"I'll Go First"


Leadership Development

Whitepaper - CEO Led leadership - Coming soon!

"Over the last 15 years doing leadership development I've seen one approach be far more effective than other in developing leaders. It doesn't take very long and it's not that complicated. It simply takes a CEO to say to their people: 'I'll go first, you follow me.'"

  • The traditional approach to developing leaders

    • Focus on the mid-level managers/ hi’pos

    • Executives are bystanders


  • The problem with the traditional approach

    • The leaders come back into a system/ culture that has not changed

    • Senior executives visibly contradict what hi po’s just learned

    • CEO and exec team don’t know the new language or concepts  

    • Hi po’s revert back to the existing culture


  • A more powerful approach

    • Identify organizational need that requires a new type of leadership going forward e.g. execution of a new strategy

    • CEO and exec’s go first in the development process to align their leadership to the business need (they start to live it first)

    • They then say to next levels: ‘your turn, follow our lead’

    • Their people engage in a (fast, time efficient) action orientated process together

    • This is cascaded through the business by the leaders (with support)

    • Everything is connected to and driven by the business need


  • Why it works better

    • From an evolutionary perspective, humans mimic what authority figures do, not say

    • It is active not passive

    • It is time efficient (not long multi-day - least amount of time for the maximum impact)

    • A critical mass of people change direction together – same way a flock of birds or school of fish pivot together

    • It engages individuals/ groups on multiple levels: inter-personally, intellectually, emotionally


  • 3 Necessary ingredients (pre-conditions)

    • An enlightened CEO + Trusted/ Sophisticated HR partner

    • A business need (that requires new leadership approach)

    • Exec team prepared to learn publicy


  • The Process (customized by organization)

    • CEO sponsors and HR partner drives

    • The process gets attached to important organizational outcomes

      • E.g. a new leadership culture to drive our new strategy

    • The exec team goes first

      • A ‘taster’ session for exec team: Test: are we up for doing this? Then….

      • 6 month ‘deep dive’ using new tools and frames on real work or

      • 1 month then ‘cannonball dive’ (M.)

    • Cascade to the next levels of the organization

    • Vaccinate on mass – everyone else follows the same process right away

    • Drip feed - over time introduce: tools, language, frameworks into the organization

    • Continuous practice on real work challenges

    • Cascade into the rhythms of the workplace

    • Capture outcomes and results


To inquire about using CEO led leadership development in your organization send us an email.