Exceptional Leadership: The Role of The CEO
There are thousands of books and articles on how to be a successful business leader, and they keep coming. However, they can be complex, too theoretical and often reflect one individual’s view of the world. The basics of leadership have not changed. What has, is that to lead effectively in today’s world, you must deliver these basics at a much higher level of performance.
The objective of this session is to highlight the key factors, techniques, challenges, and sometimes outright deficiencies which I have identified and observed during my 20 year period as a Chairman with Vistage International, thus providing an essential checklist of what successful leaders do, or could do better, to outperform their competition, and practice Exceptional Leadership.
There is a lot of material in the handout, which could be of value on several fronts:
- A check list of good practice. Much of this material a longer standing Vistage member will have covered at some point before, but it is always worth reflecting on how many of the items on the list have been substantially put into practice. Standing back and looking at a comprehensive overview and audit of progress can be helpful.
- The biggest challenges and pitfalls identified. These have become a priority action list for my own Vistage members to overcome, and I consider them great opportunities to get right.
- A few ideas or new areas of leadership opportunity which may not have been covered before.
In this three-hour workshop, I will pick out a selection of specific challenges and new ideas to work on, mainly from paragraphs 2 two and three above.
Added October 2017.
Sales Skills and Tactics
The need to sell well is paramount. And it is not just about selling products or services to prospective customers; it is also about selling oneself to all the stakeholders in a business, which include employees, shareholders, Boards of Directors, key suppliers and many others. However, most senior executives, including many of those with marketing and sales backgrounds, have never been taught the art of selling, or really know what it is that their sales leaders and sales staff need to do to be successful. It is about a skill set which has to be practised continuously, and developed over years of experience.
Many programmes focus on sales processes, basic questioning techniques, overcoming objections and sales management, but, within all these various activities, this session serves to identify the personal tactics which make the difference between success and failure. As a framework it draws on a number of concepts and ideas from early thinking such as AIDA, and then on to SPIN Selling, The Rational Selling Model, NLP and Neuromarketing, but the real art is to use them selectively and tactically.
By the end of this session the participants will have been introduced to a number of key skills:
- How to get control of a sales process and keep it through to the close.
- First meeting tactics.
- Getting attention and establishing credibility and trust.
- Understand why prospects say No, or Not Now.
- How to organise to establish and sell benefits, uncover needs and present features.
- Strategic value differentiation and value pricing.
- Tactical use of references to increase closing rates.
- Get insights into reasons why their current sales processes are not working.
- Understand what sales managers must do to maintain a successful sales team.
- The characteristics of great sales people.
Improving Productivity: Eliminating the Causes of Waste and Lost Time
An operations topic not tackled head on by business leaders. Worse, it is a constant challenge that Britain’s level of productivity is below its major western competitors, yet it never improves and the headlines call for better investment or working practices without understanding what really needs to change. And it not just about technology or having more motivated or engaged people that solves the problem – although they are part of the solution.
This session aims to give an extensive overview of the options and approaches that are available to a business leader, but brings them together in a holistic approach that implies that any one single intervention will never produce substantive and lasting performance improvements.
This workshop will cover:
- The role of any operating environment needs to be strategic in its requirement. So start from the top.
- Technology change and investment.
- The causes of waste and lost time in an operational environment.
- Productivity improvements through behavioural change, and effective supervision.
- Process improvements through Lean thinking, Business Process Re-Engineering BPR) and Work Flow analysis.
- Continuous Improvement though cultural and attitudinal change. Introduction of the concepts and techniques of Total Quality Management (TQM) or Kaizen thinking.
Outperform as a Business Leader
This workshop is for Vistage Groups and highlights what successful leaders actually do in practice.
It was designed to be used with new Vistage groups, with the intention of introducing members to an overview of the key business concepts that they would need to know about in their search for becoming effective as business leaders. It is a broad checklist of basic best practice.
The session can be used to help groups move quickly into the leadership agenda, and focus more on strategic rather than tactical issues. It can also help both the group and the Chair identify future speaker topics which they would like to explore in more depth. However, with only eight topics a year for most groups, it may be some time before all of the critical concepts are covered, and so the overview can be used as a means of getting started more quickly.
1. The Role of the CEO as a Leader
- The Nine Roles of the Chief Executive
- Some key concepts from current gurus (Sinek/Lencioni/Pink/Goleman/Welch/Collins)
- Leadership challenges and failures
2. Leading Not Managing
- Differences between leaders and managers
- Key activities of leading
- The formal management process which is the interface between the leader and the team
- Belbin team roles
- Stephen Covey on tasks – Important vs. Urgent
- The challenge of delegation
3. Creating Strategy
- Visionary strategy
- The Ansoff Model
- Strategic Positioning and finding a business model that works
- Competitive advantage
- Customer focus – segmentation
- Introduction to analytical tools (SWOT/Porter/PESTEL etc)
4. Implementing Strategy
- Strategic Road Maps
- The role of Balanced Scorecards, KPIs and management accounts
- The importance of focussing on drivers not outcomes
- Why budgets are often not helping, and an alternative approach to financial planning
- Break even analysis
- Organisation Structures and the importance of staff roles
- Communicating strategy
- Definition of marketing and how to calculate the limit of what can be spent on it
- Front end activities are often weak – what is going on?
- Use of outside resources
5. Leadership of People
- The role of HR
- Most HR policies are in a state of disrepair - The need to design, install, use and audit
- Essential requirements of Effective Recruitment
- What is Performance Management in practice?
- Creating Accountability
- Engagement and Motivation – the Gallup 12
- The two-way contract between the company and its staff
- Key skills for leaders and managers
6. Personal Attributes and Skills of Leaders
- Self - how to turn up
- Style - behaviour and leadership styles
- Building trust
- Business literacy
- Key skills - Coaching, Assertiveness, Confronting Poor Performance