4 Tips for CEOs to Become Higher Impact Leaders

A CEO needs to spend 1/3 - 1/2 of their time in higher order thinking—essentially creating and guiding the future value of the company. That’s 30-50% of their time. This is the centerpiece of making their job “doing what no-one else can do.” 

When their time is dominated by current and past value, they are managing rather than leading—becoming the most expensive management salary on the premises. This means CEOs, Executive Directors and company owners need to think about how to budget and get the best possible ROI for their thinking time.

Peer-based advising fits here as one of their best options! It also means, when choosing consultants, they need to work with folks who understand the C-Suite because they have been there.

“CEOs need to think about how to get the best possible ROI for their thinking time.”

Let’s make an important distinction in this regard – a way to get more precise about the language:

  • Consultant – a trusted co-learner.  They are practiced in helping others figure it out—whatever it is. They are especially gifted in the domain of adaptive learning, this place of higher order thinking. Depending on what is discovered or needed, consultants can be excellent and reliable gateways to experts, vendors and resources.
  • Expert – a trusted source of up-to-date information. They are good at translating adaptive learning processes to technical actions.
  • Vendor – a trusted contractor who will do the work of technical action. Often, no vendor is needed because technical actions become the work of employees. Increasingly, however, a vendor (specialist) is better, as the work needed is temporary, extremely specialized, or both.
  • Resource – a trusted supply or supplier. At their essence, resources are recorded technical actions, so that they can be adopted or adapted by others.

If CEOs can…

  1. Distinguish between management and leadership time
  2. Budget and prioritize their calendars accordingly
  3. Understand the leadership time ROI benefit of participating in peer-based advising
  4. And recognize the difference between a consultant, an expert, a vendor and a resource

…then they will function more visibly and effectively as leaders and stewards of the companies they serve.


Mark L. Vincent (PhD, CCNL) is the Director of the Convene Consulting Network. He is also the CEO of Design Group International, an organizational development company providing wise guidance for enterprise, nonprofits, and ministry organizations. His passion is to love leaders as they claim their life vocation as stewards of enterprise.