Scroll Top
19th Ave New York, NY 95822, USA

Picture Perfect Leadership?

Picture Perfect Leadership, it’s more of a puzzle than a portrait

“What’s the ideal CEO?” 

Having spent a lot of my time working closely with Boards and CEOs, this is a question that I’m often asked. 

“It depends,” is my standard response, which always results in the question; “Depends on what?” 

Whilst my immediate response might seem like a cop-out, I think that all too often we have an unhelpful perception of what a perfect CEO, or leader for that matter, is like.  


Focus on leadership, not the leader 

When I think about what makes an ideal CEO, rather than answer this question, I think the real question which should be answered is ‘what type of leadership does the business need over the short, medium and long term?’ 

Considering this question forces us to think more broadly about the leadership needs of the organisation, and then rather than peg all the hope on a single individual, how those needs can be satisfied by a leadership team. 

So really what I am saying is there is no perfect CEO, but there can be an ideal leadership team for the context. 


Think puzzle, not portrait 

“So how do you design an ‘ideal’ leadership team?” is the next logical question to ask.  

Let’s imagine for a moment that the leadership needs of a business is like the picture on the front of a puzzle box. The pieces that make up the picture, can then be considered as the individuals that could be brought together to form a leadership team. 

Taking this approach means that you no longer believe that any single individual must display all the leadership capabilities needed by the organisation. Instead, you recognise that you can flex the roles, responsibilities and capabilities across a team to satisfy the overall needs.   

For example, many years ago when working with a business going through a period of major change, we identified that in addition to many classic roles that were needed within the leadership, the most critical were having a strong change leader and cultural champion. Against this need, we then formed a leadership team that satisfied what the business needed, ensuring that a strong emphasis was put on these capabilities.  


Evolve continuously and consciously  

Years ago, I was introduced to a book called ‘Always change a winning team’ by Peter Robertson. The entire premise of this book is that unlike the picture on the front of a puzzle which remains fixed for all time, the environment that leadership teams operate within is in a continual state of flux. A continuous and constant focus must therefore be applied to reviewing what the leadership needs of the business are. And from this, it is important to take time to review the combination of pieces that are needed to satisfy those evolving needs. That is, as the picture changes, so should the combination of pieces that create the new picture.  

So just remember, securing the leadership you need isn’t about trying to find all the characteristics needed in a single person. Instead, think puzzle not portrait so you build the ideal leadership team for what the business needs.  


If you are over relying on one person to drive the performance of your business. Or you don’t believe the leadership of your business is satisfying what’s needed, why not schedule a call with Rob to learn how The Purposeful Leader can help you gain clarity on what your business needs, and how you can seek to satisfy those needs. 

Contact to set up a free call.