From the outside, it appears CEOs have it made. In fact, some believe their job is to fire and hire whomever they want. One CEO I know told his daughter that he does not like to fire people. He cautioned her that if she ever works for a company where the CEO likes to fire people, she should run. If the job of a CEO is not about hiring and firing, what is it about? Do they possess special talents that most do not?
To start, most people believe seeing is believing. That belief becomes the firstroadblock to making it to the corner office. One job of the CEO is to make something happen that was not going to happen without them being there. In other words, CEOs are not paid to make what was already going to happen, happen. If a company was going to produce the same exact results year after year, that would simply be a job to maintain status quo. Great CEOs are not paid to maintain status quo. That means they are in charge of new possibilities. Those possibilities are the catalysts for new revenues, jobs and benefits to society. In some cases, they will invent possibilities from nothing.
To create new possibilities, you have to believe it before you see it. Perhaps you don’t even have to believe it. Without question, you would have to stand for it and marshal resources to transform an idea into reality.
For those who have to see things first, they may be much more hesitant to take the kinds of risks required to generate new revenues and find new customers. That may have been the obstacle for Xerox Corporation years ago. They invented the first computer mouse and an array of other technological advances. Yet, they lacked the assertiveness to market those new products to the public.
On the other hand, Steve Jobs copied many of those ideas from Xerox and sold them to the public. Jobs continued with that mindset throughout his tenure as CEO. It was his extraordinary ability to stand for new possibilities without proof that people would buy it. And that mindset grew Apple into a mega corporation.
As you can see, there are social risks involved. You are conditioned to see the benefits before you can believe. You need proof before you can buy into something. While that mindset can cover your butt, it can constrain your ability to innovate and grow. With that said, let’s be clear. It is not necessary to be a contrarian. It only requires a commitment to constantly create a new future. Socially you may appear out of step with so-called reality because you are committed to something that does not exist. And others may have a difficult time seeing how to create your vision.
At the same time, to execute your vision, it requires you to think that which has not been thought. The good thing about thinking is you do not have to be a CEO. You can create new possibilities in your current job. Initially, your ideas may be improvements. That can be proof of your abilities for those who need to see before they can believe. As you build a reputation for improving and solving problems, you can introduce ideas that are not being considered. In some cases, you may have to take a powerful stand for new possibilities to get buy-in from others. Except, the reputation you build for taking risks and being responsible will be well worth the rewards – monetarily and career growth. Now, step out of the box and see what’s possible in your organization.
What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.