Stepping Up to CEO
Success in business is much like mountaineering. Climbing the higher peaks takes the right conditions, the right attitude, drive and of course skill.
However, if one ascends to the vertical limit the metaphor becomes only too real. When you reach the top you may well find the summit cold, frightening and very lonely… and let’s not forget there really is only one other way to go from the top and we all know how far down it can be!
This is true of all roles, but by far the most demanding is the role of CEO. We all climb mountains in our lives but it is the CEOs who are most likely to hit the ‘Himalayas’ of the business world and for this reason alone it is essential that they, above all others, are well prepared.
Business 101 tells us that ultimate responsibility lies with the CEO and that they can make or break a company, so it is of paramount importance that they fully prepare themselves for the complexity of the role.
So how does one tackle the North Face?
The answer is simple. You need a guide. Coaching might not seem the first port of call for anyone seeking the highest office but a study released by the Edinburgh based School for CEOs – Stepping Up To CEO – suggests exactly that.
The study, which uses anecdotal evidence and interviews gathered from some 40 senior directors and chairmen, indicated that a staggering 93% of new CEOs felt unprepared for the position, despite the myriad of executive training they had received prior to their appointments.
So it would seem that it is not the lack of coaching, but the nature of the training itself that is the issue. In short, if you are intending on tackling Everest make sure you have a good Sherpa, rather than an MBA.
“Everything you’ve ever done prepares you for it, but nothing you’ve ever done prepares you for it…”
“…however well prepared you think you are, you’re not prepared enough.”