Executive Education

The CEO’s Way Forward In 2020 Requires This One Thing

Your destination is important. How you reach it is what matters. All of a sudden we’re experiencing a severe and extended disruption to our usual business activities that gave us our drive. Never in a million years did anyone think we’d be required to shelter in place away from our family, friends, and colleagues, often experiencing loneliness and anxiety surrounding a coronavirus pandemic.

As a result, businesses are working remotely at scale dividing teams as a business risk justification strategy and banning socializing beyond work hours.

But for every breath we take each day we are grateful for life. And in life work must still be done. Going forward we need to be diligently seeking novel ways to carry out essential activities while maintaining our physical, mental and financial stability.

To continue along a successful trajectory in 2020 and the future, in addition to being well versed in strategy, planning, culture and project management, executives should demonstrate wellbeing as a core competence.  Outsmarting competitors and staying on the cutting edge requires the leaders’ understanding of upholding positive wellbeing practices themselves and then modeling these in the workplace.

Without these efforts, it’s possible to experience a loss of momentum on important work and retreat under pressure.

The Executive’s Way Forward in 2020

Towards a better way forward, we need to redefine “strategic leadership” as “flourishing leadership” and consider how to sustain not only financial wherewithal but also mental, physical and emotional confidence.

The one thing that CEOs must focus on is personal wellbeing as a conduit to greater personal, team and organizational success. It starts with a Lead2Flourish mindset to re-awaken the leadership powers within.

These four points illustrate what this looks like.

 

  1. It recognizes self-limiting behaviors. Limiting behaviors or habits of CEOs come in all forms. For some, these limitations are modest. But in others they’re toxic. For example, casting blame and refusing to admit your mistakes.  Yes, this behavior can still exist while working remotely simply because it is deep-seated into your character. But when these habits consistently undermine your efforts, they can be considered a form of psychological self-harm, not to mention the harm caused to others.
    Fixing this: Revisit your formative years and you’ll be surprised to discover an event or situation where you may have felt threatened by admitting a wrong. Over time, this behavior became consistent as you learned to give it life. Ask yourself: How might my behavior be playing out several layers down in the business and what are the costs?
  2. It realigns what’s significant.  A CEO’s ego-motion (ego+emotions) can slip in and constrain performance especially if there’s a string of successes under your belt. With a relaxed attitude, you can veer off and lose focus on what’s truly important. Regardless, you must always keep some skin in the game in the form of your own personal values, vision, and passions.
    Fixing this:  Go beyond the values of society, the vision of the company and the status-quo. Realign what’s personally important to the point where it’s an integral and subconscious part of your being. Then integrate these into the company’s culture.
  3. It restores central systems.  Your personal ideas and thinking is what creates value in the global market. Restoring who you are as a whole person should be a prerequisite to doing the work that you do as a leader. This means bringing your highest and best self to your daily life.
    Fixing this: Positively manage your emotional, biological, cerebral and spiritual wellbeing. Learn the skills of real-time resilience, increasing vitality and agility, expanding emotional awareness,  getting good sleep and discovering stress tamers. Adopt a new approach on how you lead yourself.
  4. It retains wholeness. Make the decision that your personal wellbeing is worth the time and effort to establish habits to maintain it. A sense of purpose and meaning, achievement, strong relationships, resilience, sustainability and positive emotions all shapes and contributes to the elements of wellbeing.
    Fixing this: Push back on negative emotions and build positive ones. Maintain a good diet, minimize stress, maximize relaxation and meditation. There’s more to life than work. Engage with self and others; stick with positive relationships and learn from them; look for the silver linings in every circumstance and savor your accomplishments.

The way forward in 2020 and beyond is to enable flourishing in work and life ── enjoying what’s on your P.L.A.T.E. and thereby Playing fully, Living freely, Acting boldly, Thinking daringly, Executing authentically.

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Deana Murphy, Ph.D.
Deana Murphy is author of The Lead2Flourish Effect (2021), a leadership performance strategist, applied psychology practitioner and a CEO-executive coach specializing in executive performance wellbeing. Deana Murphy is founder of DecisionLab Global and an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Follow her on Twitter or connect on LinkedIn.