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Who Do Leaders Turn to When…

Albert EinsteinI have yet to meet a leader who knows all the answers and responses needed to every challenge that comes her way.  That observation does not speak to the varying and fluctuating levels of confidence leaders have in their positions of responsibility, but it does indicate the existence of a Leader Resource System that is in place.

Years ago when I was head of marketing for an international accounting firm, I interviewed many CEOs in the Washington DC business region.  Half of these CEOs were already clients of the firm and half were prospects.  The accounting firm was rolling out a new campaign that would call our partners “trusted advisor.”  I set out to see how that new nomenclature would be received in the minds of CEOs.  What an interesting project!  I asked each CEO, “When you have a challenge that you can’t resolve, who do you turn to for high-level, trusted advice?”

My intent in this article is not to discuss the specific results of this interview program but there was one factoid that stood out for me.   Every single CEO had at least one established trusted advisor to turn to.  Not a single CEO hesitated at all to reply to my question.  Not a single CEO told me he/she had no trusted resource(s).

Another interesting piece of analysis from the interviews was the variety of resources the CEOs used.  Some relied on internal resources but most relied on external resources.

As you can see in the following simple line-up, leaders have access to a number of supportive resources to tap for any business or personal issue that requires expertise beyond the comfort level or knowledge base of the CEO.  Some of the most effective leaders take advantage of multiple resources on this list.

 

Leader-Resources-v02

 

Another tidbit of analysis from the interviews I conducted is that the Leadership Resource System was in place before the leader became a CEO.  Think of the implications.  Each CEO had been tapping their trusted resources throughout their careers.  Trusted advisors come before the high point in a leader’s career.  The resources will likely change over time, but effective executives have achieved a leadership position on the shoulders of many other wise supporters.

Find me a leader who has no trusted resources in his/her relationship camp and I’ll show you an ineffective leader.

Who do you turn to when…..?

 

 

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