The two most fundamental questions CEOs could ask

Before strategy, before innovation, before profitability, before talent management, before acquisitions, and before revenue growth there are two questions a CEO answers (mostly implicitly, unfortunately – my hope is that this piece encourages you to answer them explicitly).



These questions shape every choice a CEO makes. They determine what you want for yourself, and what you want for your business. A trajectory, of sorts. And once this trajectory has been established, your choices follow suit. 

A mildly-motivated CEO will produce a middling Strategy. A highly-motivated CEO will produce a remarkable Talent plan. A CEO of low motivation won’t care about Innovation and the journey to producing a stand-out product or service.

Most CEOs I work with initially are fairly flat regarding these choices until they become awake to the possibilities in front of them. Once this awakening takes place, the CEO role looks different: more compelling; more interesting; more alive; more enticing. 

And true, sustainable business performance follows shortly thereafter.

Observing CEOs undergo this transformation is a beautiful thing for me, personally – a privilege that never loses its luster and which deeply sustains my work and the energy I have for what I do. 

It’s a change in course that brings about a wide array of changes in their lives. More energy, most optimism, more curiosity, more purpose, more creativity. Even the quality of their marriage seems to benefit, as one example of many unforeseen upsides. Health, too. Financial well-being, obviously. More inspired parenting.

Being a CEO is an opportunity to turbo-charge an entire existence – this is the extent of the opportunity. 

Check your ambition. Explore what’s possible. A better way likely awaits you. 

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My weekly missive, CEO Sundays, is published at 5pm every Sunday evening. The writings cover CEO topics exclusively: how-to’s; thought starters; leadership insights; reflection opportunities; research.

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