Annually since 2013 I have surveyed over 200 CEO’s across the USA, Australia and New Zealand to seek feedback on two key questions relating to what they have learnt and what challenges they feel they face over the coming 12 months. This creates a huge amount of information which takes some time to distil down to the key patterns that show up across all the replies. It is also a very interesting document to read because these busy business leaders have taken the time to reflect and answer the questions.
The trend over the last five years has been leading in constant change, the challenge of developing teams who have the resilience to thrive in uncertainty (created by constant change) and who can still achieve growth and a solid bottom line profit. There is much more awareness of the importance of a good culture of engagement and the need for governance, mentors and coaches to stay ahead of the crowd (competitors). I do note that the CEO’s surveyed tend to be those leading high performance companies that perform year on year despite market conditions and competitor moves so they are adaptable and already good at execution.
Question 1: What are the three biggest leadership lessons you have learnt in 2018?
Question 2: What are the three biggest challenges you will face as a leader in 2019?
You can see the results of the 2017/18 survey here.
You can look back over a summary of the last five surveys here.
The lessons I personally learnt as a leader in 2018
I thank all those CEO’s who took the time to reflect and provide feedback.
I loved 2018. It was an exciting, challenging year packed with fun, great work assignments, tough conversations, big decisions, awesome colleagues and the opportunity to work with business leaders who are at the top of their game.
Each year I ask the CEO’s I coach to reflect on what they have learnt, what they have achieved and to think ahead to the challenges they face. I also challenge myself to do the same. “Live what we teach, teach what we live” is a Core value after all.
It does take discipline to stop, take time out, reflect and to bank lessons learnt. If you don’t then you run the risk of not seeing exactly what has been achieved and will likely make the same mistakes or worse not leverage the hard earned lessons you have learnt.
A summary of key aspects of my year and some data (what gets measured gets managed).
Family: My daughter passed her NZCEA level 2 with Merit (whilst rowing, playing netball and Basketball), my son turned one & a wee baby daughter was born on the 28th of December 2018. We moved house, celebrated my parents 75th birthdays, family birthdays and sadly have had to both support ill family members and attend funerals of extended family and friends. That said I loved every minute of my family life.
Personal Fitness, health & well-being: Courtesy of my Fitbit I know I walked or ran 2555km, climbed 2234 flights of stairs, completed 182 work out periods consisting of 261.5 active hours and burnt a grand total of 1,252,315 calories! I took a month break at Christmas and 3 x one week breaks during the year to stay recharged, have time with family and to rest.
Work wise I took 56 flights, led 231 executive coaching sessions (one on one with Directors, Founders, CEO’s and C level executives in NZ, Australia & the USA), Chaired 24 Board meetings, took on a another chair role & taught on the University of Canterbury MBA course. I also led 57 Strategic planning sessions with companies and facilitated 31 customised Executive Leadership workshops. Clients were NZ wide, in Australia and in the USA & included work with Ngai Tahu, the Canterbury Rugby Football Union, tech companies, not for profit organisations and bigger companies than we have traditionally done business with.
In October I traded my shares in the national company & Greg & I purchased the Christchurch Practice & client accounts outright. In November I attended the Institute of Directors five day directors course and then subsequently completed the requirements to be a Chartered Member of the Institute. Through the year clients won a number of national and regional awards and it was a pleasure to attend the Champion Canterbury, NZ Export Awards and NZ High Tech Awards.
Our business partner John Spence (and his lovely wife Sheila) visited down under and we worked together to deliver some unique Leadership Development workshops. We continued to develop strategic partnerships with likeminded professionals as we grow our leadership and execution services offering.
In my role as Commanding Officer of 2/4 Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment I completed 56 days service. The Battalion supported local communities, deployed people overseas on operations and commemorated ANZAC and Armistice centenary celebrations across the South Island. I qualified on the NZ Army fitness test and the rifle and pistol shooting tests which whilst standard qualifications, they require some focus and commitment to ensure I set the example as the Commanding Officer.
A busy and fulfilling year. So what did I learn?;
2019 has started with some great opportunities & I’m looking forward to working hard to ensure it is a success.
Notes from a client session today: reality is we create most of our own frustrations by not allowing our people to to their jobs…. by constantly stepping in & rescuing them. Over time we are the source of our own leadership blockages. #leadership #selfawareness #team
First understand when a decision needs to be made and by who. The impact of making good clear decisions with the best info available at the time & then iterating them to improve upon them if needed has a profound impact on those you lead. So many leaders won’t make a call which ensure mediocrity or failure will follow.
#iterative #strategicthinking #leadership #timely #teamwork #leadershipdevelopmentcoaching
Seequent are a New Zealand business success story. Over 7 years I have been proud to work with Greg Allnutt to support the growing, scaling software company as it pushed globally.
In 2018 Seequent won a number of awards including the Champion Canterbury Supreme Award, NZ High Tech Award and the overall NZ Business Exports Award.
Seequent CEO Shaun Maloney discusses this in a short 2 min video.
A real leadership challenge and barrier to team growth is a lack of effective communication. Here’s 2 mins on the topic with my good friend and business partner John Spence.
It was a great night at the New Zealand International Business Awards on Thursday night. I was there in my role as Chair of Link Engine Management Ltd. Several of the board and all the Management Team attended.
After a year of solid expansion into the USA, winning at category at the Champion Canterbury Awards in September and having been finalists for the last two years at the NZ High Tech Awards it was nice to celebrate as a team.
I think it is important to celebrate excellence and to play our part on the NZ stage as a successful exporter.