Most of todays CEO’s don’t realize how influential they are.
This opens a very interesting gap, as at the same time, most people would think that being influential is exactly what a CEO is all about.
On certain levels they are right. Chief Executives are shaping the corporate agenda, representing the company in the wider context, and making the crucial decisions that will allocate resources to the strategic goals in the big picture.
But theres is a different type of influence playing within the corporate organism all along, and this one is coming to the surface for example when a new CEO joins the company. It is a very subtle and profound type of influence. I call it the evolutionary influence.
The day a new CEO enters the company, the whole organism is in expectation, excited and aware. Then you can observe, that every word spoken or not spoken by him or her, every glimpse, every message is received attentively and multiplied immediately to every corner of the system.
Evolutionary influence is a type of influence that is as well genuine to any hierarchical system: the one on the top having the most influence and that comes together with a responsibility for the whole.
I have seen first hand a new CEO leave the company after the promising start of a whole-system corporate transformation. He seemed to not have been able to fully see and perceive the impact he already had on the organism and the people in his care, and that he was indeed influencing the direction of a silent but steady river.
I also witnessed the very painful and abrupt decision of a successful and visionary Chief Executive to leave this world by his own hands. The powerful flood of all the messages immediately and several weeks after his death were speaking about the tremendous influence he has had on the lives of the people who worked with him. He had touched their souls in a way he certainly not have had realized while he was still alive.
Realizing and understanding the full extend of my influence alters my behavior and has the potential to strengthen a sense of being connected to the whole, which lies at the bottom of leading a meaning- and successful corporate transformation.