Five Key Pointers for the Emerging C-Zone Executive

There is an unseen threshold in the corporate world’s hierarchy; marking a rite of passage to a C-Level role. It has an elastic quality, extending or shrinking in time, depending on who is in the process of crossing it. The future success of a C-Zone executive depends on one’s awareness of this somewhat elusive threshold and the subsequent engenderment of a profound shift in the executive’s center of gravity and functional alignment.

The first thing to bear in mind is that being a (wildly) successful executive does not guarantee C-Level success. The task is to be able to do a ‘bothing’: To be able to turn one’s doing capacity into an ever-ready ‘mental Swiss knife’ – it will always be there when you need it – while engaging in the process of developing new skill-sets and capacities of a non-linear nature.

The five pointers are meant to serve as key awareness prompts. It’s a thrilling discovery journey, where the journey itself is the destination because it has no clear beginning or end, it simply just goes on.

The Five Pointers
1. From belief in self to belief in others

Sometimes, all a person needs to achieve the seemingly impossible – even if it’s just a little impossible – is for someone possessing the unselfish capacity to instill in them the invincible feeling that they have what it takes to succeed.

Belief is a mighty quality, a powerful inner presence, an unstoppable enabler. You know that from your experience and from your knowledge of world history. In entering the C-Zone your self-belief lends itself to those who may need a bit of time to grow theirs or are in a position that requires them to deliver beyond their present capacity but not beyond their potential.

An unselfish self-belief is a fortifying fountain for others to draw from

2. From knowing to not knowing

It is said that knowledge is power. Knowledge and skilled know-how can also be a great stopper. A company needs to have people based in the know-how and some who are based in the not knowing; in such a way that creates and maintains the space for new perceptions, approaches, ideas, and knowledge.

Living the not knowing is an art form, challenging the apprentice with a refined form of self-management. A big part of this continuing process manifests in the ability of the corporate leader to create the space for those they lead, where people feel free and are encouraged to share left-field thoughts and ideas that may well challenge comfort-zones conformity.

Know-how drives the bottom line; living the not knowing creates space for the future

3. The shrinking ego

Question: What shrinks an oversized ego?
Answer: A resolute shift from an excessive focus on oneself to a focus on a greater purpose.

The higher the purpose, the greater the shrinkage.

An ego is a feeding point. From everything being about a person, where egos feed on fear and terror – such as in totalitarian regimes – to egos that serve a high purpose, and as such serving as a gathering point for those who seek to join that purpose, energised by the regenerative energies and powers that occupy the realms of that purpose.

What is the highest purpose that a profit-making organization may aspire towards? A great company makes the world a better place in some way, in its unique way.

The smaller the ego, the more potent the growth engine

4. A catalyst presence

To become an effective catalyst presence, one must develop impartiality.

Developing impartiality is one of the most demanding developmental tasks. Imagine being born with a red filter covering your eyes and one day the filter melting away. Now take this analogy to the realms of perception and mindfulness. One cannot perceive and be mindfully cognizant of emerging situations, trends and important events while being governed by conflicting biases. To be a catalyst presence one must somehow find a way to the inner citadel of impartial perception that is immune to perception-warping influences.

The first task of an executive seeking to become a catalyst presence is to perceive the needs, impartially so. What is needed? Where are the process bottlenecks in the company? Where are the weak-points and fault-lines in the equation of crucial inter-project, inter-team and interdisciplinary collaboration? Who and what needs a catalyzing boost? What is the state of the spirit of creativity and innovation, both in the visionary and critically applied dimensions? Who is best at leading what today, this week? Who and what needs connecting with who and what? What is stuck that needs releasing and directing?

The second task is to inspire progress, using any available means at one’s disposal.

A catalytic executive feels the presence of a screaming need before it becomes a dying cause

5. A change agent

Being a change agent elevates the meaning of ‘impartiality’ to a whole new level. In being a catalyst presence, the C-Level person accelerates processes. In being a fearless change agent – most people seem to fear the unknown – they create space for the appearance of new futures, new ways and game-changing technologies, with matching transformation in the company’s strategy and structure.

Change can be sudden, volatile and with no advance warning. Handling a looming change calls for occupying an inner location that affords an impersonal rapid response capacity. Nokia and Kodak are amongst the writer’s favourite corporate world case studies. Both companies had all the needed brain-power to perceive the implication of change but those at the helm were immune to the concept of impartiality in its rapid-response context. Because impartiality does not mean clinical neutrality. On the contrary, impartiality is a crucial enabler of well-aligned, concerted rapid responses to new requirements.

A change agent is a proficient communicator of dog-whistle threats and new opportunities

With best wishes,
David Gommé

World Copyright 2020© David Gommé

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