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Burning Flying Apple
By David Harder on May, 30, 2016

One Critical Way to Qualify Your CEO

I serve quite a few chief human resource officers. When we are in a career marketing search, I tend to get a little strident about in how important it is to qualify the boss – usually the CEO.


Here are a couple of central questions:


Has the CEO taken charge of the culture or is that being turned over to someone else?


Like you?


If your are a CHRO and the CEO isn’t leading your culture, keep your bags packed! You will be evaluated and judged in areas that are as difficult as pushing an egg up a hill with your nose. Some CEOs, not wanting to be bothered with culture actually throw human resource executives onto the pyre for failing with an initiative that only they can lead.


Engaged CEOs lead their cultures. The very word “engagement” implies connectedness and transparency. Most engagement programs are already failing when the CEO walks into human resources and says, “Fix the problem.” Make no mistake about it engagement is an emotional state and many CEOs are uncomfortable with the feelings generated by the human side of business. Others are so frenzied in dealing with the market and shareholder expectations they believe they can’t add culture to their crowded plates.


Regardless of the reason, the results will be the same:


A subordinate leads the charge towards engagement. No matter how the initiative is messaged, pack behavior dictates that everyone looks past the shoulder of that individual to the head of the tribe. Usually, they witness a CEO who demonstrates “business as usual.” In following the queues of the CEO it is only natural for them to think, “Why bother?”


This example becomes even more plausible when we equate engagement with change. The journey from disengagement to engagement requires deep personal change. Invariably, a successful outcome requires that we learn new life skills. Fear and discomfort will always be part of the learning process.


Therefore, it is wise for the CEO or business owner to become the first to put his or her feet to the fire and embrace all of the characteristics of engagement.


We consistently find CEOs of category leaders live and breathe this commitment.


But if the CEO isn’t prepared to go here, perhaps it would be wise to save your money as well as your face. And, if you are looking for a new place to call home, keep looking!



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