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Become a Successful First-Time CEO – Master the confidence, relationships and strategies you need to succeed

Transitioning into a CEO role demands more than just skills – it requires ongoing training, guidance, and a willingness to evolve. In this book, authored by David Roche, discover invaluable insights and case studies tailored for first-time CEOs. From building critical relationships to navigating media interactions, Roche’s eight-stage process, the CEO Winner’s Circle, offers a roadmap for success. Whether you’re a seasoned industry veteran or a newcomer, this book equips you with the tools and mindset needed to excel in today’s dynamic business landscape.

I have often seen and experienced in my career, an existing leader gets promoted to a CEO position or someone new coming into the organization to fill the top role without any training. You could be really good at what you do but to take on a role like the CEO you need not only training but ongoing coaching until you get it!! This book is designed to help first-time CEOs, and is also full of advice for those aspiring to become first-time CEOs.

It’s a new skillset and to give yourself the best chance of growing into the role and attaining success you will need encouragement, guidance and nurturing to develop it while on the job. When promoted to the top job for the first time, it’s only natural to have doubts about your ability to succeed in the role.

Written by DAVID ROCHE, the book has case studies on how people have learned to succeed and has anecdotes that may trigger ideas in your own mind that answer your immediate and longer-term need.

Like myself, Roche also believes that professional, independent coaching and mentoring should become compulsory for all first-time CEOs. It’s a relatively minor investment, with a major long-term payback, both commercially and personally. As we have seen especially in the past few years, the world is in need of great leaders. Someone that can take a business through challenges and come out on top. It not only takes business skills but also knowing how to lead people is a critical component of a CEO role. As Roche puts it, this book is his contribution towards shaping the next generation of outstanding, empathetic leaders with both the vision and high emotional intelligence to achieve amazing things.

Roche goes on to say that if an individual’s attitude is right, they will do everything they can to achieve success on behalf of the company. External confidence is important, but internal confidence is far more difficult to generate. How you use your relationships with others and avoiding isolation is key. You don’t need to be hugely experienced to gain confidence and you’ll be surprised how others will welcome being included in the deliberation.

Roche has built an eight-stage process that he uses for first-time CEOs. It’s called the CEO Winner’s Circle and it addresses all the key relationships that leaders need to develop and get right in order to be successful. These include critical relationships both inside and outside the company.

Direct Reports are the meat and drink of your daily working life relationship. If this team has been selected wisely, works well together and contains individuals who can be trusted to run their own teams effectively, then there is little you cannot achieve.

The quality of their input will rise or fall depending on your relationship with clients, suppliers and partners, how we treat them, how we include them and how we react to each other will play an important part in getting the best out of all business relationships.

Let’s not forget the relationship with the media as warned by Roche, whether that is with the trade publishing magazines or with national media, when applicable. Your standing will contribute to whether people want to come and work for your company. How you are perceived and perform will likely have a direct relationship with how your company is perceived and performs. Being careful is one thing, but being overly dull is another. If you never say anything contentious or answer any questions, then the media will lose interest in you.

Building partnerships can be the most powerful way to amplify what you do, buying in specialist expertise that you don’t have the time or money to develop inhouse. Properly aligned, these partners will become as important as your own team.

As a first-time CEO, you may well be a key person of influence within your industry already, or you may be an ‘outsider’ who has no previous experience or profile in the sector. Either way, becoming a key player in your current industry will benefit both your company and you.

I have also experienced a CEO involved in various sectors and industries. There is no reason why you should restrict your circle to those in your industry. The best thing about many business courses is the people you meet and contacts you make from other industries. Learn how others build their business and how their wins are achieved but also how they came out of their challenges.

Roche remarks that the lack of a succession plan means that CEOs are more likely to be selected from external candidates. The board looks for someone who ideally has a track record that demonstrates they can do the job. The track record of success for external appointments is that they get binned more often than internal candidates. As a CEO, it’s your role to ensure there is continuity for the company not only for today but into the future.

The role of the CEO has changed over the last ten years – there is even less time to think, less acceptance from customers for mistakes and wildfire reactions on social media to amplify any public-facing issues.

I personally have not been a CEO however I have supported a few positions of CEO and that job is not easy or should it be taken lightly. Being open to training and taking all the coaching and mentoring you can will only build you to take on the challenge!!

Published by Rethink

Reviewed by Monique Vander Eyken, HR Consultant – MVE Consulting

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