Ecdysis – transition from CEO to leadership consultant

This is the first in a series in which I tell the story of my changeover from CEO to supporter.

Once I had made public my decision to step down from the post of CEO of Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust after 33 years I was given lots of advice. ‘Keep a record of your transition’ was one of the most perceptive. This is the first of a series on my transition from CEO to consultant.

Changing over from a long serving CEO to becoming a freelance consultant is a huge step. It means unpacking a bundle of issues. The biggest of these is to work out how to make my career’s worth of experience relevant to a future that is a very different country.

The CEO is the top banana in the organisation. The role combines accountability for getting things done in the right way whilst being responsible for leading and inspiring the team that does the work. Being a good leader is the big difference between a top CEO and an efficient manager.

John Adair came up with a clever three part recipe for what leadership means:

I prefer my own simpler words – a ‘Doing’ version of Adair’s three elements of leadership:
Knowing – the technical, policy and procedural background; talking sense and getting things right
Being – a skilled figurehead of high integrity, clear public image and trustworthiness
Doing – carrying out roles and responsibilities on a day to day basis

These are all good and worthy attributes, but to do the CEO job well means such commitment that it becomes a life style. I found that I was never truly ‘off duty’ (talking about work at weekends and on days off was one of my bad habits).

My new role means that I will be supporting leaders and their organisations – not leading them. Learning to go off duty is my first task so over the next few months I am going to do three things:
Refresh – my knowledge, the way that I look at life and my experience of nature:
Redevelop – my skills and ‘tool-kit’ as a mentor, coach, supporter and communicator
Reposition – my energies from that of focussing on one Wildlife Trust to supporting the leaders of a range of organisations to help them do better for nature.

I will keep you posted on my progress.

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Posted on February 4th 2013 under Leading For Nature, News & Press. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

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