with greg layton

The Inner Chief is for leaders, professionals and small business owners who want to accelerate their career and growth. Our guest chiefs and gurus share powerful stories and strategies so you can have more purpose, influence and impact in your career.

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“One trait amongst elite Chiefs is they just get back on the horse every day. No matter what's happened the day before, they just keep turning up and delivering.”

G’day Chiefs

In today’s minisode I am going to share with you something that perhaps we haven't spoken about as much on the show previously, and these are the 5 Mindsets of elite CEOs and Chiefs.

What’s important to know is that these 5 Mindsets are not necessarily demonstrated all of the time by our great leaders; we're not pretending as though they're flawless. One of the great things we have learned about CEOs and Chiefs over the years, is that they come in all colours of the rainbow and they are really such a diverse group of people.

Remember, our definition of a true chief is not necessarily that you are in a CEO role, it's actually that you have found your level, a role that is right for you and that is aligned to your values, and one that allows you to demonstrate your skill and achieve a level of mastery.

1. They get stuff done

First and foremost, elite leaders absolutely just strap in and get things done. Often, they take a risk in the doing of something, particularly something strategic. At the core of a lot of such chiefs is they take ownership of the challenge at hand.

If you're cruising or if you think back over the last 6 to 12 months or even several years, ask yourself if you’ve done anything of note. Did you launch a new project or initiative? Have you led a big change? Did you get singled out for something amazing you did?

A lot of you will be familiar with our GREAT Method. Chief, you have to build a track record. There is nothing more powerful for your reputation, for the pride in your work, than having a bulletproof track record. So get it done, Chief.

2. They own their calendar

This is a really common one because I've been asking CEOs now for several years what their advice is for someone who is saying that they don't have enough time to work on the business. And without fail, the message is consistently that it just comes down to one thing: you've got to own your own time – specifically, your calendar.

It is not good enough to say that you’re so busy with all the operational things that you can't work on the business. If you don't own your time, if you don't own your calendar, then who does? Who is in charge of your time if not you? This is so important. Take ownership of your time.

A great first step is to look ahead at the upcoming week and month and if you haven’t already, to set aside some time and meetings where you are going to work on the business. For some examples, head to our High Performance Teams post on Operating Rhythm. When you can do that and you get that ownership of time and the right operating rhythm in place for you and your team, then what we get is what we spoke about above, and that is getting strategic stuff done.

3. They get back on the horse

This has certainly been one that I've had to use a lot over the last few years, and that is ‘grit’. You've had a few knocks, you've had a really difficult period over a sustained time, but this is one trait that is standard within every great chief. They just get back on the horse no matter what's happened the day before. They just keep turning up time and time again and trusting that the process would work and that they would come out on the other side.

I’m not saying that it is easy, but you have to take the lessons, the wisdom and the scars and show some grit and determination that over time, things will work out and you'll be able to build that track record.

I've even got one little strategy about getting promoted to the executive team. Over the years, I've been working with executive teams and what I've seen is that every couple of years there is a rotation of people. Sometimes two or three people leave, a few people come in, or a new CEO turns up and changes the team. Executive teams rarely stay together for more than a couple of years. So, if you're on the edge of the leadership team, by showing some grit and resilience to just keep turning up and delivering again and again, you might just become the next in line and you get that promotion. Knowing what's in front of you right now will hold you in fantastic stead.

4. They are genuinely curious

There's got to be a level of lightness and enjoyment in your career; you don’t want to be pummelled into the ground and have no energy. What you want is a sense of curiosity. So, when you enter a room that might have a big problem at hand or a major project that's right on the edge of success, rather than add tension, it is far more effective to be curious about an individual's performance. Ask them genuinely how they came to that particular conclusion and why. Ask them what the potential risks are or what they can learn from their competitors. Or what can we all learn from that mistake we just made? It is far better to talk through it and work out what we as individuals have got to learn so that it doesn’t re-occur.

This is something I'm hearing more and more CEOs talk about, and also in coaching environments. They're all talking about curiosity, particularly as AI and big data come into play more. You need to be really on the ball with curiosity so that you stay ahead.

5. They don’t major in minor things

This is a quote that came from Tony Robbins. Great chiefs don't let minor things get in the way, they make the big issues feel like they’re easy to solve. By doing that, then it's a lot easier to execute more risky or difficult strategic projects as you're shrinking them down to more manageable things psychologically.


So, Chief, if you do these five things, you'll drive a strong track record and outcomes that you can be proud of.

Stay epic,