C-Suite Agenda

Trading In Traditional CEO Thinking For Holistic Leadership

Laura Gerrits

The landscape of work has been rapidly changing over the last couple years. With the rise of remote teams working together, virtual meetings, and hybrid dynamics, there should also be a system update to how CEOs view their positions. It’s no longer enough to sit atop the pyramid of your company and view operations as you and them. 

If you want more impact that amplifies your profits, connects a sense of purpose to your employees, and creates a brand that customers will champion, it’s time to uplevel the way you envision yourself as a leader. 

“I” Needs To Be Changed to “WE” at all levels of your business

This is one of the biggest shifts when you move from the mainstream way companies have been run and start to upgrade to what I like to call “Holistic Leadership”. 

Whatever it is your business does, you need to look at it on a larger scale. I’ve worked with companies in over 30+ industries. I truly believe they all do something important. What is your mission as a business and how are you serving the collective? You are bigger than you think. Whether it’s construction, building homes or commercially you’re creating a space that people need and will improve their reality. Fixing medical equipment can be viewed as participating in saving or prolonging lives for humanity. This became even clearer during the global pandemic as food service personnel, truck drivers, janitors, maintenance persons, and many more jobs became essential workers.

Mainstream business practices keep your thinking and growth boxed. When you start to view what you do on a more holistic scale, you’ll expand your perspectives, and build a greater sense of connection, purpose, and impact with your employees and clients. 

As the CEO you are the one who needs to lead by example and see what others can’t. You can’t expect your team to come to the job and work hard just for a paycheck anymore. It’s not enough. People don’t want to waste their time working somewhere they’re not appreciated. 

Laura Gerrits

Life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. Time is more valuable than money. 

So, if you want a team that is ready to work hard for you, they need to be shown gratitude and be given a greater sense of purpose for the impact of what they do. 

Ask yourself, what are you creating for the collective?

What is the true impact of your business and your role as the leader?

How does it reflect in your business design and daily work so everyone connects to it?

In the outdated mindset of mainstream management, employees are viewed as replaceable and dispensable. The Holistic CEO envisions their employees as part of a team with a mission and understands the importance of retaining the best talent. 

Archaic Chief Executive thinking measures success merely by revenue and profits. They rely on old business growth methods such as a top-down organizational chart, KPIs that simply keep employees busy but not engaged, and they view their company as separate parts. 

Holistic CEO leadership envisions their staff as a team with a purpose. They measure success not just by financial performance but impact, have open communication, can overcome obstacles and challenges that arise, spend time designing the architecture of the business, infuse it with their passion, and see it as a more whole, interactive, living system with collaborative team meetings. 

Identifying The Downfalls Of Believing You’re A One Man Show

In order to step into your inner Holistic Leader you’ll need to unlearn patterns that are holding you back. Your organizational chart can be too heavy from the top down. Clients may have started complaining about your services so you’ve implemented KPIs for separate teams and individuals. Yes, we want to ensure performance but micromanagement can suffocate creativity. If you don’t see the value of your team, it’s very likely that you’ve put too much responsibility of running the business on your own shoulders, thinking no one is going to get the job done the way you will. 

In that case, you’ll find yourself wearing the hat of CEO, Sales, Development, and more. Trying to do everything yourself is going to leave you without the time or energy to focus on growing the business. Communications become frayed causing decision making to take too long and is lost in the expanding team. Tasks may not be getting completed on time and usually IT systems become an urgent necessity to manage the work. 

Revenue may be going up but the profit is staying flat. Costly non-value projects and activities are piling up. All of this can cause CEOs to take further control into their own hands. This period can be called a growth paradox. Many of the clients I work with fall into it, making them feel like they need to introduce mainstream ways of growing their business, only later to realize it’s limited their trajectory.

With holistic leadership you will build impact and grow your company at the same time. 

Craft A Solid Business Not Just Expensive Corporate Theater

When you’re scaling up it’s hard not to feel the pull to install accountability and control mechanisms to feel safe. People who are not connected to your mission or may not even know what it is, will put on masks in the workplace. It’s something everyone becomes accustomed to. We learn to survive performance reviews by simply proving how busy our teams are. If you can see past the methods blueprinted in our brains by business schools and a culture that values more quantity than quality, you’ll recognize that connecting with your team and empowering them will always yield better results. 

Command and control will never help you achieve the productivity, efficiency, and engagement we all desire in our employees. Putting your passion centerstage and sharing it with your people will. Then let them do their jobs and get out of the way, this also enables you more time to create value. The deep experience you give them will spill over into their service, communications with clients, and suppliers. Your business is a unique system, and needs distinctive interactions. 

By weaving purpose into your culture and taking a more whole systems approach, responsibilities, team accountability, and information will flow end-to-end. 

You can dream bigger not just for your business but the world.


Written by Laura Gerrits.
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Laura Gerrits
Laura Gerrits is the CEO and Founder of The Holistic Enterprise, the world-leading company helping entrepreneurs, and business owners of 6-7 figure revenue companies expand their vision and team’s connection to a purpose. Internationally renowned as a holistic business strategist, she redesigns company structure and realigns work culture so teams feel valued. Their services have been utilized by businesses in over 30 industries, growing revenue by millions and unlocking engagement with customers and workers. Overhauling hierarchy and mentoring executives to build a more impactful leadership style, Laura is reinventing outdated management and business structure to incredible success.


Laura Gerrits is an opinion columnist for the CEOWORLD magazine. Connect with her through LinkedIn.