One of my heroes gave the talk at the opening dinner of this week's CEO Boot Camp.
I've known Howard Fluhr since we started running CEO Boot Camps in 2005. He was nearing the end of his 12 year run as CEO of the Segal Company then, and continues on with them as Chairman. This is one of those people anyone would love to have as a CEO, boss, colleague, or friend.
At dinner last night, Howard offered six tips/insights that would seem to be useful for any CEO or rising leader:
- Be driven. Some CEOs are driven by success. Some are driven to help others. Some are driven by their organization's purpose. But you don't become CEO without passion for something. And you aren't effective without a guiding compass of core values and integrity.
- Remember you're not perfect. It's about the pursuit of mastery, not the achievement of it. The moment you start believing your own press and thinking you're the master is the moment you sow your own seeds of destruction. It's critical to keep learning and growing.
- Good communication is not enough. Howard describes being CEO as life in a fishbowl. Everything you say and don't say, do and don't do will get analyzed and interpreted much as the Greeks used to read the entrails of the emperor. Your communication must be clear, consistent and repetitive over time.
- Learn from many sources. Truth depends on perspective. Have multiple advisors from the one 100% trusted advisor to your board, to "kids" in the room that see things with fresh eyes, to customers, suppliers, and even competitors.
- Be a complete person. Those of you thinking you'll do what you want to do once you've completed what you have to do are never going to get there. Balance the two right now. Take that vacation. Howard is clear that you can't get done in 52 weeks what you can't get done in 48 weeks.
- Take the time to analyze. Of course you'll have to make decisions without complete information. At least take the time to think through the information you do have.
- Embrace uncertainty. Few people can deal with uncertainty. The CEO has to be able to do so and to help others do so.
One of the great things about Howard is that he always over delivers: promises six tips and delivers seven.