Having a mentor is increasingly seen as an important asset to CEO development in the not for profit sector. Yet can Mentoring lead to better decisions and better results?
As a CEO you are making decisions all the time, but is your decision-making process being tested for it’s effectiveness?
As a mentor for CEOs, one of the significant ways I can support those in a leadership position is by testing their decision-making. We all have our own patterns of thinking and working so it is important to understand how we reach decisions and to consider the impact on business.
CEOs previously in operations management in the organisation tend towards a reactive and problem- solving approach. They may respond to external pressures without sufficient consideration of longer- term issues or miss exploring the potential of doing things differently. A more strategic and less ‘fixing things’ approach is vital for the organisation’s sustainability and this can be developed in a mentoring relationship. The safe environment established with a mentor allows you to consider options and approaches away from the glare of sorting things out immediately. It allows you to adapt your decision-making style to take a longer- term perspective.
For those CEOs from a policy background, at times there is a need to disengage from wider consideration of the issues. The risk is that your passion and extensive knowledge of the big picture and policy implications means can lead to assumptions on what is best for the organisation, without deeper testing.
I support CEOs in this situation to reflect and then narrow their focus to reach the best decision for their organisation. Working through these types of dilemmas with an experienced mentor who is outside the business, challenging assumptions, and playing ‘devil’s advocate’, leads to fresh thinking and greater awareness for the CEO.
So, whether your is more operational or more strategic, it can be a lonely place. It can be challenging to be expected to always have the answer, not to show uncertainty and at the same time reassure staff and the board.
A recent Harvard Business review survey of CEOs who have formal mentoring arrangements, showed that 71% said they were certain that company performance had improved as a result and 69% reported that they were making better decisions. My experience of working not only with CEOs but with Chairs concurs with these results. Looking at the implications and the potential impact of decisions with someone who is not in the situation, but has the experience of having been there and done it is a rich resource for CEOs. Anyone in a leadership position making decisions should consider the value they would get from this type of input.
The CEOs and Chairs I meet are dedicated, hard- working and committed, but too many still think they have to go it alone. Sometimes there is a reluctance for CEOs to invest in themselves, either seeing it as a sign of weakness, or prioritising funding for other staff groups. Yet being in the best place to make the best decisions on behalf your organisation is a key role for a CEO. And having an external resource can support that effective decision-making process.
Having a mentor or trusted advisor is one of the best decisions you can make. It will lead to many more. So why not source a mentor today?