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What makes a successful CEO: How to set yourself up for success



Expert | Leadership

By Loren Webb

By Elizabeth McIntyre, CEO of Think Brick

Becoming CEO is an enormous achievement but no one really explains that it is often a lonely role.  The responsibility of success or failure is often solely up to you to ensure, yet it is your team and stakeholders that are impacted by your decisions.

However, as CEO you’re in a unique position that grants you the freedom to imagine new ways of navigating the modern economy and driving success for the organisation.

As the CEO of three entities, I’m not perfect but when things don’t go as planned I do try to ask myself what was the lesson here? Mainly so I don’t repeat the mistakes. I won’t lie and say to you some lessons I have had to learn more than once. I’ve learnt it’s all about being open to change, embracing challenges as they come and finding the passion to persevere.

Here are a few ideas that I have learnt along the way:

Keep learning and find the gold in others

The rapidly changing nature of the business world is constantly reshaping the role of the CEO.

To deal with this complexity, continuous learning and professional development is essential in fortifying your knowledge and nurturing competitive skills. Get out of your comfort zone! Take the time to identify gaps in your skillset and equipping yourself with relevant knowledge is the only way to keep both your career and business moving forward.

My own learnings have taught me that not everyone is a genius, but finding that slice of genius in your team is the way to build a culture of innovation and change.

Be passionate about what you do

If you’re not passionate about what you do, it can be very hard to make others passionate. As the CEO of Australia’s brick industry body, I often tell people, “If I can’t be passionate about bricks how can I expect others to be?”. For my team, being passionate about their role and being the best they can be has been an important of building a successful career.

Passion is derived from a strong connection to your organisation’s mission and goals. Setting a clear vision for your company will guide your passion and allow you to align yourself with your company’s mission.

Lead with resilience

As someone involved in Surf Life Saving, I often remind myself and my team it’s not how many times you fall off the board, it’s how many times you get back on.

As a leader even when times are tough, showing up, being positive about the outcome, even when the lesson is difficult is a key quality to have. It motivates others to keep going and is an intrinsic quality for a leader to have.

Decisive Leaders that listen

At one point or another, you’ve most likely been put on the spot, forced to think fast and suddenly your mind goes completely blank. When in high-pressure situations, it is the CEO who must think on their feet.

Those who take the time to listen to various viewpoints are able to gain the depth of understanding needed to respond quickly and coherently under pressure.

The greatest leaders are not just good talkers. They are great listeners.


About Elizabeth McIntyre

Elizabeth McIntyre is the CEO of Think Brick Australia, Concrete Masonry Association of Australia and Australian Roofing Tile Association. She is an experienced leader with a proven track record of reenergising established brands and has worked across a diverse range of industries, including entertainment, television, automotive, sport and building materials. (www.thinkbrick.com.au)