Breathing Life into Dead CEOs

The idea of breathing life into dead CEOs does not mean they arrive at our office on a stretcher or in a coffin. Typically, their vital signs are not great though:

  1. One of the signs we see are overweight individuals, which is partly because they are quite time-poor and working long hours. The accumulation of weight is as a result of poor diet, low exercise levels and high stress levels. From your body perspective – you are under threat.
  2. Secondly, they are often on some kind of medication for cholesterol or high blood pressure. These are early warning signs that this person’s physiology is struggling to deal with the stress, changes and demands that are placed upon them to operate at an executive level.
  3. We often see marriages are in trouble or divorces have gone through which can sometimes result in people becoming estranged from their children.

There are a whole range of social costs at this level. Particularly, if we think about two or three things that stand out – one is isolation, whether they’ve been through a separation or divorce, they can still feel quite isolated when they’re in a strong leadership position. They feel like it’s their job to always have answers for the management team when they come to them with questions, or the board is looking to them for answers. They can’t productively or necessarily share their concerns with their direct reports or the board. They can’t voice their unanswered questions or struggles, because that could be perceived as weakness and vulnerability.

What is missing is a professional partner; someone they can talk to about their issues rather than go home and hope that their life partner will not only listen, but actually provide support and some kind of suggestion or advice about what they could practically do about the situation that they’re facing.



A Professional Partnership

The ideal fit or match for someone who is a CEO is someone who has had the experience of being a CEO and done so successfully in different environments.  Someone who can feel their pain and know what it feels like to walk in their shoes, who has faced the same kind of incessant demands from various areas and has had to work out which is the most important versus the most urgent to deal with.

Einstein famously said “we can’t solve problems at the levels at which they were created”.

Who drags you up to look at things in a broader context?  A Professional Partner has that capacity – because it’s simply a natural gift or whether it’s something they’ve cultivated and developed through doing an MBA or some other kind of higher education.  A professional partner is someone who can help simplify the complexity that a CEO is facing and get right to the source of the issue to put things into a meaningful context. This helps a leader:

  1. consider the right things
  2. consider them clearly
  3. make decisions
  4. ensure implementation

In practical terms, these kinds of conversations enable that person to go back to the office and confidently say, “I’ve made a decision about A, B and C”.

Everyone can keep moving forward, rather than the CEO becoming the bottleneck for decision-making within their organisation.

The Willing Candidate

The kind of individual that gets the most out of nLIVEn’s Professional Partnership Programs is someone who is willing to organise their ideas about the challenges and/or opportunities that they’re facing.  They can either audio record it to send to us, or they can put their thoughts into high level documents.  Essentially, they need to be able to show us their thinking if they want us to help them look at their situation in a more resourceful way.  From that point of view, it enables that individual to externalise it, communicate it and organise the information they need to communicate to others around them.  Sending this material to us is a dress rehearsal for what is to come.

Case Study: “How A Captain Becomes A Coach”

Despite more than 20 years service within a highly reputable Victorian based transport company 50 year old Terry, a General Manager and Board member, recognised that his security within the organisation relied upon his ability to grow faster than the business. Not only was his job security at risk so was his health and quality of life.

“Because of my knowledge and experience with the internal workings of the company and my relationships both with staff and suppliers, the Board continued to hand me more and more responsibility. The impact resulting from my lack of formal business and management training started to take its toll on my professional performance, health and general satisfaction in life. Having worked my way up from the bottom to the top of my organisation simply through hard work and dedication, I had failed to develop and refine my business management skills. Simply, I found myself unable to perform adequately in today’s commercial environment and the consequences of continuing to avoid taking action were starting to consume me. Overworked and confronted by the reality of my situation, it was time to re-asses and correct the course that my life was taking. I needed to get back in the driver’s seat and regain control.

Aware of my situation, one of my suppliers and close friends recommended that I consult nLIVEn. The day that I did changed the course of my life. It was the most positive and responsible action I have ever taken to ensure my wellbeing – professional and personal. My Professional Partnership Program was literally a business management / life boot camp that armed me with the tools to quickly and efficiently get my dealerships, my professional and personal life under control. Instead of the program being boring and arduous as I had feared given my experience with traditional education, my Professional Partner leveraged my interest in sport and engaged ‘game theory’ as the principal style of learning. Not only did this keep me motivated, allow me to build my confidence and produce results, it ensured that I could easily replicate the tactics learnt with my team. Overall morale and performance instantly boomed.

Working with my Professional Partner helped me learn and understand how to engage my teams in solving problems rather than me solving them for them in a faster, more efficient manner than I could from behind my desk. Instead of my managers bringing me problems they started bringing me solutions and recommendations.

Transitioning from playing the role of ‘Captain’ to ‘Coach / Captain’ and now purely ‘Coach’ where I can direct from the sidelines and create the space for the organisation’s new leaders to emerge and show off their potential has been so fulfilling. As a result of my Professional Partnership Program, my life is in balance, my health restored and my career safe and sound.

Many elements of the long-term personal vision I documented through the program are rapidly becoming a reality, including the recent fulfilment of one of our dreams – a waterfront coastal property in regional Victoria.

The program certainly helps bring the future forward in more effortless ways.”

Terry, General Manager and Board Member

The “Impromptu Interview Series” features unrehearsed and unscripted interviews with Glenn Williams.  These short videos are designed to capture useful ideas and insightful perspectives in an engaging way.

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