Growing Up Fast As An Executive

cio ciso coaching enrollment excellence executive improvement leadership Feb 04, 2022

Contributor Steve Hunt


The higher Jerry rose in the department, finally reaching Director of IT, the more strain he felt on his marriage, his relationship with his team, and his own health. In the halls he exhibited confidence, but inside he was doubtful, wondering how to get out from under the crushing weight of emails and meetings and status reports while preparing for the next executive presentation.

Working harder wasn't working. There seemed to be more at stake in every decision. He found himself micro-managing his team and going home too exhausted to play with his kids or be present for his wife. He worked-out less, frequently fought off a cold, and stopped returning his wife's calls at work.

Jerry knew he needed to work smarter and to become more "executive" fast. His marriage, his job, and his reputation depended on it -- and his company genuinely needed ever-better technological agility and defense against the latest cyber attacks.

It was time to step up his game and learn some new skills. The first step was to create more time. Each hour setting down his phone for a full minute and breathing deeply, he "created" ten new minutes of his own each day. Later he spent a few minutes each morning and evening doing two minutes of intense exercise followed by two minutes of quiet meditative breathing. Within a week he had created an hour of new quality time.

He selected three senior engineers on his team and trusted them with more project leadership, instructing them to come to him only after trying to tease out a solution themselves. Each afternoon, he called his wife just to say hello and hear about her day.

Within a few months, continually learning and adding more techniques for time management and leadership development, Jerry received an email from a board member who heard he was doing a great job, immediately sharing the good news with his wife.

The keys to running a technology department are very similar to those of growing a successful business, and living a purposeful life:

  • Live by core values of respect, humility, generosity and gentleness
  • Continually learn and measurably improve
  • Engage team members and recognize when they contribute or grow

Here's the thing. You can't always control the drama around you at work or at home, but you can control how you grow and improve skills and open your mind and heart to those around you.

Wishing you a purposeful life, every day.

Steve Hunt helps professionals like you to find the path to growth and improvement.