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The CEO Playbook: 3 Ways to Revolutionize Investing in Your Company and Yourself

The top most concern of today’s CEOs and business leaders is how to retain talent, especially now, as companies are still reeling from the past year’s Great Resignation. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, the resignation rate in the U.S. is now at a two-decade high with more than 11 million jobs unfilled. Managers are facing discontented employees who are leaving because they are feeling underappreciated and unfulfilled. 

A high turnover rate is inconvenient for companies and also expensive. It costs the average employer over 33 percent of an employee’s annual salary to process their departure. 

With the new year approaching, leaders must now address the “quiet quitting” epidemic (the idea that millions of people are not going above and beyond at work and just meeting their job description). Because most jobs today require some level of extra effort, collaboration and cooperation with coworkers and customers, this is presenting a problem for employers everywhere. 

According to a poll by Gallup, the drop in engagement began in the second half of 2021 and was concurrent with a rise in job resignations. Managers, among others, experienced the greatest drop. Currently, Gallup estimates that “quiet quitters” make up 50 percent of the U.S. workforce!

The “new CEO” is a capable leader who can constructively renew engagement between employers and employees by articulating and implementing a people-centered empathetic business philosophy. When COVID-19 disrupted the lives of nearly two-thirds of this nation’s workforce, employees expressed dissatisfaction with management. Most concluded that they were no longer interested in working for a leader without compassion. Innovative organizations recognize that at all levels, employees want to work for businesses that align with, uphold, and support their values.

In 2014, when I started moderating CEO round table sessions of 15 to 18 business leaders, I immediately saw the possibilities of advancing business coaching to a new level of compassion and forward thinking. Prior to creating the CEO playbook, I could not find an executive coaching session or program that benefited both individuals and their businesses. I developed the CEO Round Table Playbook Leadership Course to help teach executives and others on to lead. By utilizing my experience, tools, and exercises as an executive coach, I wanted to do my small part of a more significant movement in a human business strategy and an even larger part of taking the revolutionary investment of leaders to a new level.

Whether as a business coach or CEO who sees a need for fundamental change in their company, here are three “Cultural Directives,” or starter tips (and there are more) that you can start using today:

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1. Be your own authentic brand of a leader by establishing core values. 

If you’re not living your core values, how can you expect those who work for you to do the same? What do you and your business value, and how has that changed due to recent world and economic events? Establish core values for your company culture and include your employees in the conversation, so everyone works seamlessly in the same direction.

As the author of Give a Damn: The Ticket to Cultural Change, I find the core value of giving a damn, is an uncompromising compelling call to action. When we give a damn about our families, communities and employees, then our values come to life, especially in partnership with others who also give a damn.

True leaders live up to their words and values and know how to match them with appropriate actions.

2. Approach communication and employer/employee relationships whole-heartedly.

At this time in our nation, employees are being impacted by various sources of chaos, from the COVID-19 pandemic to increases in crime, violence, and natural disasters. All of these things have a noticeable or quiet effect on the personal lives of those around us. Most of us get by with tried-and-true ways we’ve learned, but others often carry the enormous burden of grief, anxiety, and physical illness without relief. This perfect storm proliferates through burnout and a lack of empathy for workers’ welfare. 

Although it is not your responsibility to solve everyone’s problems, spending a few minutes with your team regularly to ask employees how they’re doing can produce fantastic results. These small, almost effortless actions may provide you with valuable intelligence on what support they may need from management. When you see work stress and burnout ballooning, cut across its axis, and draw its fire. Remember, not everyone is vocal about their pressures. Ask your employees or your team questions. The more you know, the more effectively you can manage.

3. Instill your environment with a sense of purpose.

Change across any level of an enterprise requires commitment and monitoring results. Change is often difficult; however, leaders can positively impact a work culture. If you’re unsure where to begin injecting transparent purpose into your executive decisions, put together an informal listening session to listen to your employees or team members. First assess whether their values are still in line with your organization’s mission. After all, employees can promote your organization’s values and organically add to the work culture even if they have unique personalities and world views!

A leader can immediately improve his or her leadership style, ensuring authenticity, engaging in genuine communication, and being transparent about his or her values and business purpose. In the hands of a business or executive coach, the CEO Round Table Playbook helps executives and/or upper management reach their full potential in new, exciting, and effective ways. Some essential skills that leaders will learn include a more effective way to hire, how to reduce waste, increase productivity, and set goals in line with core values. While goals are great on their own, achievable goals must be specific, measurable, obtainable, realistic, and timely. 

To learn how the CEO Round Table Playbook Leadership Course can add to your executive coaching toolset, or if you’re a business owner who wants to join tomorrow’s compassionate leaders and learn from each other, please visit my website, or drop me a line at mlewis@marklewisllc.com. 

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