The CEO Program: Acquiring the Edge & Leading with Purpose

The CEO Program: Acquiring the Edge & Leading with Purpose

This proven, mini “executive MBA” program has been offered to hundreds of seasoned leaders across the country for well over a decade. It’s designed for those who seek to excel with confidence in the upper echelons of organizational responsibility. The testimonials from prior attendees (below) are all you need to read to appreciate the benefits of “going back to school” to contend with the increasingly unpredictable and daunting demands of a volatile, disruptive, complex business environment.

Real leaders challenge every facet of the organization: its business and management models, its practices and its workforce and, above all, themselves. They need to figure out how to transform the enterprise for a different kind of future – to determine the new capabilities needed to ensure sustainable competitive advantage and to identify and retain the high potentials who can foster a culture that fuels success. To do this, must challenge old ways of thinking and articulate new rules that drive performance.

The program answers the critical questions: Do you possess the emotional and mental qualities, interpersonal skills, street-smart insights, decision-making savvy and executive presence to lead? Can you handle the dynamic, fluid forces that will impact your business: changing stakeholder expectations, decaying business paradigms, archaic management practices, bad strategies, the unanticipated but formidable risks and “black swan” events largely beyond your control? Can you deal effectively with ethical dilemmas, manage those who are brighter than you, design a smart and healthy organization and decide when “the game” must be retooled? Leaders who can do these things are in demand and they know it.

Leading with purpose requires the ability to build one’s strategic intelligence, prick the bubble of ignorance, recognize career derailers, select the right talent, develop a cohesive executive team, respond courageously to high-impact surprises, devise strategies that both inform and inspire, build an adaptive culture of resilience and create a business model that competes for the future. Leadership today means dealing effectively with ethical dilemmas, knowing how to lead those who are brighter than you, designing a smart and healthy organization, and deciding when “the game” must be retooled.

A one-of-a-kind, provocative and highly interactive learning experience, the program is now available online. It consists of seven three-hour sessions over three weeks and includes two pre-course workbooks (one for each “semester”), a 100+ page manual of supplemental notes, 8 instructive cases to hone decision-making skills, numerous diagnostic instruments, shared executive experiences and performance coaching if desired.

The learning experience is realistic, reflective of the latest research and personally challenging. The depth, breadth and sharing of participant experiences is one of the primary benefits. A current, top-line outline of the topics to be addressed in 2022 follows below. The program has a limited enrollment and a history of selling out early – don’t miss your opportunity.


The program has one purpose  to make you a better leader and give you a more powerful lens to see your future at the top and to assess those who might succeed you and build on your legacy. It is not a philosophical discussion about what leadership is; it’s simply about how to lead others to greatness.


The best promotion is knowing what those who’ve attended this unique executive development program have to say about their experience. Here (with titles noted) is their first-hand account:

  • Unlike any other leadership program I’ve ever taken. The knowledge, insights and tips I gained over three days is far superior to the six months of executive coaching I’ve received. I was engaged 100% of the time – not many speakers can do that. This course has changed my life. – CEO
  • My biggest (and my favourite) take-aways were what I learned about myself. – CEO
  • You challenged my paradigms and gave me more food for thought on my road to becoming the best leader I can be. Thank you for sharing your lifetime of work and wisdom! – CFO
  • Forced me to reconsider what a leader is and should be. The volume of material is overwhelming. – Vice President
  • Made me ask “the why?” of leadership and gave me an environment to be vulnerable. Thank you for pushing me. – President
  • The brilliant personalized and practical views of Jim Murray, sprinkled with numerous real life examples, made it both measurable and convincing. – CFO
  • This was my second advanced program from you and I again walked away with this “Yes, I can” feeling. You helped me to dissolve the clouds of self-doubt. – COO
  • Solid, practical insights that opened my eyes to the skills I need to acquire – such as the need to rethink the values of my senior management team. – Director 
  • You forced me to re-evaluate my goals and aspirations. But you also gave me a guide and a starting point. 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
  • The moral compass exercise gave me a needed “smack on the side of the head” and helped me confirm it’s time to formalize my 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
  • 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
  • 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.  – 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
  • Your “agent provocateur” style is the right dosage for the hardwired brains of accountants. – CFO
  • You are a fantastic story teller – so many experiences we can learn from. – Executive 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
  • Enabled me to meet a new group of professionals from whom I can learn and network. – CEO
  • I’ve had my eyes opened to the realities and possibilities of the CEO position. 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
  • Your experience and directness has ignited a passion in me to utilize the tools and grow strategically. You’ve encouraged me to take more risks and reach. – Ass’t VP Finance
  • A remarkable and amazing four days! I really enjoyed it. – VP, Finance


The format for this advanced program is different from the in-class presentation.  Seven three-hour webinars are offered over three weeks: Part 1 consists of four successive days and Part 2 is offered over three successive days. Acknowledging the seniority of the executive audience, a break of one week in between these “semesters” is provided for consolidation and preparation. The program sponsor will grant five hours of mandatory PD hour credits in recognition of preparation time during the pre and in-between sessions (for exercises, cases and diagnostics contained in the workbooks). As well, participants will be asked to provide executive profiles to assist their networking and small-group discussions. Total CPE time granted is 26 hours. You are welcome to send enquiries about this program to the instructor.

The Opportunity and Realities of CEOdom
❏  The premise, objectives, caveats and roles
❏  The skills and stylistic nuances of leadership
❏  Lesson #1: Avoid the fatal flaws or get the axe
❏  How to survive & thrive in the zone of complexity
❏  Finding, defining & shaping your leader identity
❏  The difference between the good and the best
❏  The gritty truths & dis-eases of being the top dog

The Challenges of Leadership in the C-suite Today
❏  The elusive, fragile, essential imperative of leading
❏  Smarts that separate leaders from the pretenders
❏  Achieving clarity, focus & results: The CEO Mantra
❏  Organizational DNA: Manipulating the critical genes
❏  Rethinking strategy: Realities & faulty assumptions
❏  If you’re new: What to do from day one to day 100
❏  Diagnosing the health and savvy of your enterprise
❏  Assessing the key players on your executive team

The Elements of Extraordinary Leadership
❏  The CEO Entrance Exam: Questions you must answer
❏  Making good choices: Time, priority & energy audits
❏  Self-assessment: Do you have what it will take?
❏  Mapping your future advancement in broad strokes
❏  Setting your compass: The non-negotiable rules
❏  Getting the best advice & building reliable networks
❏  Executive presence: Brand building & self-promotion
❏  Power & politics in the C-suite: How to play the game
❏  Reconciling the five paradoxes of being a leader
❏  Sustaining the drive: Fueling productivity & willpower

Overcoming the Obstacles to Higher Performance
❏  Building a cohesive & focused executive team
❏  Inner circles, EAs or a CoS?: How to choose them
❏  Vision, purpose, values & rules: Misguided tools
❏  Operationalizing a paradigm shift in your culture
❏  Leading knowledge workers smarter than you are
❏  Developing a symbiotic relationship with the board
❏  What your board needs to know & do about risk

The CEO as the Chief Decision Maker
❏  The three decision domains that make or break you
❏  The CEO effect: Why good leaders deserve their pay
❏  The bubble of ignorance: What, why & how to escape
❏  How to avoid really bad decisions: The new tool box
❏  Overcoming the echo chamber: Changing the culture
❏  Finding the best experts: The traps you need to avoid
❏  The ultimate questions a smart leader must always ask
❏  Enriching decision making & knowing when you’re right
❏  Risk intelligence: Awareness, analysis, tolerance, framing
❏  Nurturing beneficial & credible two-way feedback

Building Resilience and Fostering Innovation
❏  Leading in a crisis: Dos, don’ts & prevention antidotes
❏  From the trenches: Jim’s crisis intervention playbook
❏  The lessons of COVID: What have leaders learned?
❏  What ultimately constrains extraordinary performance
❏  Forecasting high-impact surprises, unknowns & luck
❏  The elements & architecture of a smart enterprise
❏  Fostering workforce innovation: Problem & solutions
❏  Intelligent failure: A paradigm for symbiotic growth
❏  Execution: Required elements, constraints & skills
❏  Making innovation a competency rather than a slogan
❏  Business model transformation: Different approaches
❏  Strategies for growing your business in a VUCA world
❏  Partnerships, alliances & IPOs: Upsides & downsides

The Ultimate Responsibilities of Leadership
❏  Navigating ethical dilemmas: The tricky slippery slope
❏  Embracing the highest calling of exemplary leadership
❏  Developing the bench strength needed to survive
❏  Succession planning: How to find your next CEO
❏  Overcoming the challenges internal candidates face
❏  Acquiring the mindset: Destinations worth considering
❏  What you can’t be taught but must learn for yourself
❏  Dr. Jim’s Top 10 List: What Smart Leaders must know
❏  Leading with purpose: The six unavoidable questions
❏  Going forward: Achieving your destiny as a great CEO

* To ensure currency and inclusion of the latest research, the “final” curriculum is outlined in detail in the first Pre-course Workbook sent to the participants.