ADAPT: The Priority of any Great CEO - Merritt McKenzie

A great CEO must have an intentional strategy in place for the vision of the company’s future and how to get there. Of course unexpected events will come along the way, but a CEO must lead their company to adjust accordingly, so that the vision is not lost.

The purpose of strategy is to create a competitive advantage for the firm. The CEO has to be adept at removing initiatives that are not in alignment with or support that overall strategy. Further, some plans need to be removed — the tradeoff being that there is more focus on the most important initiatives. The CEO’s primary job is to look at the big picture of the organization, and continue to seek other opportunities and relationships that will add value to the company.

I’ve developed my leadership philosophy of ENGAGE — LEARN — ADAPT — LEAD over years of introspection, as well as life and career experiences. A blend of my personal opinion with research and spiritual devotion resources, these Pillars have been the guide and North Star in my leadership style.

Below I outline one of the pillars that I believe has been the most crucial during the pandemic and the challenging times we are continuing to face.

ADAPT: Drive business success by innovating in response to engagement and learning findings.

Accelerated Digital Transformation and Innovation — The pandemic has forced the need for digital transformation, especially within industries like healthcare. CEOs must embrace this innovation and drive it throughout the organization in order to meet the needs of their firm’s customers and employees. They must also plan for this potential added spenditure in order to achieve long-term success. Think of it as an investment for long-term gain!

Purpose-Driven Mission — Now more than ever, organizational stakeholders are holding companies accountable to contributing to society. This includes ESG (environmental, social, & governance) initiatives, as well as sustainability and clearly stated support and actions for company-wide causes. This is not only a must do, it’s the right thing to do. CEOs must intentionally be the driving force behind these initiatives AND make them part of the firm’s strategy, aligning with the company’s mission and core values. Encourage employees to contribute and be engaged in the process, and demonstrate how their specific role supports the mission.

Retooling Intellectual Property (IP) & Resources to Promote Organizational Reinvention — CEOs must ask: What else can we do with our current resources? They must lead their teams to identify, repurpose, and leverage their firm’s IP and key skill sets. Being in the mindset of creating new business functions or capabilities to drive revenue, decrease cost, or gain market share is what keeps companies alive through changing times.

I strongly encourage every CEO and leader to take the time to identify their own personal leadership philosophy and adjustment techniques. Practice it regularly so that you’re operating on instinct when you’re faced with challenging times!

Merritt McKenzie is a growth strategist in the healthcare field. With 25 years of experience, he strives to build high performing diverse teams in organizations. Merritt has proven to be successful sustaining high levels of employee morale and bringing teams together through common goals. As the Chief Operating Officer at Phoenix Physical Therapy, he works to create more effective and efficient operational strategies that both benefit the patients and the growth of the organization. A holistic leader, Merritt ensures high standards of patient care, business strategy and execution, team collaboration and organization growth.

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