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The CEO Program

Acquiring the Edge and Leading with Purpose
This proven, one-of-a-kind program is designed for both current and aspiring leaders  as well as for those who simply want to excel with confidence and conviction in the upper echelons of executive responsibility. The curriculum is redesigned each year to ensure it reflects the realities of leading in a VUCA world (an environment of non-stop volatility, uncertainty, complexity and ambiguity).

Leaders today must know how to handle the fluid, uncertain forces  that impact their business. These include changing stakeholder expectations, newly emerging priorities, ever-daunting risks, counterintuitive imperatives and events that appear largely beyond their control. Most organizations are not built to innovate in a transformative era characterized by decaying business models, transient competitive advantages, bad strategies and an unquestioning reliance on archaic management methods. This new world order demands a different kind of leader – one who is mindful and focussed on initiating strategic conversations that question rather than reinforce the status quo.

The title of CEO is now a misnomer – leaders no longer execute, they decide and then let others execute. Smart leaders have a different and vastly more effective way of dealing with today’s vexing paradoxes and the exponential frequency of change. They know how to confront and unlock the immense, though often unforeseen, opportunities that arise from turbulent, incessant and increasingly unexplainable forces impacting their business. They understand that hesitation and inaction only enlarge and worsen their challenges. They realize yesterday’s solutions are not just insufficient, they are counter-productive. They “go to school” when others seek refuge in old-school counsel. They have the skills, insights and confidence to seize the white spaces of opportunity and growth. They are much in demand and they know it.

Acquiring the edge and leading with purpose requires, among other essential ingredients, the ability to develop and apply one’s strategic intelligence and foresight, to prick the bubble of ignorance and anticipate career derailers before they arrive, to select talent and build a strong, cohesive executive team, to relate well with key stakeholders, to deal with unexpected crises and high-impact surprises, to devise strategies that both inform and inspire, to foster a culture of resilience and to create smart business and management models that can compete for the future.

Beyond these skills, the responsibility of leadership demands that you deal effectively with ethical dilemmas  and avoid the ever-present allure of the slippery slope, know how to nurture and lead people who are brighter than you, design and build healthy organizations, decide when “the game” must be retooled, overcome self-doubts and find those enlightening, if not life-altering, answers to the quintessential questions that will determine your leadership identity and thus your destiny.

Do you possess the requisite emotional and mental competencies, interpersonal skills, street-smart insights,  decision-making competencies and the executive presence to lead? Regardless of your ultimate pedestal or station in business, do you know what it really takes? And, if you do, can you articulate your inner moral compass that enables you to do it with purpose when push comes to shove? If so, the opportunities abound – organizations replace their CEOs every four years on average and over 40% (the unprepared) flame out within their first 18 months.

This practical, intensive, provocative, highly interactive, advanced program is the creation of Dr. Jim Murray who has successfully led large and small organizations in both the public and private sectors. He has a remarkable track record of helping senior executives and over 600 organizations achieve their often underappreciated potential. His life’s quest over almost five decades of exemplary practice is to liberate genius and change lives.

Before you decide if this potentially life-defining learning experience is for you, take a moment to read the testimonials of prior participants that follow below. Then determine whether it can deliver what you may be seeking.

This program is offered but once a year and has a limited enrollment (and it sells out early) – don’t miss your opportunity.

WHAT RECENT ATTENDEES HAVE TO SAY

The best promotion we can think of is direct word-of-mouth testimonials from those who have already attended this executive development program. Here is what recent participants (with titles noted) had to say about their learning experience with Dr. Jim:

  • This was my second advanced program from you and I again walked away with this “Yes, I can” feeling, filled with opportunities and possibilities. You helped me to dissolve the clouds of self-doubt.   – COO
  • Provided solid, practical insights and opened my eyes to the skills I need to acquire – such as the need to rethink the values of my own senior management team. – Director of Business Development
  • You forced me to re-evaluate my goals and aspirations. But you also gave me a guide and a starting point. The program exceeded my expectations. – General Manager
  • Helped me understand what I need to work on to ensure I am a strong leader for the rest of my life. I brought up my “big issue” and the feedback was invaluable. – Acting CEO
  • I now have a grasp of what makes up leadership, where my strengths and weaknesses are and a comprehensive manual to better myself on those critical abilities. I feel more confident. – President
  • The moral compass exercise gave me a needed “smack on the side of the head.” It helped me confirm it’s time to formalize my lead role or move on. Sure made me think. Overall, great! – CFO
  • Gave me the tools I need for self-promotion, executive alignment, risk management and diagnosing organizational health to name just a few.   V.P., Finance
  • I was reminded to humble myself to think more about how people will repeat what I say or do. I am now more aware of what types of things can derail me. – Controller
  • Clarified my understanding of the role of CEO. I came wanting to know how to select my successor. I now know what to do. – CEO
  • Made me reflect about myself as a person and a leader. I’ve heard this before but never in a more meaningful manner. You held my interest for the full three days. – President
  • Your personal experiences as a leader were excellent. The group discussions were invaluable and gave me confidence in my own abilities, opinions and decisions. – CFO
  • Gave me a better idea as to whether and why I want to pursue CEOdom. – Director
  • The course lit a fire for me – let me see how I stack up against my peers. That has encouraged me. – CFO
  • The way you present the material makes me think. Thank you for inspiring me. – COO
  • Overwhelming!! The best insights I have received as to what I don’t know and how I need to change my way of thinking, doing and acting if I want to succeed. – District Manager
  • I came here looking for a ‘kick in the ass.’ Now I have the tools to give myself one. This “mini-MBA” has the street smarts that just can’t be taught in a regular school. – Partner
  • After a year as CEO, this experience has helped me refocus, prioritize matters that count and make a serious commitment to making changes. – CEO
  • Your “agent provocateur” style is the right dosage for the hardwired brains of accountants. – CFO
  • Opened my eyes to new ways to think about the organization and helped me see the road to the top and how to ask the right questions. – Global Controller
  • You are a fantastic story teller – so many experiences we can learn from. – Executive VP
  • This program will make a material difference in my life.  – VP
  • The interaction and debate was great. And it was a safe place to learn.  – CFO
  • The challenges you framed, your stories and the thought-provoking exchanges helped me confirm my commitment to becoming CEO.   – VP
  • It enabled me to meet a new group of professionals from whom I can learn and network.  – CEO
  • It reinforced my primary objective as CEO to leave the organization better than it was and in the hands of those with the capacity to take it further than I can.   – CEO
  • I’ve had my eyes opened to the realities and possibilities of the CEO position. I feel much more confident … you raised my awareness of what I now need to do.   – COO
  • Your eloquence, experience and insights showed me a living example of how to challenge the status quo as well as myself.   – Controller
  • Thank you for shining the light into the dark corners, and around some blind ones, on the role of the CEO. You helped me see the path forward more clearly.  – CFO

THE CURRICULUM

Through lectures, case studies, quizzes, shared executive experiences and personal guidance,  participants can be assured their specific challenges, issues and questions around organizational concerns and personal interests will be addressed. The program requires pre-course work involving self-assessment and diagnostic tools as well as case preparation and readings on topics to be covered in greater depth. Pre-course materials are received about a month prior to the program. In-class sessions run from 8:30 to 6:00 p.m. and evening activities include hospitality, R&R, networking and a few course-related tasks.

The learning format is practical, reflective of the latest research, and highly interactive. The depth and breadth of participant experiences – an executive audience – is one of the primary benefits of attending this program. The following is an outline of the (half-day) sessions and topics to be addressed in 2017. Additional subjects are covered in supplemental notes.

The Opportunities and Realities of CEOdom

  • Introductions, objectives, methods, premise, outcomes and caveats
  • Why not you? Lesson #1 – the reasons why CEOs get fired
  • Inviolable principles, fears and truths about leading others
  • The difference between “the good” and “the best” CEOs
  • What you need to know to define your unique leadership identity
  • Uncomfortable truths and other gritty realities of being the top dog
  • the landmines and erailers that will disqualify you as a leader

The Challenges of Leadership

  • Leadership in the C-suite: What it is and what it is not
  • The critical intelligences that separate leaders from pretenders
  • Achieving CEO and organizational clarity: The leader’s mantra
  • Leader or manager: Defining the CEO’s role and purpose
  • Understanding organizational DNA: The critical ‘genes’
  • Developing strategic intelligence, foresight and symbiosis
  • The CEO’s primary role in ensuring organizational success
  • Rethinking strategy: Current reality and fatal assumptions
  • Avoiding bad strategies and reordering the business agenda
  • Getting started: What to do (and how) in the first 100 days
  • Diagnosing the health and savvy of your organization

The Ingredients of Leadership

  • The CEO Entrance Exam: 30 questions you need to answer
  • Making the right choices: Time and energy audit
  • The critical determinants of your leadership potential
  • Realistic self-assessment: Do you have what it takes?
  • The CEO map: Leading others where you want to go
  • Setting your compass: The non-negotiable rules
  • Connecting: Building networks and getting advice
  • Power, politics and intelligent self-promotion
  • Reconciling the paradoxes of being the top dog
  • Self-motivation and willpower: Sustaining the drive
  • Achieving mindfulness: Dealing with the ego traps

Perfecting the Critical Skills

  • What makes a cohesive, effective and focused executive team
  • Identifying the people you want (and need) on your team
  • Designing the optimal span of control: Defining the key roles
  • Are “inner circles” advisable? How to make them work
  • Vision and values: Misunderstood and misused tools
  • Leading really bright people who are smarter than you
  • Keeping your high-impact performers happy and in check
  • Choosing a high-power inner circle and making it work
  • Developing a symbiotic relationships with your Board

The CEO as Chief Decision Maker

  • The three fatal flaws that confront every decision maker
  • The bubble of ignorance: Why it exists and how to escape
  • The key decision domains that will make or break you
  • Why bad decisions are inevitable and how to avoid them
  • The echo chamber and the CEO’s Achilles heel
  • Creating a powerful team decision-making culture
  • Tools that enhance decision making and accountability
  • Dealing with experts: The errors and traps to avoid
  • Making the really tough calls that define a good CEO
  • Building risk management intelligence and capability

Building Organizational Resilience

  • Dealing with crises and forecasting high-impact surprises
  • Building smart organizations: What every CEO must know
  • Fostering a culture of innovation by embracing intelligent failure
  • Business model transformation: drivers and avenues to success
  • Achieving competitive advantage through organic growth
  • Overcoming the sclerosis of growth: Is your business model capable?
  • What ultimately constrains organizational performance today
  • Why game changing is the new constant in unpredictable times.

The Ultimate Responsibilities of Leadership

  • Dealing with ethical dilemmas: Navigating the tricky slippery slope
  • Knowing and embracing the highest calling of leadership
  • Succession planning: How to find and evaluate the next CEO
  • Guidelines for acquiring the mindset and resolve of a great leader
  • What you can’t be taught but must learn for yourself
  • What “leading with purpose” actually means (to you)
  • The questions you must ask (and answer) before your time ends
  • Destinations worth reaching for aspiring and practicing CEOs
  • Going forward: How to become a truly great CEO

This program will next be offered June 26 – 29, 2017 at White Oaks Resort in Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ontario, under the auspices of the Chartered Professional Accountants of Ontario but is also open to the public.

To register, go directly to the CPAO website.

Contact Us

Are you ready to realize your full potential? Please feel free to contact us with any questions you may have.