The role of the CEO is changing

by Evan Davies, Chief Executive - QLD, VIC, NZ | |   Personal Success
The role of the CEO is changing

The business world is changing. Employees are changing. Consumers are changing. Business models are becoming obsolete.

Unsurprisingly, the role of the CEO is changing too. It wasn't so long ago that the CEO was an autocrat. They would say what needed to be done and how it was going to be done, and then monitor the progress.

CEOs these days are under more pressure to reduce costs and deliver growth. The rapid change in technology makes it even more challenging for CEOs. Sustainability is more prevalent than ever before.

In a recent CEO Institute Syndicate meeting, the discussion centred around the members' first-hand experience of the changing scope of the CEO role. They identified three key perspectives a CEO needs to adopt to continue to meet the demands of the future:


  1. Focus on people before strategy

    Great CEOs know they depend on their company's human resources to achieve success.  Businesses don’t create value; people do. Investing in and focusing on the people of the organisation will in turn help the business.

    The CEO is the most visible leader in a company. His or her direct engagement in all facets of the company's culture can make an enormous difference, not just in how people feel about the company, but in how they perform.

    The CEO role is about empowering people. Unless you empower people at the next level, to also empower their teams to collaborate and formulate best practices, it's impossible to be successful.

    CEOs need to also create holistic work environment, that includes salary, benefits, and a collegial atmosphere where people want to come to work.  Employers who offer this are more likely to have stable and loyal staff.
  2. Seek out experts

    Top CEOs are knowledge seekers, even when they think they know it all. The best CEOs make learning an active part of their day, seeking out experts, encouraging the same of their team and building this into their culture. This commitment helps companies stay agile and improve as they scale.

    They need to encourage total collaboration, internally and externally. Internal collaboration results in a team of highly engaged employees, and innovation, as it respects those with more knowledge or skill in a certain area. External collaboration should happen at all levels, and is especially important at the CEO level.

  3. Stay informed

    The sustainable growth of a company is the CEO's responsibility and legacy, and inward focus is the enemy of growth.

    Great CEOs understand the big picture and the external environment. They understand the business climate, market conditions, the competitive landscape, the regulatory environment, and strategic risks. They do not stand by waiting, but take action to confront the brutal facts.

The CEO Institute was founded in 1992. It is now Australia's leading membership organisation for CEOs and senior executives. It provides a forum for over 1,000 Chief Executive members to connect and share their learning with each other. In 2011, The CEO Institute became the world’s first global certification body for CEOs, and in 2013, partnered with UNESCO in support of the "Malala Fund for Girls' Right to Education". In 2014, they began offering their programs globally. The CEO Syndicate is an exclusive peer support network for CEOs. The first meeting of The CEO Syndicate program was held in Melbourne in June 1992. Offices were opened in Adelaide in 1996 and Sydney and Brisbane in 1997, with Perth launching in 2007. In 2015, the New Zealand office opened.

The Future CEO program is a certification course designed by the business leaders of today for the business leaders of tomorrow. The first Future CEO meeting was held in Melbourne in May 2012. In 2014, the "Future CEO Scholarship Fund for Women" was established, and continues to be offered today.

Membership of The CEO Institute is by invitation only. To register your interest, click enquire.

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