I spend a good deal of time working with, observing, and being inspired by CEOs. They’re wired differently; their capacity for risk is greater than most, their pursuit of excellence strong and more fine-tuned. Their ability to recall the smallest detail and influence their tribes with strategic vision is just a part of the day’s work.
Over the last four years I worked closely with CEOs to introduce or further coach them on how to navigate a social-business landscape particularly through LinkedIn. It’s been interesting. I always start by saying I need you to be open-minded. I don’t actually care if they like LinkedIn or any other social platform. It’s irrelevant.
Open-minded and marathon-ready, that’s important. But the true success comes from the leadership team themselves. When they take it on beyond a nod and a checked KPI at the bottom of a performance review, opportunity happens.
Imagine two different CEOs and how they approach LinkedIn, social selling and social in general.
The sorta-kinda-maybe CEO
This CEO claims to have an open mind and allows us to train and coach their sales team. The sales team, who is undeniably successful has marginal interest and although the CEO said LinkedIn should be embraced it, they fail to use their network for the greater good of uncovering new opportunities. We set up their Searches, we added said CEO to Groups, remind them why and how. They shook their head politely and continued their business as usual. They are strapped for time.
They are so steeped in working in their business they missed seeing and creating accountability for their own future. The majority of their sales team stopped bothering too. A small but mighty group continue to leverage LinkedIn and Facebook. Kudos to them for figuring out their future.
In the end, the CEO was open-minded but didn’t have the willingness to commit to learning and leveraging LinkedIn’s vast network and their personal network of influencers and decision-makers. A working owner without strategic planning or focus falls prey to distinction in today’s world.
The rock-solid CEO
This CEO often takes a bit longer to engage initially but it tends to be because they are noodling it more. They are long-play CEOs; strategic and purposeful. They see the shiny object, understand what it does but don’t completely buy in until they see how it fits with everything else they are doing. They are surgical and understand the importance of their voice. Read more about the importance of the CEOs voice in an earlier post, Who Should Handle LinkedIn and Your Social Platforms.
They are intentional and manage accountability for both themselves and their team. They recognize that if they don’t lead and do, no one else will. They commit. They read, they learn, they push the buttons and they pay coaches and consultants to provide the deep dive to uncover new opportunities. They recognize they are the ultimate business developer even as they run the business, position their organization for growth, a buyout or an acquisition. They set the course, deep dive, set it up, understand what it takes.
The rock-solid CEO understands that their transparancy is good for business. One of our best CEO clients is purposeful and schedules regular time each week with his sales and marketing team to identify centers of influence within his LinkedIn network. He has a plan and he works his plan. In fact, just recently he upped his commitment and now meets with his team twice a week on this initiative. Why? It’s working.
In the first five months of this initiative, the team attended 31 first-time appointments, closed four deals, and have a fifth opportunity in negotiation stages. Their industry is fiercely difficult and competitive and he never takes his eye off of new business.
He is laser focused, committed and gives to get. He has become a center of influence in his LinkedIn network. The result? His company is growing. He knows what he needs to do. And, his marketing and sales team follow through. They create and curate content, build their knowledge share, increase corporate visibility and know their value in the organization is woven tightly to the CEO’s.
The rock-solid CEO is both in the weeds and strategic, their brain dancing between the immediate and the long term. They position themselves and their business to be of the highest value, constantly in a state of permanent beta. They are open and willing to test, pivot and retest the possibilities to hone in on what will separate their companies from the pack.
Moving from being a working owner without a strategic plan and focus to a leader with a strategic plan and focus is the difference between being an owner and a true CEO.
To learn more about center of influence campaigns and building a CEO LinkedIn strategy, give me a shout at firstname.lastname@example.org.