The 7 deadly sins of a CEO: No. 7, plus a “bonus” sin

In yesterday’s post, I analysed deadly sin No. 6: choosing abdication over navigation. Today’s post – the last in this series – will outline sin No 7:

  • lack of visibility
  • a “bonus” sin that didn’t make the top seven but deserves an honourable mention.

Deadly sin No. 7: Lack of visibility

The most dangerous place for a business leader is behind his or her desk.

Visionary leadership is about painting a picture of where a company is going. It is not so much what is said – more the fact that it is being said. People’s reaction will be “Thank God someone around here is leading”. Do it often.

Ways to be more visible

  • Go on walkabouts.
  • Deliver stump speeches.
  • Take brown bag lunches.
  • Attend team meetings.
  • Attend company meetings.

Stump speeches are a great way to communicate regularly with staff about how the company is doing, where it is going and why it is a great place to work. But they are only effective if you are receiving and responding to staff feedback on problems.

Inviting different groups of people to weekly or monthly sandwich lunches gives the opportunity not only to deliver your stump speech, but also to solicit questions and ideas from the group. This shows that you don’t think you know it all, and that you value their contributions.

Deadly sin No. 8: Poor or little use of outside advisors

Very rarely does a business have on its payroll all the expertise that is needed for key decisions. Using the best available (and affordable) outside help with formulating policies or business plans makes sense, if an optimum solution is required.

Even if you don’t use outsiders to create or implement key decisions, consider using them for validation. Well run companies have boards of advisors populated with people who can be accessed on a regular or occasional basis as required.

High performing business leaders also use external sources to help them work “on” the business as well as “in” the business.

For advice on making yourself more visible, or obtaining help from an external source, email me or call me on 020 7099 2621.

If you missed my earlier posts on this subject, catch up here:

The 7 deadly sins of a CEO: No. 1

The 7 deadly sins of a CEO: Nos. 2 and 3

The 7 deadly sins of a CEO: Nos. 4 and 5

The 7 deadly sins of a CEO: No. 6