When I started this new career back in 2003 – even with all my experiences as a CEO – I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect. At some level I thought that my clients would be looking for me to provide them with ‘all the answers’, but what I actually found was that being able to hold a space for them to think new thoughts and ideas was one of the greatest gifts I could bring.
Recently I worked with the CEO of a high street retailer who was unexpectedly asked to leave the business. This period of his life was hugely disruptive and caused him much soul searching around his abilities, value and effectiveness – especially since the work had been very intense and had, over time, become all consuming.
Sitting across the table, all I could see was a hugely talented individual who was going through a period of temporary disruption. Using the opportunity of enforced ‘garden leave’ we explored together strengths, desires and future ambitions and my client began to understand what was truly important and what he really wanted.
Within a short period of time significant changes began to happen. New choices and opportunities emerged and desires became subtly different – so when he was headhunted for a major new role rather than merely responding to the stimulation of position and prestige his observations, thoughts and questions about the role were now very different.
With a newly discovered focus on checking that the offered position was a good match and fit for his talents, interests and energy he approached the opportunity very differently than he would have done previously – now taking care and consideration to ensure that not only would it be stimulating, rewarding and satisfying but that he would also be able to keep some time for himself, his family and his other interests.
In the work I do, I notice that opportunities sometimes arrive unexpectedly. Working with another client organisation, the sudden departure of the HR Director offered a chance for the recently hired HR Manager to step into the vacant role. Voices within the business were evenly balanced: on one hand there were those who said they must hire somebody immediately at a Board level to fill the gap – others were insistent that the newly appointed manager should be given a chance to show his, as yet, undemonstrated capabilities.
The decision was made to appoint him as ‘acting’ HR Director and I was hired to work with him to support, develop and prepare him for a possible permanent position on the Board.
I found an enthusiastic, talented man – quick to learn and eager to progress. Together we created a developmental plan around the areas of strategic thinking, senior executive behaviours and board level participation. During the six month programme my client matured, evolved and relished the ideas, stimulation and challenges that both the business and our work together presented.
As each new test, challenge and disruption emerged I found that his capability to examine, question and then decide on a course of action continued to improve and develop.
As we approached the end of the six month assignment, my client’s drive, talents and suitability for the role were obvious to all and he was confirmed as a permanent member of the Board.
If you’re ready to meet for an exploratory cup of coffee, please contact me or continue reading… I’ve worked with many elite performers, they were typically highly successful before we encountered each other, but my experience is that they are looking forward to the future in a different way as a result of our work together. You must be the ultimate judge of whether working with me is right for you… read some testimonials here…