The Dance of the Chief Executive Officer

By: Miguel Galván

The Dance of the Chief Executive Officer

We have talked about the CEO as the only person that sees the corporation in an integral manner, we have also mentioned that nowadays a double challenge is being faced: to transform the company and to operate the day to day in the business; however, few of us have heard of what is specifically that that the CEO must do in order to play his role in the transformation. 

At Business Transformation Consortium we have designed a model that outlines the management cycle of the CEO during a Journey of Transformation, a cycle that is being implemented along with the maturity of the corporation and that is nurtured through the execution of its phases.

We have named it “The Dance of the CEO”, you will surely be asking yourself: Why the Dance of the CEO? The answer to this question can be explained by its graphic.

This model refers to those steps marked for the CEO to flow in the Transformation of the Company and play their role as leader, communicator, and guide of this movement to the total company.

Phase 1: Prepare

Before beginning each stage of the Route of Transformation, we must start by the preparation of the CEO, and this is just to develop the conviction for the integral transformation of the business, meaning, to assume the personal clarity of why the corporation must be transformed and in which direction is the route to take. This will avoid having a wrongful beginning for the transformation and an incorrect form of communication for the rest of the business.

In this phase the CEO must be completely convinced that there is a need and that it is the right moment to carry out an Integral Transformation for the business. 

Once this need for transformation is identified, the CEO must be clear on what the principal objective of the transformation is going to be and identify what are the skills, abilities and characteristics of the company that make and will make it stand out from the rest. It is important that once this is clear, a unique agenda is built, also known as the transformation route map, that will be a guide for the CEO. 

Something that we have learned along the different given accompaniments, is that if the CEO does not have that strong conviction of the transformation needed or do not understand its purpose, it will be almost impossible to transmit or to convince to the rest of the staff the reason for the transformation.

Phase 2: Align

Only from the CEO’s perspective can the corporation’s needs be seen clearly, and it is for this reason that they are in charge of seeing and managing everything; however, to achieve it there is a need for more people that will aid in the execution of the transformation. This is why in this phase the main objective is to achieve this alignment with the group of people that are considered to be a fundamental piece to the transformation. 

As we have already mentioned, there are two principal roles that must work together with the CEO: The Architect of Transformation and the Executives’ Committee. This is the first group that must be approached once the CEO has the correct preparation and conviction for the transformation.

Also, the Management Team of the corporation, must be joined, that is to say, the direct reports of the Executives Committee and other key roles of the company; as they are the audience that will later help to transmit the message directly with the rest of the company.

It is crucial for this group of people to feel the same passion and compromise as the CEO and that additionally, become part of every moment in decisions made as well as in the actions that must be done.

With the CEO and the team aligned correctly with their role and added to the transformation, it will be much easier to arrive to every level, to achieve the conviction and alignment of the rest of the enterprise and to generate a compromise with the transformation so that everyone moves at the same rhythm.

Phase 3: Communicate

During this phase the CEO must work, along with the Team of Transformation and the Communications area, in constructing an intentional message that is consistent, complete and constant for every level and audience of the company regarding the status of the Transformation. 

With this message, the CEO must not only announce that the business will start a process of change but also to give answers to the possible concerns that may arise such as: What is the transformation?, What is the objective of having a transformation?, Which will be the benefits for the company and everyone that forms part of it?, What is expected from each of us?, among others that might emerge. 

This communication must be adequate, accurate and effective, so that it invites everyone to take part in the transformation, to feel identify with the need of transformation and that each one of the collaborators make it yours.

Is in this phase where, through constant communication, the CEO must begin the mobilization of the organization as a whole towards a same path, where everyone walks with the same cadence and rhythm.

Phase 4: Lead

During this phase, the CEO must take complete leadership of coordinating that the execution of the program of transformation is methodologic, structured and disciplined. It is here where the previous phases become a reality and where together with the Architect of Transformation, the Executives Committee and the Management Committee, provokes that all of the defined factors converge for the acceptance and adoption of the changes. 

The CEO must achieve synchronization between all actions, strategies and the roles defined as responsible for their execution. In addition, to lead the proper execution of all processes and dismantle everything that does not generate the expected impact for the transformation. 

We have experienced with our different members that when the CEO becomes that inspiring leader for everyone else, always being consistent between what he says and does, the collaborators feel much more calm about how the change will be the best for the organization. 

 On purpose we use the infinite symbol in the graph of the Chief Executive Officer Dance, because it is a way of representing that the four phases of the CEO’s management cycle do not end while the company is on a Transformation Journey. 

This model refers to those steps marked so that the CEO flows in the Transformation of the Company and plays a role as a leader, communicator, and guide of this movement totally accompanied.