by Tony Schwartz


In a fiercely complex and challenging world, C-suite and other senior leaders — and those coaching them — need to understand how their inner life is influencing their actions in the outside world. Instead, many corporate leaders focus on doing more than deep thinking, leaving what’s going on internally a vast unexplored territory that they haven’t valued much. That includes what they’re feeling, where they’re feeling triggered, and how early experiences in their lives influence the choices they’re making in the present. To develop on leadership skills like prioritization, decision-making, accountability, and more, the author describes how he’s coached leaders to think through more personal questions designed to better understand their motivations and impulses: Why are you the person and leader you are? Who are you capable of becoming? What’s standing in your way? This underlying premise is that you can’t transform a company without also transforming yourself.

Lucas B. is the CEO of a well-known multibillion dollar company whose survival was at risk at the height of the pandemic. Many analysts had written it off. Lucas had a strategy for returning the company to profitability, which his board supported, but he was struggling to implement it. In Lucas’s view, he was up against an array of external obstacles. When we began working together, he resisted the idea that his own leadership was a central part of the problem.

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