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Monday, August 31, 2009

Consultants Adopting A Strategy Execution Practice Have The Competitive Advantage

The newest research from Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory indicates that execution and implementation are now such integral parts of clients' consulting requirements that service providers have little choice but to develop Operations Management consulting capabilities and credibility.

According to Kennedy: "In an effort to effectively capitalize on today's financial constraints, more consulting practices than ever before are arranging their services around such 'execution' and 'implementation' imperatives."

And, management consultants are better positioned than any other professional service to seize the ever-growing strategy execution market.

To remain competitive, how will you incorporate strategy execution into your consulting practice?

Adding a strategy execution program can generate additional revenue streams, providing you with new service that can attract new clients, which can substantially increase the market value of your existing professional service business.

Want proof? The first management consulting firm that adopted our strategy execution coaching program (Six Disciplines) closed six clients in three months and increased their billable time for more specialized projects, which were discovered as a result of following our strategy execution methodology.

Now’s the time to step up and find out more – register to attend one of the next webcasts, presented by veteran CEO and strategy execution expert, Gary Harpst.

Register here:

September 8
September 22

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Types of Organizational Misalignment

The cumulative effects of misalignment are a significant constraint on the ability of an organization to execute its strategy.

In fact, research has shown that up to 50% of the resources of a typical organization are not being effectively applied to the mission and vision of the company.

There are two types of organizational alignment: creeping and strategic.

Creeping misalignment occurs gradually every day, often in very small ways as the organization changes. In every day processes, as the organization changes, the "current" approach to doing things becomes less aligned with the goals of the company. As a result, it becomes an increasing drag on the success of the company until corrected.

Strategic misalignment occurs suddenly, when the leadership sets a strategic VFO (vital few objective) -- but the systems and resources of the organization are not deployed to support it. This type of misalignment surfaces suddenly as a barrier to implementing new strategies.

BOTTOMLINE: If your leadership does not learn how to align resources with goals, the free market will.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Knowing What NOT To Do

In this Fast Company blog entry, on "Leading Ideas: Know What NOT To Do:

"A client of mine uses a powerful tool to help his executive team decide what not to do with their time. He has each member keep a pie chart of where his/her energy is focused. When new projects come along, they discuss how sections and percentages should shift. "You've got to know where your energy should and shouldn't go each day," he explains. "Sometimes it's obvious and sometimes it's not. We've found explicitly talking about it every few months helps. Team members tend to feel more empowered in what they're doing and are more successful as a result."

BOTTOMLINE: From an organizational perspective, Discipline I-F, Agree What To Stop (Six Disciplines for Excellence, pages 76-79) helps each Team Member to understand what projects/initiatives to stop applying energy / resources to.

More importantly however, is Discipline IV-D, Prioritize Daily (pages 161-163). If you wait to do it "every few months" as suggested above, performance goes unchecked and alignment deteriorates rapidly.

Six Steps to Ensure Organizational Alignment

Marshall Goldsmith is a world authority in helping successful leaders achieve positive, lasting change in behavior.

In a Harvard Business Online article "Six Steps to Ensure Alignment" Goldsmith suggests having a quarterly one-on-one meetings with each of your direct reports. In each of these meetings, address the following six key questions. Ideally, each question will result in a two-way dialogue that helps clarify priorities, ensures alignment, and promotes mutual understanding:

  1. Where are we going?
  2. Where are you going?
  3. What are you doing well?
  4. What changes can lead to improvement?
  5. How can I help?
  6. What suggestions do you have for me?

BOTTOMLINE: "In between each quarterly six questions dialogue, establish your mutual responsibility for continued alignment. Let your team members be responsible for immediately contacting you if they are ever uncertain about priorities or need feedback. You areresponsible for contacting and updating your team members, if the business situation changes and you need to re-set priorities."

Monday, August 24, 2009

Strategy Execution - The Un-Idea

In 2005, Rosabeth Moss Kanter wrote a short - but profound piece - about execution for strategy & business magazine entitled Execution: The Un-Idea. Below are excerpts from the article:

  • "Twenty-five years ago, management meant control. Managers put in controls, handed workers specifications, and established formal structures that ensured that people did what they were told. Companies operated alone, rather than being part of partner networks or plugging their people into informal relationships. It was an ineffective way to operate, especially after the information technology revolution took place, and to break out of it, companies needed management ideas.

  • Innovation and intrapreneurship, Total Quality Management, Six Sigma, reengineering, networked organizations — these were all conceptual handles that allowed executives to justify and develop new breakthrough practices.

  • Today, companies don’t need new ideas in the same way they did 25 years ago (although they still need new business strategies). They’ve been through the paradigm shift. They have sustained tremendous improvement in productivity, effectiveness, and attentiveness to opportunities. That doesn’t mean they’ve been successful; indeed, as they’ve explored new ways of working, we have all learned how hard it is to put these ideas into practice.

  • That’s why execution, or ‘making it happen,’ is so important. Execution is the un-idea; it means having the mental and organizational flexibility to put new business models into practice, even if they counter what you’re currently doing. That ability is central to running a company right now.
  • So rather than chasing another new management fad, or expecting still another ‘magic bullet’ to come along, companies should focus on execution to effectively use the organizational tools we already have.”

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Seven Rules To Close The Strategy To Execution Gap

According to the consultants at Marakon, companies typically realize only about 60% of their strategies’ potential value because of defects and breakdowns in planning and execution. Yet, by following seven simple rules, you can get a lot more than that.

Marakon found that the processes companies use to develop plans and monitor performance make it difficult to discern whether the strategy-to-performance gap stems from poor planning, poor execution, both, or neither.

Here's what they found:

  • Companies rarely track performance against long-term plans.
  • Multi-year results rarely meet projections.
  • A lot of value is lost in translation.
  • Performance bottlenecks are frequently invisible to top management.
  • The strategy-to-performance gap fosters a culture of underperformance.

To help close the strategy-to-execution gap, Marakon recommends the following seven steps:

  1. Keep it simple, make it concrete.
  2. Debate assumptions, not forecasts.
  3. Use a rigorous framework, speak a common language.
  4. Discuss resource deployments early.
  5. Clearly identify priorities.
  6. Continuously monitor performance.
  7. Reward and develop execution capabilities.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Consultants Flock Toward Strategy Execution Practices

New research from Kennedy Consulting Research & Advisory (a division of Kennedy Information) indicates that execution and implementation are now such integral parts of clients' consulting requirements that service providers have little choice but to develop Operations Management consulting capabilities and credibility.

According to Kennedy: "In an effort to effectively capitalize on today's financial constraints, more consulting practices than ever before are arranging their services around such "execution" and "implementation" imperatives."


To remain competitive, how will you incorporate strategy execution into your consulting practice?

Register and attend an exclusive webcast: "Establishing a Strategy Execution Practice" presented by veteran CEO and strategy execution expert, Gary Harpst.

To Register:

August 25
September 8
September 22

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Are The Six Disciplines for Excellence?

We're often asked - what are these Six Disciplines for Excellence?

We simplify to six core areas of business discipline:

  • Discipline I. Decide What's Important (STRATEGY)
  • Discipline II. Set Goals That Lead (PLANNING)
  • Discipline III. Align Systems (ORGANIZATION)
  • Discipline IV. Work The Plan (EXECUTION)
  • Discipline V. Innovate Purposefully (INNOVATION)
  • Disciplines VI. Step Back (LEARNING)

BOTTOMLINE: OK, so you've read business improvement books that told you "what" other organizations did to become excellent, or "why" they became top-performing companies. But most books don't tell you HOW you can make these changes happen in your own organization!

Time to read the award-winning business handbook Six Disciplines for Excellence, by veteran CEO and strategy execution expert, Gary Harpst.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Barriers to Strategy Execution

Strategy execution is the single hardest challenge in business.

What makes it so tough?

Here's a list of the primary execution challenges, based on surveys of organizational leaders:

  • Inability to manage change effectively or overcome internal resistance to change.
  • Strategy conflicts with the existing organizational structure.
  • Poor or inadequate information sharing among individuals or business units responsible for strategy execution.
  • Unclear communication of responsibility and/or accountability for execution decisions or actions.
  • Employees' lack of feeling of ownership of a strategy or execution plan.
  • Lack of guidelines or a model to guide strategy execution.
  • Lack of understanding of the role of organizational structure and design in the execution process.
  • Inability to generate buy-in or agreement on critical execution steps or actions.
  • Lack of incentives or inappropriate incentives to support execution objectives

BOTTOMLINE: "Poor or vague strategy" is also listed, but it's relatively low on the list.

Looking for a breakthrough vision for how to overcome these challenges? Read the best-seller: Six Disciplines® Execution Revolution: Solving The One Business Problem That Makes Solving All Other Problems Easier by Gary Harpst.

Establishing a Strategy Execution Practice Webcast

If you missed our most recent “Establishing a Strategy Execution Practice” webcast – you’re missing out on a significant opportunity to grow your consulting practice.

Consulting firms are now are extending their growth, competitive differentiation, and market presence by building a complimentary consulting practice focused on strategy execution.

Adding a strategy execution practice not only generates an additional revenue stream from current clients, it provides you with a complimentary consulting service that will attract new clients, and one that will substantially increase the market value of your professional consulting firm.

What’s the best way to get started? Attend a free webcast – presented by the leader in strategy execution coaching - Six Disciplines.

The momentum of consulting firms adding Six Disciplines continues at a very rapid pace. In fact, during the past two weeks, two more management consulting firms have signed on to become licensed affiliates for Six Disciplines. One is a management consulting firm in Kansas City; the other is a for-profit business development arm of one of the largest Chambers of Commerce in the U.S. (they’ll be training six coaches on Six Disciplines!)

Now’s the time to find out more – register to attend one of the next webcasts, presented by veteran CEO, strategy execution expert, and best-selling author Gary Harpst.

To Register:

August 25
September 8
September 22

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Balancing Strategy and Execution: Five Domains To Consider

Remember when we could simply distinguish between strategy creation as "thinking" (analysis, planning, setting goals, etc.) and strategy execution as "doin"g (follow-through, top-to-bottom, operational, goal achieving, etc.)?

Today's challenge is how to balance both strategy and execution - or how to build execution into strategy.

How do you build execution into strategy? It starts with a recognition that all parts of the organization - and people at all levels - need to be involved in the process of setting goals, since it's "all people" that are responsible for executing the strategy.

New research shows that the "many are smarter than the few" philosophy of management is catching on.

Organizations can unleash the power of collective judgment by consulting broad groups of employees in the planning process; this approach has the added benefit of creating support for change, which is required for successful execution.

As the discipline of strategy execution evolves and organizations seek to improve the link between strategy and execution, five major domains stand out as critical for any organization

  1. Focus. The focus is about ensuring organizational commitment and alignment to the strategy.
  2. Resources. The resources domain involves allocating financial and other resources required to fund strategy and operations, and monitoring those resources continuously to ensure goal achievement.
  3. Operations. The operations domain entails analyzing the drivers of business performance and linking operational processes to the execution of strategy.
  4. People. The people domain is about ensuring employee readiness and personal goal alignment, and aligning HR processes and systems to support the strategy.
  5. Information. The information domain involves developing a technology platform to enable core processes and support the analytic needs of the enterprise.

(Excerpts from a column published in DM Review MagazineFebruary 2007 Issue by Barnaby S. Donlon)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Barriers To Enduring Business Excellence

The barriers that keep us from achieving the kind of business excellence that lasts are deeply rooted and won't be removed by "quick fixes."

At Six Disciplines, our research shows that there are six fundamental barriers to enduring business excellence:

1. Poorly Understood Strategy. While most organizations have a strategy, most people do not understand it. One research report revelad that 85% of leadership teams spend less than 1 hour a month discussing strategy. The barrier isn't usually the strategy itself -- 90% of strategies fail due to execution. Write the strategy down (3-4 pages max), share it with all team members and give them an opportunity to react and engage.

2. Weak Strategy Execution. One of the major barriers to lasting excellence is how little formal effort organizations put into learning how to execute strategy. The most vital core competence of all is the ability to execute strategy. Understand that there is a big difference between working in the business, and working on the business.

3. Unchecked Organizational Entropy. Small businesses are "systems," and once a small business makes plans, the chaos of everything changing around it gradually erodes those plans. Be aware of change, apply forces to counteract it, make time for planning, set expectations and hold team members accountable.

4. Lack of a Systematic Approach. Thinking holistically about your business - how to make all of the components, people, processes, policies, key measures, assets and strategies work together to meet the promises made to your customers and other stakeholders -- in a repeatable and predicatable fashion -- is key to achieving lasting excellence.

5. Impractical Implementation Methods. Choose wisely when deciding to implement improvement methods and systems, and focus on "goodness of fit" - rather than form, or bells and whistles. Whatever choices you make, they must be practical and take a long-term view -not cumbersome, complex, and a "quick fix" that solves everything at once.

6. People Are Not Engaged. Your employees need to be personally committed to your company's goals - not just compliant. To engage them, connect their work to the purpose of the company. Set appropriate expectations, communicate your strategies, share short and long term thinking, and hire people who are aligned with your mission and values.

Management Consultants Are Adopting a Strategy Execution Practice

If you missed today’s “Establishing a Strategy Execution Practice” webcast – you missed out on a significant opportunity to grow your consulting practice!

If you’re interested in building a complimentary consulting practice focused on strategy execution, one that can generate an additional revenue stream, a service that can attract new clients, and one that can substantially increase the market value of your existing professional service business, then you need to take a look at Six Disciplines.

….and the momentum continues to build!

In fact, during the past two weeks, two more management consulting firms have signed on to become licensed affiliates for Six Disciplines.

One is a management consulting firm in Kansas City; the other is a for-profit business development arm of one of the largest Chambers of Commerce in the U.S. (they’ll be training six coaches on Six Disciplines!) We’ll be announcing details about these new Six Disciplines affiliates over the next several weeks.

Now’s the time to step up and find out more – register to attend one of the next webcasts, presented by veteran CEO and best-selling author Gary Harpst.

August 25
September 8
September 22

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Strategy and Execution - Two Of The Top Three Lessons Learned

In a recent Harvard Business Publishing article "Lessons Learned from 30 Years of Leadership", Dick Harrington, former CEO of Thomson Reuters discussed the three most significant lessons learned over his very successful 25+ year career as a Fortune 250 executive.

Harrington's top three:

  1. First, you have to have an "approximately correct" strategy -- you have to know where you are going, but directionally correct is the key.
  2. Second, you have to be highly focused and intensely execute that strategy by motivating and aligning the troops you have.
  3. Third it always comes back to the customers and the fact that you have to manically know your customers and drive everything from that.

What is an "approximately correct" strategy? "You want to be approximately correct instead of precisely incorrect. There is a point at which additional information or research will not change the basics of your strategy. When you get your strategy there, you have to "Nike it" - you just do it. If you continue to refine and refine, you'll never get into action, and the incremental value of research just won't be worth the time and money. Schedule time frames and be religious about them to launch, get feedback, and see if the strategy is acceptable to the customer or if you need to adjust."

What about the execution focus? "What's the best way to rally people and spread that intensity? "First, you have to communicate what you are trying to accomplish. And you need to know the team members who are going to make it happen and those who are going to keep it from happening. It's important to have time with them so they have an opportunity to discuss and debate what's critical. At the same time, you have to draw the line at some point and say "Okay, we have everyone's input. These are the five most important things we need to accomplish and they are the only things we are going to work on." You want everyone - probably 4-5 key people, maybe 10-15 at larger organizations -- in the same boat so you can accomplish those things on a timely basis."

Annual Performance Reviews? Why Wait? Try Once A Week

Integrated Project Management, a Burr Ridge, Ill., project-management firm with 80 employees takes a unique approach to employee reviews.

Instead of just banging out written reviews once a year, managers sit down with each direct report individually every week to discuss performance and how the employee can improve.

In this Wall Street Journal interview, Integrated Project Management's Chief Executive Richard Panico talks about what makes the company’s review process special.

Actually, the practice is more common than it might appear.

In the award-winning book Six Disciplines for Excellence, (by veteran CEO Gary Harpst) a step in Discipline IV. Work The Plan is called "Review Individual Plans (IPs) Weekly."

This step in the Six Disciplines methodology is designed to encourage every team member AND team leader to review progress toward quarterly goals on a regular basis, preferably weekly.

This process (a standard templated report that takes less than 15 minutes to complete, and can be reviewed in 5 minutes) makes it clear whether the team member is focusing their daily activities on the agreed-upon goals.

This process leads to much better communication and understanding, and perhaps most importantly, identifies problems/errors early, allows for course-correction early, reduces risk and increases alignment.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Best Practices For A Strategic Planning Retreat

Based on years of experience, here's what we see the typical small or mid-sized business go through when they're planning a strategic planning off-site retreat:

Scenario: The CEO wants to get his/her team working together to build a plan for the coming year or two. The senior leadership team is buzzing about the excitement. Everyone is looking forward to having some input on the plan.

The planning retreat is held off-site during a two day session, which everyone finds rewarding and exhausting. They come out of the session with a clear set of goals and an action plan. Everyone has talked about what they are going to do differently to make sure it does. The team feels energized and looks forward to getting back to work.

Then what happens?

The senior leadership team goes back to work and they face the chaos that attacks their everyday lives and business once again.

  • An important customer calls with special requests.
  • A key employee decides to leave.
  • An unexpected product problem emerges.
  • The auditor tells you that you need better controls.
  • Your kid brings home a poor report card and needs more help with their homework.
  • That charity you got involved with needs help fundraising.
  • That industry committee you agreed to chair needs more attention.

The strategies, goals and action plan you put in place seem to fade into the background.

You keep an eye on the financial statements occasionally, and hope it works out. At some point, the financial statements take a turn for the worse, and you jump back in, trying to figure out what’s going on and what you need to change.

Unfortunately, if you don’t know how to execute, strategic planning off-sites don’t work.

Before you commit to conducting one more strategic planning retreat, ask yourself:

  • Does your senior leadership team know how to make a real commitment, not just a “yes I’m on board” commitment, but a “yes I will get this done and I will stake my bonus on it” commitment?
  • Does your organization have the skills it needs to execute?
  • Can you focus?
  • Can you communicate the mission, vision, values and strategic direction of the company?
  • Can you drive active accountability - with everyone in the organization?
  • Are you willing to dedicate time - not only to the strategic planning process, but communicating it so your team members are able to execute your strategy?

BOTTOMLINE: Execution is hard work. It requires a relentless focus, commitment and discipline. Before you invest a lot in developing strategy, invest in the skills and resources required to execute strategy. If you’re not ready or capable of executing, a strategic planning retreat offsite is most likely -- another waste of time.

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Creating A Sense of Urgency

Change management guru, John Kotter, has released his latest book, A Sense of Urgency, published by Harvard Business School Press.

Kotter has written about urgency before. Raising urgency is the first of his eight-steps for successful organizational change, a topic we talk about a lot here at Six Disciplines.

For a quick review, here's Kotters "Eight Steps To Transform Your Organization":

  1. Establish a Sense of Urgency
  2. Form a Powerful Guiding Coalition
  3. Create a Vision
  4. Communicate the Vision
  5. Empower Others to Act on the Vision
  6. Plan for and Create Short-Term Wins
  7. Consolidate Improvements and Produce Still More Change
  8. Create a New Culture.

In his latest book, Kotter reminds us that "70 percent of large scale initiatives in companies failed or were not fully launched. Only 10 percent of the cases achieved what they set out to do--and in some cases overshot their expectations."

"In those ten, a similar formula was used in virtually all instances, and they all began by creating a sufficiently high sense of urgency among enough people to set the stage for making a challenging leap into some new direction."

BOTTOMLINE: How do you create a heightened sense of urgency and then sustain it? Do it by appealing to individuals heads - and hearts. Within that heart-head strategy there seem to be four sets of tactics that work best:

  1. Use a variety of methods to help people better see the hazards and opportunities that are all around them--and incredibly, people don't often see them.
  2. Become an urgency-beacon in the way you behave each and every day. The vast majority of people do not.
  3. Always look to see if there is an opportunity in a crisis to help increase urgency.
  4. Confront those people who hate change and are remarkably skilled at fostering both complacency and false urgency.

(Hat tip to Todd at 800-CEO-Read)

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ten Golden Rules of Continuous Improvement

  1. Problems create opportunities
  2. The impossible is a paradigm - Change your mind to change your performance
  3. Ask why five times to get to the real answer
  4. Eliminate excuses - do it right the first time
  5. Correct errors immediately
  6. Involve everyone - we are smarter as a group than a single individual
  7. Reconsider rigid thoughts, situations change
  8. Think simple, not perfect solutions
  9. Use your mind more than your money
  10. The goal: continuous improvement over delayed perfection
(Hat tip to @JohnPotterMPE)

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

The Consultant's Next Frontier - Strategy Execution Consulting

If your consulting firm offers management consulting services such as strategic planning, operations management, human resources consulting, or business advisory services, now is the time to investigate the competitive advantages of offering the most transformational next generation service for your clients: strategy execution consulting.

Find out why consulting firms throughout the country are becoming licensed affiliates for a revolutionary consulting and coaching service based on proven best practices -- called Six Disciplines.

Management consulting firms are becoming Six Disciplines licensed affiliates at a quickly increasing rate -- so NOW is the time for you to get involved.

Register to attend the next exclusive webcast "Establishing a Strategy Execution Practice" on Tuesday August 11, from 12:00-1:00 PM EST.

This live webcast will be conducted by veteran CEO, strategy execution expert, and best-selling business author, Gary Harpst.

Don't miss out - register for the webcast here.

Monday, August 03, 2009

CEO Profiling – the Four Kinds of CEOs

(The following article was written by Eric Kurjan, President of Six Disciplines Northwest Ohio. Six Disciplines brings “big company” process improvement to organizations looking to break beyond the status quo. For more information visit, or call 419-348-1897.)

In my line of work I see all kinds of CEO’s. Young and old, male and female, decision makers and decision avoiders, leaders and shrinking violets. The bottom line is that the personalities, skills, abilities and success factors vary by CEO just like they vary in their shapes and sizes.

My experience has shown me that you can group CEOs into four basic categories. Call it “profiling” if you like, but as I look at the businesses that are truly successful and those that need help (and more importantly, those who will accept it) the differences in CEOs becomes clear.

CEO #1 The True Leader – this CEO gets it. He or she has a clear vision for where they want the company to grow. They have communicated it effectively. They set the expectations, they measure the results, and they hold their people accountable. They demonstrate compassion for their people and have built a culture of earned trust. This CEO is open, honest and transparent. They know they will gain more by sharing information than by withholding it. Their employees, or in these cases, “Associates” or “Team Members”, work diligently toward the goals of the company. There is an uncompromising, mutual respect being exhibited. Their goals and plans are pursued with passion, and the results are strong and consistent. Unfortunately, this is a rare breed. I have only met a handful of these CEOs.

CEO#2 The Know-It-All – this CEO thinks he/she gets it. This group is too smart for its own good. These are the CEOs who pride themselves on having never asked anyone for help, guidance or assistance. They tend to be ego-driven, arrogant, controlling and intimidating. They “rule” with the iron fist and make “employees” or subordinates nervous. They may or may not be quick to solve problems with staff. Some will fire with the swiftness of a hit squad in the dark of night with or without justification, while others can’t confront issues and only demonstrate chest-beating and bluster, leaving the problem “employee” in place to continue to contaminate the work environment. There are some who really are more fear-driven and put on the “tough guy/gal” mask. They fear making a bad choice and in most cases are lacking the leadership skills needed to truly run or change the business. They surround themselves with weak, low-horsepower leadership teams in an effort to make themselves appear “smarter”. Unfortunately, this is a common breed. There are tons of these CEOs out there. Many actually run, reasonably successful (based on revenue and/or profit measures) organizations in spite of their behavior, style and methods. But think how successful they could really be with goals, a plan and a defined process for getting things done.

CEO#3 The Heart Attack – this CEO has had one. Hopefully just in the figurative sense. They have been running the business and they are seeing things get worse and worse. They don’t work to change the behaviors, actions or direction -- they just fret as the business begins to tailspin. Then, some sort of major catastrophe hits, loss of a major client or two, the bank calls in the note or the line of credit is gone and they determine the need to make a change. This is much like the individual who ignored all the warning signs of an impending heart attack: high blood pressure, overweight, high cholesterol. They’re sure the bathroom scale is wrong. The heart attack is a big “surprise” but now they are going to straighten out their lives. Under a doctor’s supervision they begin to manage their diet, start working out and change the behaviors that led to the heart attack. There are lots of lessons learned (by the CEO and the company) if they survive the heart attack. They realize that the ways they have “led” the business were ineffective and that they need to get help from the outside to get them back on course for survival and fitness. By the way, no surprise here: CEO#3 almost always started out as a CEO#2 Know-It-All.

CEO#4 The Humble Leader – another fairly rare breed. He or she is actually a good leader. They’ve built a successful business and possess many of the same traits and behaviors as the “true leader”. They have not honed their skills to the degree of CEO#1, but they aspire for more. They are not satisfied with the status quo and are looking for every advantage to build a better team, to grow their business, to deliver higher, bigger and better. They look to outside resources and advisors to aid them in their journey toward their vision. They work to develop better and more effective processes and better alignment across the company. They are looking for help to manage the challenges of growth and all the thrills and challenges that come with it. They are hungry and open to learning. They are on the journey to become a CEO#1 True Leader.

So, which CEO type are you? If you can’t see it yourself, look for the "CEO Effectiveness Exam" in next month’s article. The numbers rarely lie.