The Making of a Successful CEO—What Newly Released Research Reveals about Senior Living CEOs

There isn’t a magic formula for being a successful CEO.

But that doesn’t mean there aren’t factors that stack the odds in your favor.

After all, there’s a reason you reached the top C-suite position in your senior living organization…whether it was your ability to successfully communicate or your skill in crunching numbers.

Thanks to new research published in the Harvard Business Review, you now have a clearer picture of how to improve your leadership.

In this article, we’re looking at what this data reveals about the successful CEO. Most importantly, we’re shining a spotlight on what this means for your own leadership.

The Successful CEO—A New Study

In October 2017, the Harvard Business Review published an article written by four authors announcing the results of their new research on CEOs under the title:

A Survey of How 1,000 CEOs Spend Their Day Reveals What Makes Leaders Successful.

If the title sounds appealing, the article won’t disappoint. As the headline suggests, the authors write that they analyzed over 1,000 CEOs from six different countries and various industries.According to the article, the research evaluated the activities these CEOs engaged in…and the financial performance of the companies in question.The bottom line?

Here’s what the authors had to say:

[O]ur evidence suggests that hands-on managerial CEOs are, on average, less effective than leaders who stay more high-level.  

If you’re wondering what makes a CEO managerial, the authors specify activities such as…

  • Plant visits.
  • Interactions with supply-chain management employees.
  • Meetings with clients.
  • Meetings with suppliers.

The article goes on to state that the successful CEO, a high-level leader, spends time planning, interacting with the C-suite, virtually communicating, and more.

However, the authors are careful to explain that their findings don’t create a “one-size-fits-all approach.”

Rather, they explain that the data found high-level CEOs were in larger organizations and more complex industries…but managerial CEOs were in “smaller and, to some extent, simpler organizations.”

The authors hypothesized—and found supporting data—for the importance of a “CEO-firm fit.”

What This Study Means for You

You may not have industrial plants to visit or the opportunity to extensively interact with your clients (residents). However, it’s critical that you translate the findings of this study to your own role in the senior living niche.

To begin with, analyze the type of senior living organization you lead. Then ask yourself, “How can I adapt my skills to more effectively lead my operation?”

This is a key question…

Some of you need to strengthen your managerial approach—incorporating more site visits into your calendar…while some of you need to shift into a high-level gear to accomplish massive change.

To help strengthen your skills as a successful CEO, ask yourself the following questions. We’ve listed our questions in pairs (by organization type) so you can evaluate your unique situation…

  • If my organization is large, can I trust my senior leaders and VPs to execute my strategies, or do I spend too much time visiting individual properties to correct occupancy issues?
  • If my organization is small, do I use my on-site visits to work on my business and inspire my EDs…or do I use my time to work in my business, analyzing the details of my EDs’ day-to-day tasks
  • If my organization operates a number of properties, do I allocate enough time each week for planning, or does planning fall lower on my to-do list?
  • If my organization is smaller, am I careful to plan and receive input from my site teams, or do I take an autonomous approach?
  • If I lead a larger operation, do I stay focused on the bigger picture, or do I have a difficult time strategizing and executing high-level initiatives?
  • If I lead a small- to mid-sized organization, do I help my teams understand how to execute bigger-picture goals, or do I assume they automatically understand my high-level initiatives?
  • If my organization is large, do I spend enough time in C-suite communication, or do I spend more time interacting with regional teams than my C-suite?
  • If my organization is small, do I have open lines of communication with my regional and site teams, or do I mainly interact with my executive decision makers?

Now is the time to carefully evaluate your day.

Don’t just assume you’re focusing on the right activities—and don’t use last month’s schedule to make a judgment call.

Review emails, pull out calendars, and analyze productivity benchmarks. To increase your chances of being a successful CEO, you’ll want to reflect on a typical day for 2017 and critically evaluate how you’ve used your time.

Making Changes in the Upcoming Year

As you look forward to 2018, maybe it’s time for a change.

Perhaps you realize that—in 2017—you spent more time running your business than growing your business. You know that, to be a successful CEO, it’s time to stop being managerial and start being a dynamic leader.

Or maybe you see that you need more involvement with your regional teams and individual properties to fuel your operation’s occupancy increase.

If you need to refocus on key goals, but you simply don’t know where to start, we’re here to help.

Let Bild & Company become your strategic partner.

We’ll adapt our expertise to your needs, empowering you to stay focused on your broadest strategies or your most detailed occupancy goals. We’re here to translate your initiatives into specific tactics…and oversee their execution so you can give your attention to what’s important.

Discover how we’ll help your organization drive revenue when you reach out to our CEO, Traci Bild.

To talk with Traci, you can call 1-800-640-0688 and ask for Liz Simpson, or contact us online.

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