Each person has a life purpose to fulfill through their leadership of ideas, people, systems, or processes. Being aware of and in sync with that personal purpose generates vital energy and outlines a direction for action. Using personal purpose as a touchstone, an executive interviewing for the key position will know if she or he “fits” the time and strategic direction of an organization.
I’ve had the privilege to see 4 CEOs in succession in one company. The first one I worked with brought a commitment to quality and teamwork. Through his hands-on leadership, he made both of them part of the organization’s DNA. He also opened the business model to consider entrepreneurial projects.
When he retired, the next CEO could stand on the quality commitment and the emerging business model. CEO2 brought his passion for being a vital member of the business community and experience in the political arena to expand the scope and reputation of the business. Through small acquisitions, new service lines were added and their geographic footprint grew. Their reputation was enhanced. He paid attention to quality, fiscal competency, and community relations.
When he retired, the third CEO stood on their accomplishments with his acumen in finance and strategic thinking. The company completed a large acquisition that increased their public accountability in their geographic and business communities, changed the culture throughout the integrated service lines, and hopefully built a sustainable business model for decades to come. CEO3 recently retired and handed the reins over to the fourth CEO.
Each CEO had his place in the history of this company and each used his talents and experience to fulfill his personal purpose in service of the organization. Three CEO legacies. Three giant steps forward.
The next CEO has big shoes to fill – his predecessors’ and his own leadership purpose.