Last week I made the case for what I term “innie” CEOs—those skilled at effective and impactful two-way communication with groups of employees at all levels of the company. Harvard Business School researchers Michael Porter and Nitin Nohria said that “innies” produce companies with higher EBITDA.
You may be an “outie,” what researchers Porter and Noria term a Style 2 Leader:
“Style 2” CEOs are more apt to spend their time alone, in one-on-one interaction, and outside rather than inside the firm.
This post is to encourage the outies to leverage your natural tendencies until you promote or hire the “innie” COO for your firm.
Overall, wear your “outie” badge proudly! Your skill as an entrepreneur and a leader has taken you far. Celebrate your strengths.
Make the most of these patterns to provide Style 1/Innie leadership to your firm:
- Time alone: Use your natural tendency to seek out this time to realign your strategy via an intuitive gut check. Assess whether there is a key area or group of employees that need your attention to increase the health of your company. Gather strength to schedule a meeting with that group to take on a difficult situation you may have been avoiding.
- One-on-one: Consider who your key influencers within the company are. Who can be your ally to propagate your shared values and directions for the firm? How can you work smartly through them? Consider carefully what they want from the situation; you can help them create a true win-win-win for that key employee, the team, and the company.
- Outside: Which groups or boards should you join? Our Crankset Group FasTrak course teaches CEOs to look for “gold veins”–those groups that meet regularly and whose members can be significant end-clients, or “lumberjacks” for your firm.
As an owner, ask yourself, “Are these the connections I want to align with? Will there be genuine synergy between their customer base and mine?
Consider Michael Porter’s advice:
…the CEO must not get totally absorbed in the role. Even if others think he is omnipotent, he is still only human. Failing to recognize this will lead to arrogance, exhaustion, and a shortened tenure. Only by maintaining a personal balance and staying grounded can the CEO achieve the perspective required to make decisions in the interest of the company and its long-term prosperity.
Questions to sharpen your Style 2 skills:
- If you prefer Style 2, consider promoting or hiring a COO. What specific skills and aptitudes does this key employee need to complement your skills? (Beware hiring a mini-me).
- Which events/circles appear to bring me the most “bang” for my Outside time investment?
- When am I merely stroking my ego? Example: giving interviews about me rather than about the firm.
- Ask yourself, “Will this activity increase the long-term value of my firm?”