Being a CEO requires thinking “big picture”—not just about the current needs or accomplishments of your organization, but of its long-term goals and future path to economic prosperity. To sustain meaningful success and growth, CEOs at any business—for-profit and purpose-driven alike—must implement forward-thinking and innovative processes and policies, or otherwise risk their customers, and perhaps even their employees, leaving them in the dust.
To provide customers with an unforgettable user experience, improve workplace wellness and maintain relevancy in an ever-changing digital era, here are three keys to be a successful, innovative CEO:
Admit and Fix
It’s impossible for any CEO to hit a home run with every strategy they produce throughout their professional career. No matter the industry, there will be mistakes, and there will be failed attempts. This is simply a fact.
Rather than turn a blind eye to missteps or blame unsuccessful projects or plans on teams or individuals, it’s essential CEOs recognize the value in their failures and take responsibility as a leader. Learning from and analyzing these mistakes will not only enable CEOs to potentially foresee future mishaps, but help employees at any level overcome fear of failure and appreciate the successes even more.
Teach by example and create a work environment that supports learning curves. CEOs should be quick to congratulate and slow to scorn. Doing so encourages employees to contribute meaningful ideas to conversations, produce more innovative and effective solutions, and make an organization a more enjoyable place to work and play.
Take Risks to Gain Rewards
Every CEO must learn to manage and evaluate risks when implementing a new strategy or outlining a projected path for growth. While it’s impossible to know if taking a risk will yield success or stormy seas, knowing when it’s time to seek change is imperative.
Seeking and implementing innovation requires both curiosity and guts to recognize opportunities other thought leaders in an industry might not. It also requires a level of self-confidence to follow through and pursue a change or idea competitors have perhaps overlooked. Without this confidence and willingness to take risks in pursuit of reward, innovation is impossible. CEOs who are risk-adverse will be placed in a box with little room to achieve the growth needed to remain relevant and ahead of their competitors.
Create with the Consumer in Mind
Bearing the title of CEO is no easy feat, and regardless of what some people might think, it’s not all glitz and glamour. In fact, it’s a pretty tough job. Being responsible for the success of an organization and its employees, in addition to the satisfaction of countless customers, comes with its fair share of struggles.
Brainstorming and implementing new ideas and strategies, competing with and monitoring emerging markets and competitors, and providing customers with new and innovative products and services is critical. But, itis easy to become intimidated by past failures and successes when trying to come up with innovative solutions.
Many CEOs fall into the trap of thinking safer is better. But, to keep consumers happy, it’s imperative to always see and think just like they do. Anticipate what their wants and needs are before they know they want them. A good leader knows when to shake things up, but also recognizes when to keep what works. It’s important to remember even the most effective leaders can’t force their customers to do anything. They must create compelling products and services in a way to become more attractive and empower customers to act.
To lead a business—especially a purpose driven organization—in an ever-evolving digital world is difficult. But, maintaining healthy growth and a steady reputation is possible, if decision makers remain in a constant cycle of innovation.
Jean Paul (JP) Guilbault is the President of Community Brands, one of the nation’s leading software technology companies. For more then 20 years, JP has delivered unprecedented value through the power of software and revenue solutions for millions of cause-driven professionals in the association, nonprofit, and government industries.