Leadership development and the CEO

September 27, 2017 by Wally Bock

Leadership development should start with the CEO. Then what? I started thinking about this when I read Sandro Bassili’s article on Chief Executive. The title of the article is “Anheuser-Busch’s Head of People: Talent is a C-Level Responsibility.” Here’s the paragraph that caught my eye.

“Our company’s commitment to people starts at the very top. When it comes to recruiting, everyone, including our C-suite, invests their time and effort to find our next generation of leaders. Our industry is highly competitive and complex, so continuing to attract great people and build a meritocracy where people advance based on results, ability and commitment is a top priority. When our C-suite is spending full days recruiting undergrads, our people realize that we truly believe people are our greatest asset.”

I started wondering what else the CEO does besides recruiting undergraduates. When it comes to leadership development, what do we expect a CEO to do?

Leadership development and the CEO as model

The CEO is the person everyone looks to for clues about what’s important. I want the CEO to set an example by the way he or she spends time and money. Sure, public things like spending full days recruiting is part of that. But so is spending not-so-public time in talent assessment meetings and semi-public time teaching in the leadership development program.

Leadership development and the CEO as culture creator

Creating culture is a day-to-day challenge for the CEO. Is the company culture one where aspiring leaders are intentionally identified, assessed, and developed? Is the culture one where people get evaluated on their numbers and also on the way they live out values? Is the culture one where it’s part of every manager’s job to nurture people?

Wally Bock is a coach, a writer and President of Three Star Leadership.

Posted in Leadership Development

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