TH Herbert is the CEO of Semarchya data software company that empowers organizations to leverage their data to create business value.
On the surface, being the leader of a company means being responsible for overall financial stability and growth. This superficial knowledge leads to a common misconception: the only way to measure a CEO’s success is to analyze the company’s financial data. While financial success plays a critical role in a company’s overall success, many assume that it is the only data CEOs consider during the decision-making process. It’s time to debunk that myth.
Truly successful executives—those who pride themselves on employee retention, workplace culture, and morale under financial success—place a high value on the growth and happiness of their employees. They understand that CEOs need to focus on improving the lives of their employees to keep their company alive. This is most clearly done by providing employment and fair compensation; but in this age of talent shortages, CEOs can go the extra mile and make sure they go beyond just signing a paycheck for their teams. I believe that creating a successful culture in the workplace means never taking the human connection for granted – and this applies to both customers and staff.
There are many considerations for executives in 2022, but here are the top five qualities I believe business leaders need to succeed.
Compassion should always be a common thread in life and decision-making. As humans, we have a special ability to consider the situations of others and show empathy during the highs and lows of life. In the business context, executives must show compassion for the people they work with.
My experience in sales has taught me a lot about the importance of compassion. There was a point in my career when I was chatting with a director of a large organization. He expressed concern about a huge problem his company was facing. Rather than just asking him questions based on financial data, I offered to talk to him about his thoughts and feelings on the matter. He told me I was the first man to come in and show empathy for his situation.
Many CEOs expect their employees to serve them. This is a retarded way of thinking. As CEO, my job is to serve and empower my team so that they are supported and able to execute. The same goes for our customers: if we don’t have compassion for our customers’ problems, we can’t expect them to look to us for solutions or connect to our products.
Transparency is key when dealing with both employees and customers. Executives must be able to support their products with a strong sense of honesty and ethics. Don’t sell your customers a false reality of what your company can offer them. If you are not transparent about your solutions, the relationship will be based on dishonesty and it is unlikely to last.
For example, at my company, Semarchy, we think of ourselves as resale value rather than software. We sell by communicating openly and directly with potential customers. We are happy to explain why our digital transformation technology could work well for them and what our core values are before making the sale. We make it a point not to overdo our sales pitch or sell to leads that aren’t a good fit.
Many companies think it plays a role in marketing and sales, but I’ve found that the opposite is true if you intend to build a long-term and mutually beneficial relationship.
“Be open-minded” may sound like a meaningless platitude, but it’s critical for executives to take the phrase to heart. Modern business leaders need to be committed to their company’s diversity and inclusion initiatives. And these efforts must go beyond the hiring process.
CEOs should not only encourage their recruiters to bring in a wide range of candidates, but it is also important to support new hires through open-minded policies. For example, give employees the opportunity to celebrate their individual religious beliefs and holidays. Ask yourself what it really means to be inclusive and if changes are needed. We have decided to make this policy change and our team is closer as a result.
Open-mindedness is often seen only in terms of different cultural or religious beliefs and backgrounds, but different perspectives – often prompted by different cultural experiences or beliefs – lead to new perspectives, ideas and ultimately more innovation. To really innovate, we have to be open to new perspectives and that starts with the CEO. If the CEO is not open to change, the workplace culture will feel that resistance, inhibiting the creativity and openness of the teams.
Data-driven organizations need analytical leaders. This means that leaders must consistently ask themselves questions and return to their data for the answers. When assessing a situation, analyze the potential consequences and risks of each outcome. As the CEO of a data software company, I always recommend leveraging strong metrics and data so you can continue to grow the business thoughtfully and with a data-backed strategy.
Every leader must be resilient. The ability to recover from the day-to-day challenges your business faces extends its lifespan.
More often than not, your role as a leader will force you to make tough decisions during the most stressful of times. That is why it is important to see these challenges as opportunities. Being resilient means putting the negatives into perspective and embracing the ability to move your business forward.
For me, a leader’s success is measured by these five fundamental qualities. Use these traits to set your priorities as a leader, and you’ll likely find yourself in the company of a dedicated team committed to the success of your business.