Are You a Great CEO? What Do You Think?

I always look forward to the coming of spring. It’s a time of renewal and growth. And just as I choose the seeds I wish to plant in my garden, so do I choose the thoughts I wish to cultivate as a great CEO.

In my experience, most CEOs tell me they want to be a great CEO. Many criticize themselves for not being a great CEO or feel they could do much better. When I ask them what does being a great CEO look like, they can’t tell me. They haven’t thought about it.

Some are able to say:  I inspire people, I create the vision, I am an ambassador for the organization, I am a strategist, I am a coach, a continuous learner, an investor, a wealth builder, a servant, a business developer….

Rarely can they tell me what each of these mean or look like. For example, if I am truly fulfilling the role of “I inspire people,” what specifically could I be thinking, saying and doing during the moments of my day?  – when I get up in the morning, when I arrive at work, when I do my walk-arounds, when I eat my meals, when I exercise, before, during and after a phone call, a 1-1 meeting, a company-wide meeting, when we get bad news, when we get good news, when we review financial information, when I write an email , set my calendar, at the end my day ….

If we can’t tell the story of what being a great CEO looks like, then being a great CEO is unattainable.  It’s hard to get there when I don’t know where “there” is.

To say ‘I want to be a great CEO’, ‘I will be a great CEO’ or ‘I strive to be a better CEO’ does not make me a great CEO. Being a great CEO doesn’t suddenly happen. It’s a series of NOW moments of cultivating, practicing, and being a great CEO. It is when I have achieved a critical mass of these NOW moments of being a great CEO, that I am a great CEO.

To start building that critical mass of NOW moments of being a great CEO, re-invoke the state of wonder and wonder what being a great CEO looks like. If you are living and being a great CEO, what could you say, what could you do, how could you be throughout the moments of your day? Write it down. Say it out loud, first thing in the morning, last thing at night when you’re in your highest states of consciousness, and any time throughout the day when you feel yourself challenged, when you feel yourself thinking that you’re not being a great CEO.

What we focus on expands so prepare powerful questions focused on what you can do in the present NOW moment that fulfills your vision of a great CEO. For example: What can I say in this moment that inspires the team? How can I use this situation as a coaching moment? How can I be of highest and best use in this moment? How can we make a difference for our customer in this moment?

Stuff happens all day long. Each moment is an opportunity to decide who I am and who I wish to become in relation to what happens.

What are you cultivating in this moment? Are you a great CEO?


Mary J. Lore is an internationally recognized thought leader, executive mentor, public speaker and award-winning author.  Her company Managing Thought, LLC, helps individuals and organizations develop self-awareness and change how they think and conduct business to attain long-lasting success. She is the author of the multiple award-winning book  Managing Thought: Think Differently. Think Powerfully. Achieve New Levels of Success and audio book Managing Thought: How Do Your Thoughts Rule Your World? and stars in the Live Workshop DVD. If you’d like to help Mary teach millions of people how to change their thoughts and their lives, go to www.managingthought.com/PBSPledgeSpecial . Mary serves as an expert resource for Vistage, served as a Chair from 2002 – 2010, and was a member during the 1990s when she served as a CPA, business turnaround expert, and entrepreneur.

Category: Leadership

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Avatar About the Author: Mary Lore

Mary J. Lore, the founder and CEO of Managing Thought LLC, is an internationally recognized thought leader, public speaker, and executive mentor. Her background in business start ups, business turnarounds and entrepreneurship gives Mary the …

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