“Symphony…is the ability to put together the pieces. It is the capacity to synthesize rather than to analyze; to see relationships between seemingly unrelated fields; to detect broad patterns rather than to deliver specific answers; and to invent something new by combining elements nobody else thought to pair.”
— Dan Pink in A Whole New Mind
Vistage CEO Rafael Pastor spoke this morning at a breakfast organized by TexasCEO magazine. He covered a range of topics near and dear to my heart (e.g., “what makes America great? its restlessness”), then reviewed the results of the most recent Vistage member survey, a reliable leading indicator of GDP and hiring trends (good news: CEO confidence is heading back toward the 2004 level).
Finally, he shared four traits of a good leader that combine to produce character:
- Confidence – uplifting and inspiring all constituencies to higher performance
- Curiosity – looking around and asking questions to learn new ways of thinking
- Courage – having determination to risk and innovate
- Collaboration – creating and learning from external relationships
How does an organization exhibit these traits? Consider TexasCEO as an example:
- Confidence – Driving the creation of the magazine was a desire to distribute information that helps CEOs grow their enterprises. TexasCEO founders were confident they could draw contributing authors from multiple industries to deliver value through lessons that cross domains.
- Curiosity – By continually meeting with CEOs and advisors from multiple industries to understand their expertise, publisher Pat Niekamp and staff provide a continual stream of challenging articles on business development, people matters, marketing, sales, leadership, finance, governance, professional development, and other topics that CEOs must track.
- Courage – Does it take courage in a down economy to start a combined print and online magazine? Of course, but that courage was based on a clear analysis: no statewide business publication existed in a business-friendly state.
- Collaboration – TexasCEO continues to build relationships with groups and individuals that share their passion for helping CEOs achieve their dreams. Like Vistage, they appreciate the power of collaboration to broaden our vision. Rafael Pastor said it best when he quoted Marshall Goldsmith: “What got you here won’t get you there.” Often we can learn what works from our peers.
Joel Trammell recently told me about becoming a CEO. “Many people think that the CEO job is just the next progression after being a senior executive in a business… the CEO job is actually a unique role that doesn’t really have much in common with the other executive roles in a business.” He then related how he quickly learned to reach out to other business leaders when he became a CEO.
Vistage and TexasCEO were founded on the common goal of sharing CEO knowledge and expertise to improve business performance. With that common focus, maybe a new partnership was born this morning.