Whether it’s you or one of your most revered clients, the words “it’s lonely at the top” should be at the top your awareness. Today, and, unfortunately, into the future, the enormous challenges and stresses that CEOs face not only beleaguer their psyches, but will continue to devalue and in some cases collapse great companies. So where does the lonely and besieged CEO turn for help – especially those who may not know they need it?
Janet Fogarty, an executive coach with Vistage International, best counsels a runaway CEO by saying, “You forgot to put on your oxygen mask before helping others.” Fogarty specializes in working with CEOs on issues that deeply affect them professionally and personally. And its primary premise is based on peer group advisory strategies.
When a CEO joins such a group she immediately is immersed into a world of independent advice – advice that is completely free from employee and spousal agendas. She is provided an open forum for not only getting her questions answered, but her answers questioned. She can get the answers to questions like: “Should I buy my own building or lease it?” “How can I effectively take my company to the next level?” “What will make me more accountable?” “How can I keep my life in better balance with regard to my health and performance?” And all this advice is given within the confines of a group she can trust.
These monthly gatherings help CEOs formulate richer solutions and ideas that allow them to make better decisions. And by making better decisions, they also make decisions better. Fogarty hears this comment over and over: “That advice helped me dodge a bullet and save money.” She also works heavily on strategies surrounding clarity of purpose. When prospecting, rarely does she ever get a clear answer when she asks the question, “Where is your business headed, and how do you think you’re going to get there?” This clarity of purpose transcends into confidence, mostly because it gives CEOs a vehicle of support and fresh ideas; a calmness fueled by less stress and fewer crises; better business exit strategies. Ultimately, the clarity of purpose turns into more financial security.
“When CEOs actually take time to work on their business instead of in it, they begin to outperform their competition by leaps and bounds,” Fogarty says.
Regardless of the advisory niche you possess, it shouldn’t limit you from enlightening your clients, a business associate or family member about this information. It’s especially significant for targeting women when you learn stats like:
- Sixteen percent of all corporate officers in the Fortune 500 are women
- Forty-six percent of management and professional jobs are held by women
- Nearly 50 percent of privately held U.S. firms are at least 50 percent women-owned
- These 10.6 million businesses employ 19 million people and generate $2.5 trillion in sales.
Early recognition and action with regard to the “lonely at the top” mentality will be advantageous for everyone.