To be successful in 2016 being a good CEO is insufficient. Leaders need super powers to get to the head of the pack and outpace their competitors. Here we highlight 5 powers that can give you the edge.
Corporate governance and cost cutting are no longer the main focus for CEOs. It is all about growth. You need to have a full panoply of growth skills on hand: acquisitions, adjacencies, corporate venture capital, disruptive innovation, geographical expansion and new ventures.
You also need to view your company’s activities as potential growth engines: What activities are funnels of growth for more lucrative activities, drawing customers deeper into your ecosystem?
Humans engage with narrative, particularly transformation-centric narrative. As the world changes around us, a company that maintains the same story will quickly fade into irrelevance.
CEOs need to be able to weave a compelling story that creates a connect between the present and the future, between reality and aspiration, and that draws in all stakeholders.
Being able to predict the future is the best way to invent it, to paraphrase Alan Kay. With things changing so rapidly you will need to be able to come up with plausible scenarios and act in accordance with them.
Imagine if a decade ago you had said that mobile phones will never take off, the Internet will never amount to anything and that you refuse to learn how to use a computer. It would be almost impossible today for you to do your role without these technologies.
You need to be able to figure out what comes next, and what comes after what comes next. There is the next now, the stuff on the horizon that is almost visible if you look hard enough, and then there is the stuff that is way out there. How do you work out which things will be in the next now and which will only come later?
Your future-gazing should not be limited to technologies, but you should also be focusing on how technology will impact culture and business models.
Technology is now so pervasive in its impact and influence on how business is conducted that, as CEO, you need to be as well versed in technology as your staff and you need to ensure that your board of directors can comfortably converse in tech-speak.
You cannot rely on a CTO or CIO to translate technology and its impact to you. You need to embrace technology, immerse yourself in it – surround yourself with cutting edge information, visit startups, talk to experts and researchers.
You have a range of drivers that you need to focus on. You need to continue to deliver on core business. Yet you also need to transform so as to future-proof your company. How can you do both?
You may decide to do both for a period of time, which requires you to have multi-focus. It requires you to think in two ways at once – traditionally and disruptively. Listening both to your current customer needs and determining what their future needs are before they do. It also requires you to maintain your current revenue generators while exploring new forms of revenue. This is an exceptional balancing act and not undertaken lightly.
Multi-focus is to be distinguished from multi-tasking. It requires focus, not the ability to flit between many tasks and ultimately not completing any satisfactorily. This is what makes multi-focus so hard to achieve.
At some point you also need to flip the switch and shut down your existing business while ramping up future-focused opportunities. Getting the timing wrong will be disastrous. Getting it right will empower you to leapfrog your competition.
Explore how to obtain these super powers further in the SuperCEO Leadership Accelerator Program which commences on February 8th.