5 Things a CEO Can Learn From Vistage: Pt. 1 — Becoming a Confident Leader

This week we are excited to bring to you a part 1 of a new series on The Five Things a CEO Can Learn From Vistage: Becoming a Confident Leader

Several years ago, I found myself extremely frustrated.  It didn’t seem as though I was getting the results I wanted from my staff.  After expressing this irritation and disappointment to the head of Human Resources, she recommended I join Vistage. Vistage is a premiere CEO coaching group.  After looking into it, I figured it was worth a shot.
After joining the program, I quickly felt weights being lifted. Things got clearer, easier, and better.  I felt as though I’d gone from navigating vicious, stormy seas in a tiny boat to sailing on a calm, serene lake.  About six months into coaching, Lance Descourouez asked me a life changing question:

Are You an Accomplished Leader?

“Bob,” he posed, “Do you consider yourself to be an accomplished CEO?”

My immediate, gut reaction was an emphatic, “No.” Lance prompted me to think more deeply about his question, but even after several minutes, my answer remained the same.  No, I did not feel like an accomplished CEO. Thankfully, Lance provided some follow up questions, sparking an epiphany. He asked:

 

    1. How long have you been in business?

At the time, it was 14 years.

    1. What’s your yearly revenue?

It was well north of seven figures.

    1. How many people do you employ?

There were 15-16 people on payroll at the time.

    1. Has the business survived any recessions?

Two, actually.

Lance then repeated his initial question: “Bob, do you consider yourself to be an accomplished CEO?”

Confidence Is Key

I’d been so busy looking at my goals that I’d neglected to look at the journey. I couldn’t see the forest through the trees. I couldn’t see that I was, in fact, a successful CEO. I accomplished more in those 14 years than most others do in a lifetime.

Then it hit me – I’d lost my confidence. That interaction helped restore it as well as my sense of direction. The transformation from uncertain and doubting to a fearless, self assured CEO was drastic. I felt like a caterpillar breaking free from my chrysalis.

Now, my purpose in telling the story is this: every leader has these kinds of doubts at one time or another. It is normal. But it is vital not to let those doubts break you or weigh you down.Confident and accomplished leaders are born by remembering who we are, where we were, and how far we’ve come.

That is why, as leaders, we need the support of good friends and coaches to help us keep our minds in the game. We need people who can help us own-up to our fears, answer the hard questions, and move forward with direction. We need people who’ve been there before, so they can help guide us through the dark times. Vistage is that support group.


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