Transitioning to the CEO Mindset

Transitioning to the CEO mindset

So who are those that transition to the CEO Mindset?

I saw a terrific quote in Forbes: “Behind an able man, there are always other able men.”

I have always believed that nothing of consequence was ever achieved alone and that typically great players make great coaches.  (Now that’s not quite like, “You didn’t build that!”)

Corporate America continues to skew younger in its focus on reducing fixed costs and improving shareholder value. In addition, our military continues reducing its human footprint.  As a result, many talented and experienced mid and senior level corporate executives and combat tested military veterans are now free agents.  They are hoping to utilize their skills and experience to get back into the civilian work force at levels equal to or at least close to the positions they left. The competition is tough, and landing those few jobs is a long shot at best.

So what are some other options?  For many of my military friends the option was simple.  They remained virtually at their same position, (sometimes even the same desk) and easily transitioned from US military to civilian government contractor.   For civilian corporate executives, the transition is not that easy and for many military veterans it can be a scary situation.

All successful business owners must adopt a CEO mindset.

One option available to those who dare to be different is to become a business owner.  That route takes a shift in mindset from being a loyal employee and doing exactly what you were told  (a “good soldier” so to speak), into a decision maker, a leader, a “the buck stops here”  kind of person.  The transition is not only physical, as you are exiting a relatively comfortable environment into one in which you might be very uncomfortable: self employment.  The good news is that most people who have already climbed the ladder, either in business or in rank, have already learned the skills they need to make the transition from the trenches to the penthouse.

The challenge for most is making that emotional transition from a support mindset to the decision maker mindset. The transition also includes a paradigm shift from an employee mindset of working for a paycheck to a CEO’s mindset of focusing on growing a business so that employees can be paid and the company earns a profit.

Many great books have been written on the CEO mindset.  Great universities study the psychology of leadership. Although worded differently, there are a few consistent themes in each of the studies:

  1. Be optimistic – Nobody wants to follow a person who is unsure of their future – a leader’s cup is always half full.
  2. Be willing to take risks – Leaders lead! You can’t be afraid of making a mistake. Great leaders process information and make a decision.  I have always lived by this adage:  Don’t be afraid to make the “right” decision.  Make the decision and then make the decision right.
  3. Communicate a clear vision – You must have a well calculated plan and be able to articulate it clearly to the team.  A very successful businessman once told me that if you have a well thought out plan and flawless execution, you have a very high chance for success.
  4. Be what you ask of your people – One of the greatest leaders I have ever known always taught, “What you do speaks so loudly that what you say I can’t hear.”  Think about it.  People will always follow a leader who has walked the talk and practices what he/she preaches.
  5. Be calm in the face of chaos – This can be the hardest emotional leadership trait.  It won’t always go according to plan. You must remain steadfastly confident,  yet willing to make a calculated change in course.
  6. Trust your teammates – Hire well, train well, develop your staff and trust that your team is ready. Great coaches are calm on the sidelines during the game, but meticulous, detailed and sometimes grueling in practice.

If you possess these qualities, you are ready for leadership.  As such, either traditional or franchise business opportunities could be the best path as you look for your next career.

If you’ve come to the conclusion that business ownership will be the best pathway for your future, schedule a pre-consultation call with our expert franchise consultant Sid Lee.  You’ll be glad you did.

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