So you want to be a Chief Executive? An inside view…

16 March 2017

In February, I became Group Chief Executive of Rooftop, a fantastic organisation whose success is built around a relatively small and tight knit team, deeply committed to the communities where we work. It’s a huge honour, a massive responsibility, incredibly demanding…and a lot of fun.

Being a CEO for the first time is an exciting and daunting experience. The best way I can describe it is ‘everything feels familiar but everything has changed’...more on that another day perhaps. What I really want to talk about is the journey I took here, and why I am so passionate about developing leadership to bring through a new stream of young leaders in to housing. Even though I am now the wrong side of my mid 40s, my own success is in large part due to those who supported, encouraged and pushed me to achieve my potential. For that I owe many people a huge debt of thanks.

The Young Leaders programme is a brilliant way to kick start that journey. Networking, learning, challenging yourself to think differently, jumping out of your comfort zone, and starting to think, talk and act like a leader are all part of accelerating your own development in a very real and practical way. And that’s why two of our own brightest young stars from Rooftop will be attending the Young Leader’s Experience in the autumn.  

But on their own, these steps are not enough. The most important ingredients are far closer to home, within you and those around you. In my experience, a relentlessly positive mindset, an utter commitment to making things happen and a belief that you can and will succeed are key elements to any successful career. Learning from your manager and peers is also invaluable. My advice is to hoover up as much experience as you can from those around you and test and then deploy what works. Push yourself and others around you to be better and achieve more than they might have imagined they could. Share, be open and collaborate wherever you can. Above all – and we all fail sometimes – always try to do the right thing and be as authentic as possible. People will judge you on how you make them feel, as much as what you do and say. Treasure and build trust; without it you can’t get far.

These are some of the things I learnt and that worked for me. They will be different for everyone. In my view, development should never stop; It’s early days for me and I have still so much to understand, learn and improve. Good luck in the next stage of the journey - wherever you are and wherever you are going! 

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