Are you a CEO or do you work closely with one? Or perhaps you’re a self-employed entrepreneur who, for all practical purposes, also serve as a “CEO” of sorts. Leaders of organizations need to have a broader range of skills than ever before, according to Stephen Miles, CEO of The Miles Group (miles-group.com), which advises global organizations, their boards, and leadership teams. The following, Miles says, are among the many hats a CEO needs to wear in 2016.
* Futurist. “We have entered a world in which even the best and the brightest cannot predict the biggest things happening around us: crude oil dropping below $40, the Arab Spring, currency fluctuations, what Russia and China will do next,” Miles says. “Even if CEOs cannot predict events and trends, the market still demands that they react immediately and opportunistically in the face of incredibly complex and surprising events – and to be prepared before they happen.”
* Tech CEO. “Tech pundits have been saying for at least the past ten years that every company is a technology company, and this is now becoming a reality,” Miles states. “Every CEO is now a ‘tech CEO,’ or at least must act like one. Just look at Domino’s today: it is a tech company that happens to deliver pizza! General Electric is running ads that it is the ‘digital industrial company.’ Whatever sector you’re in, technology is the future of your business.”
* Crisis manager. “As a CEO, you are going to be constantly stress-tested by events inside and outside your company, and how you respond to that stress will define you as a leader,” Miles explains. “You can look at the contrast between BP’s Tony Hayward and General Motors’ Mary Barra. Fortune called Barra 2014’s ‘crisis manager of the year,’ while Hayward complained ‘I would like my life back’ (and he got it). People’s response to a stress event is typically binary: you are either good at it or you are not. It is important for a leader to understand their response to a stress[ful] event so they can define their leadership in a strong and powerful way rather than being run out of the company.”
* Information seeker. “The days of being a high-performing company that is focused internally are gone, as are the days of being led by a CEO who stays too inwardly focused,” Miles says. “The world demands a CEO who is always looking outside and bringing new insight and ideas back into the company – and challenging everything the company is doing every day. Many of the most successful companies that ultimately run into problems are inwardly focused; this starts with the CEO and becomes a model for the culture as well. And undervaluing or discounting the external perspective – no matter how foreign it may seem – often ends badly for a CEO and/or the company itself.”
Space precludes me from citing all of the roles that Miles says a CEO needs to play in 2016. Contact me and I’ll send you a list and brief description of each.