The Role of the CEO When Transforming Your Business


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The Role of the CEO When Transforming Your Business

  1. 1. Leading printing The Role of the CEO When Transforming Your Business By Jerry Scher Published: April 23, 2013 Recently I had the good fortune of experiencing a webinar conducted by Dr. Joe Web – President, Strategies for Management and Wayne Lynn – former printing industry executive, entitled – “Rebuilding Your Print Business Without Killing Your Profits”. The purpose of their webinar was to provide industry executives with a roadmap toward transforming their businesses. Now let me be direct and upfront; I have had many conversations with both of these gentlemen about this subject and I’m quite pleased that they have decided to offer their knowledge and expertise to an industry that is clearly struggling through this evolution. In fact, my motivation to write this column was based on their webinar and of course, earlier conversations I have had with them. You can learn more about their approach in Wayne’s Whitepaper – Why You Should Join a Peer Group to Guide a Business Transformation. “During a business transformation it is imperative that the CEO be completely engaged in the change process” For the past nine months I have been writing columns for What They Think focused on talent acquisition for our industry with my primary focus on the sales and business development component of your business. And based on my assessment and many others, this area of concentration is particularly crucial. However, during their webinar, it became crystal clear to me that I have actually been remiss in not commenting on the even greater need, the role of the CEO/President or whoever the top executive is at a company. In a recent article Change Requires Leadership (if you read it – re-read and if you haven’t read it - read it) I discussed the traits to look for in your leadership team – especially those folks that will assist you in implementing the transformation you may be planning for in your business. After listening to Dr. Joe and Wayne as well as my past executive level experience, I was reminded that change starts at the top; and of course how difficult it is to lead from behind. A great deal has been written about the role of the CEO. As companies in a multitude of industries are confronted with the need to transform their businesses it is even more appropriate to focus on the role of the CEO during a transformation as it may require different skills and competencies. For starters, it is imperative that the CEO be completely engaged in the change process. If we utilize an Assess, Design, Align and Execute approach, then the CEO must be engaged in every aspect of this renovation. And to be perfectly clear, that will probably require that the CEO undergo some personal change as well. In a McKinsey Quarterly, February 2007 –The CEO’s Role in Leading Transformation, the authors describe four key functions the CEO should play during an organizational transformation: 1. The CEO must develop a meaningful “story” and engage his organization openly. 2. The CEO must embark on a personal transformation that results in new behaviors – and lead by example. 3. The CEO must build a strong, aligned team and that may require difficult personnel decisions. 4. The CEO must roll up his sleeves and get personally involved.
  2. 2. When we are struggling to reconsider our business strategies it requires great commitment and energy. The CEO must provide a clear strategic direction as well as the drive and reinforcement essential to the process. The planned changes cannot be accomplished alone therefore a collaborative effort that engages the team at multiple levels within the organization is necessary. This approach must be driven by the CEO and that includes allowing for open debate amongst the team. This requires a very different leadership style than many CEO’s are accustomed to therefore one must be quite open to recognizing their leadership style and implementing the changes necessary. Self-awareness is the first step necessary to change one’s behavioral style; but keep in mind; it is only the first step. Assessing your leadership competence as well as that of your management team should be an integral part of your business transformation. One of the ways that you can begin this personal journey is to work with a validated behavioral assessment that can pinpoint the range of behavioral competencies that you possess. Ideally, this process will enable you to be more aware of your strengths and challenges and begin a journey towards personal development. This same approach should be implemented with your team of managers and an assessment that can predict team performance should follow. So let’s take a look at some of the behavioral competencies that have been identified through research that impact CEO performance; especially during a transformation:         Interpersonal Communications Ability to Energize People Problem Solving Resilience and Persistence Ability to Impact and Influence Strategic Thinker Innovator Leading People Each of these behavioral competencies are made up of multiple behavioral traits. They can easily be assessed, coached and improved upon. However, it does begin with self-awareness and a desire and willingness to improve. If business transformation is in your future than I strongly recommend that you begin with yourself. If you would like more information about assessing CEO behavior and performance or more information about designing your talent acquisition system, contact Jerry Scher at or 404931-9291. For information about the Harrison Assessment - Stay tuned to this continual series – as we continue to focus the challenges of building an effective team. Jerry Scher has been engaged in the graphic communication industry for over 35 years, Jerry's primary goal make those around him more success.
  3. 3. PEOPLE. PERFORMANCE. PROFITABILITY. About Peak Focus, LLC People. Performance. Profitability. Peak Focus gives you the tools to grow, develop and strengthen your team. With a mix of resources that we’ve created ourselves, as well as several powerful tools we’ve carefully assessed and believe in, we combine our passion and experience to guide companies and individuals toward optimized performance. Select your team members with confidence, help your key players develop their soft skills, and learn how to coach your entire team more effectively by engaging the experts at Peak Focus. For more information and access to free resources, please visit our website at Engage With Us Free tools, resources & updates LIKE us on Facebook Check out our blog Follow us on Twitter Follow us on LinkedIn About What They Think? WhatTheyThink is the printing and publishing industry’s leading media organization; offering a wide range of publications delivering unbiased, real-time market intelligence, industry news, economic and trend analysis, peer-to-peer communication, and special reports on emerging technology and critical events. WhatTheyThink also hosts webinars and live events that are timely and relevant o today’s busy industry executives along with consulting and speaker services that leverage a talented pool of writers and industry analysts. Peak Focus LLC © 2008-2013 • All rights reserved. Unauthorized duplication in whole or in part without permission is prohibited.