Experiences Every CEO Needs

Bold experiences lead to better leadership. Leaders often get stuck in their leadership. Howard Thurman gave the great advice, “Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who are alive.” Leaders need to be alive. They need to be thriving with a heart whose blood is pumping at a high level. Great leaders learn the secret of how to get unstuck and how to become alive. To get unstuck leader must continually develop the habit of growing in 8 “Great” Experiences.

1. A DREAM Experience: Every leader starts with a dream or vision. This vision is of a better future or product. However, after a period the vision often grows dim. Many leaders need to learn how to dream again. They need to learn how to develop and nurture a new series of visions. These vision experiences will help leaders to develop a crystal clear vision of the future.

2. A LISTENING Experience: The biggest knock on most leaders is that they do not listen. Great leaders are listening leaders. Glenn Llopis states in his excellent Forbes article about this topic these wise words, “Leaders who listen are able to create trustworthy relationships that are transparent and breed loyalty.” You can read the entire article here. Every leader can improve their leadership by becoming a better listening. Leaders must first listen first to themselves.

Coaching Question: Have you ever had a silent retreat where you spent a day listening to yourself and learn to master the art of listening?

3. A GROWTH Experience: Personal growth is essential to every leader’s success. My friend and mentor John Maxwell has taught this principle in his book the 21 Irrefutable laws of leadership. (One of the five leadership books that I encourage every leader to read. Email me a personal message for me to share with you the other four books that should be in your library.) One key law is called the Law of the Lid. John states that “Your leadership ability always determines your effectiveness and your potential impact on your organization.”

These growth experiences should be intentional and challenge the leader to improve their thinking and their skills. Here is a key truth, when the leader improves, the organization improves.

4. A SERVICE Experience: A wise teacher once wrote that “You know that the rulers in this world lord it over their people, and officials flaunt their authority over those under them. But among you it will be different. Whoever wants to be a leader among you must be your servant.” The best leaders are servant leaders. However, many leaders that rise to the top of the organization can often forget about the power of service. Every leader needs to find opportunities to serve others and when they do they will often find the heart of their leadership.

In my next article, I will discuss the next four leadership experiences that every leader must develop and cultivate.


Ken Gosnell serves leader by helping them to have great experiences that both transform them and their organizations. He has worked with hundreds of CEOS and their leadership teams to enhance their strategic, operational and people accomplishments. He is an experileader, author, coach, and strategic partner with CEOs. He is married to Shonda, and they have four children. You can connect with him at: https://www.linkedin.com/in/kengosnell/.

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