Wendy Lea - How to be a CEO - Lightning Lab

Wendy Lea – How to be a CEO

Wendy“Leadership isn’t about demanding control anymore: those days are over. 

It’s about unpacking the personal motivations of individual employees.”

– Wendy Lea, Distinguished CEO


What does it take to be a CEO?

The ability to lead comes with the ability to regularly self-assess. Self-assessments make us aware of our vulnerabilities and gaps within our professional capabilities.

The skills you have, the knowledge that you carry, your work ethic and your ability to combine those variables in a cadence to execute on those goals bring results.

Ask yourself: “Can you do this?”

Being unable to execute a given task or having gaps in your knowledge simply reminds us that we’re human. This isn’t a problem, rather an opportunity to fill these gaps and contribute to your team. After all, it’s all about the team.

A team should be “unified and aligned around a set of aspirations.”

Here are a few take home tips around getting your team right from Wendy’s Skype-in with the Lightning Lab XX crew:

  • As the CEO, communication is key. You story tell. You become the platform for relationships to form. You listen. You write.
  • A diverse work environment encompasses more than race, age and sex. Being able to lean into your employee’s strengths and optimise their diverse working style is critical to success.
  • Utilise your connections and have the sensitivity to hire people smarter than yourself over time. If they aren’t smarter than you in a particular area – what’s the point?
  • Clearly define roles and have a universal vision. Collaboration isn’t just an open workspace. It is crucial to promote a transparent working environment, have explicit trust, and recognise that power is simply a mixture of influence and information to be shared. Encourage creative problem solving and joint decision making, but be very specific about foundations and clearly establish ground rules.

As a CEO, you mustn’t take things personally. You come to find that you can’t change people, and if you have too many smart people around one table you inevitably cannot please everyone.

You must be mindful. The rewards that come from simply paying attention and then reflecting reminds us that both Leadership and Management are forms of art, not science.

Where there is an increase in risk, there is an increase in the likelihood for return. You must put your brave on and decide consciously to move towards a direction of something you know is risky, and be mindful of the security you had prior.

There is a great difference between courage and bravery. Having the resilience to pull yourself back up and get over the grief that results from failure is courageous. However, the ability to then discuss this failure and learn from it is brave.

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