Defining a CEO in today’s business climate

If you dive into what the world looked like 100 years ago, to what it is today, chances are you wouldn’t recognise a thing. The world has experienced rapid growth over the past 100 years thanks to the development and innovation of technology – in a seemly exponential rate. For example, back in 1917, the world gained its first billionaire – John D. Rockafeller. How many billionaires do we have now, in 2018? Around 1,810 billionaires. The general population is getting smarter, and more connected each and every year. World literacy has increased from 23% to 81.6%. The travel time between major cities went from weeks to hours – not to mention that you could also connect with someone across the world instantly online.

No doubt about it – a lot has changed. But what has this meant for the world of business, and more specifically those important decision makers at the head of a business? Our CEO’s are more diverse, socially conscious and forward-thinking than ever. We’re taking a look at some of the things that make a great CEO stand out in today’s business climate:

A CEO has a vision and a passion

There is a huge difference between someone that has a desire and someone that has passion. Many people often misunderstand the word – relating passion to the strong emotions you feel towards a goal. The truth is that passion is so much more than a fleeting emotion. Instead of considering passion as an intangible feeling, rather understand that passion is a verb. It is action. Passion is what you do – a conscious decision to pursue a goal or activity.

A great CEO doesn’t just desire to succeed, it becomes a part of everything they do, even if that means giving up enjoyable activities to focus on important ones. Why does passion matter? It highlights the things in your business that you are so focused on achieving that you are willing to suffer for it along the journey. It isn’t easy – which is why only a select few CEO truly get it right. For example, CEO of Relativ Media, Sijadu Mzozoyana states “I’m very passionate about uplifting people. I’m driven by a need to be a great example to kids that feel that their obstacles to success may be too great to conquer.” This passion permeates everything Sijadu does, and not just in the workplace. He is also investing a lot of his earnings into township programmes that help empowering and uplifting people.

A CEO has to have an in-depth understanding of their company culture

An aspect of being a great CEO that is largely overlooked is how they fit in with their own company culture. At the end of the day, the way a CEO interacts with the people that drive the business matters. A leader is only as good as the team that backs them up – and if there is a disconnection between these two elements a company cannot thrive.

As mentioned, a CEO has a passion and vision for their business, which can only be executed if their team walks the same path. Just as much as they should understand the structure, strategy and model of the company, so too should they connect with the people. Understanding people’s triggers, emotions and capabilities is a great way to work with them to develop productivity and drive. With their vision in mind, a leader can shape and define a company culture in a manner that is truly effective. This is why Sijadu makes the time to personally connect with his employees and remains accessible, present and engaged. “What I want is for us (the company) to all be aligned in our processes, understanding of roles and overall our culture – especially in the long-term.” Sijadu says that Relativ’s ethos of putting people first was a major drawcard for him. “I was very fortunate to get a taste of who the team is and I really connected with them. The environment is unbelievable and the people are highly skilled and extremely motivated.

A CEO predicts change and adapts to it

A great CEO is a driving force behind change. They understand that every market undergoes change, which is why the CEO is there to adapt to and successfully cope with change. In fact, the key to great business is in fact in the prediction of this change. While no CEO can see the future, it is certainly important to forecast the future and make proactive adaptations. Of course, these predictions should always derive from data in order to make informed decisions, but what’s worse than making the wrong decision is not making a decision at all.

Overall, these traits help to set CEO apart in an ever-changing environment. While your approach to may differ from the rest, the principle remains – a CEO consciously makes the effort to strive for the best in all aspects of the business. Learn more about CJ here.

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