Search
Close this search box.
Search
Close this search box.

Why We Do What We Do

The true perks of being a CEO go well beyond increasing profits.

When I left my second large-company experience to become president of a small manufacturing company, I did so driven by ego; I fancied the title. Soon enough, I realized I was in for some major challenges, the likes of which I had never before experienced.

At first, I was motivated by self-preservation, but, over time, I found a greater purpose. After a year of rough waters, layoffs, staff reductions, cash flow issues and more, the seas calmed, and we began an exciting journey.

Once out of the rough patch, with everyone feeling more secure and confident, an engineering manager asked me, “Why are you doing this, what’s in it for you?” I answered without thinking, a trait I had not yet mastered, and said, “George Washington slept here.” He was puzzled by my answer but not nearly as much as I. For the first time in my life, I realized how important it was to be remembered for having a positive impact on people’s lives. The seed was probably planted early in my childhood but conveniently hidden until I was mature enough to allow it to blossom.

Recently, a group of 181 CEOs representing the Business Roundtable, including Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, American Airlines’ Doug Parker, Bank of America’s Brian Moynihan, Coca-Cola’s James Quincey and many others, formally “redefined” the purpose of an American corporation to embrace the needs of constituencies other than shareholders. It seems the CEOs of these large public companies understand now what many of us in the mid-market learned long ago—the true perks of being a CEO go well beyond increasing profits.

From that point forward, as I learned more about myself and the client leaders with whom I worked. I’ve come to cherish many of these perks. Here are a few:

• Guiding an enterprise in charting a course to the future and then leading it through its evolutionary cycles.

• Testing your own limits of leadership and then expanding them.

• Learning new disciplines, new processes, new technologies and new protocols.

• Creating and sustaining an environment of dignity and self-fulfillment.

• Sponsoring and enjoying a culture of continuous improvement, both for the enterprise and for its participants.

• Mentoring the willing and coaching all, openly sharing failures as well as successes to help them grow.

• Taking pride in the personal growth and accomplishments of others.

• Supporting the community with both dollars and deeds.

• Being respected by customers, suppliers and industry peers, as well as the governance professionals serving the enterprise.

• Building a foundation so strong that it survives you.

• Being remembered not only for the strength of the enterprise you guided but by the many lives you touched.

• And, finally, humbly taking pride in the road you have walked and the path you have cleared for others to follow.

After many years of working with so many clients, I was asked to become CEO of one of those clients while still maintaining my practice on a limited basis. I accepted, and when asked, “Why are you doing this?” this time the answer didn’t come as a surprise. It was not only the opportunity to continue to learn but for me to share in one place all the lessons I’d learned along the way.


MORE LIKE THIS

  • Get the CEO Briefing

    Sign up today to get weekly access to the latest issues affecting CEOs in every industry
  • upcoming events

    Roundtable

    Strategic Planning Workshop

    1:00 - 5:00 pm

    Over 70% of Executives Surveyed Agree: Many Strategic Planning Efforts Lack Systematic Approach Tips for Enhancing Your Strategic Planning Process

    Executives expressed frustration with their current strategic planning process. Issues include:

    1. Lack of systematic approach (70%)
    2. Laundry lists without prioritization (68%)
    3. Decisions based on personalities rather than facts and information (65%)

     

    Steve Rutan and Denise Harrison have put together an afternoon workshop that will provide the tools you need to address these concerns.  They have worked with hundreds of executives to develop a systematic approach that will enable your team to make better decisions during strategic planning.  Steve and Denise will walk you through exercises for prioritizing your lists and steps that will reset and reinvigorate your process.  This will be a hands-on workshop that will enable you to think about your business as you use the tools that are being presented.  If you are ready for a Strategic Planning tune-up, select this workshop in your registration form.  The additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $695 will be added to your total.

    New York, NY: ​​​Chief Executive's Corporate Citizenship Awards 2017

    Women in Leadership Seminar and Peer Discussion

    2:00 - 5:00 pm

    Female leaders face the same issues all leaders do, but they often face additional challenges too. In this peer session, we will facilitate a discussion of best practices and how to overcome common barriers to help women leaders be more effective within and outside their organizations. 

    Limited space available.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $495 will be added to your total.

    Golf Outing

    10:30 - 5:00 pm
    General’s Retreat at Hermitage Golf Course
    Sponsored by UBS

    General’s Retreat, built in 1986 with architect Gary Roger Baird, has been voted the “Best Golf Course in Nashville” and is a “must play” when visiting the Nashville, Tennessee area. With the beautiful setting along the Cumberland River, golfers of all capabilities will thoroughly enjoy the golf, scenery and hospitality.

    The golf outing fee includes transportation to and from the hotel, greens/cart fees, use of practice facilities, and boxed lunch. The bus will leave the hotel at 10:30 am for a noon shotgun start and return to the hotel after the cocktail reception following the completion of the round.

    To sign up, select this option in your registration form. Additional fee of $295 will be added to your total.