated and irrelevant.

High-performance CEOship is an always-on, refinement-by-inches type of work that requires high attention and the deployment of the full range of intelligence over a period of time. However, there is a ‘going-round-the-first-lap’ opportunity where a CEO must lay the ground for their future endeavours. There is a competence to navigating this period and I hope the above pointers will elevate your performance should you be a recently appointed CEO.

You can download the full article here.

If you are a newly appointed CEO and would like to learn more about how Lockstep can support you, email Rowan rowan@lockstep.co.za directly.

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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