“Organisations grow and evolve, and in my view so should the leadership of that organisation,” asserts Roberta Lepre, a lawyer with over 20 years’ experience working in the public, private and non-profit sectors, and the Founder and Lead Consultant at Weave Consulting. “The leadership style and approach need to change according to the organisation’s evolving circumstances. A founder CEO might fall into the trap of insisting on their original vision and resisting the change needed for that organisation to evolve.”
Since change is at the core of Weave Consulting, which helps both large companies and SMEs to innovate through integrating environmental and social considerations into their business model, Roberta understands the benefits of leadership that grows in parallel with the company. “Today, there are more opportunities for professional development than ever before. Besides formal courses, there are business networks through which CEOs and senior leaders can learn from each other. However, it all depends on the individual – and whether they are open to new ideas and ready to change and adapt over time.”
Nevertheless, when the time is right for a change in leadership, communication is key, Roberta stresses. “It is important that the expectations of the company in terms of leadership are communicated clearly at the start of the relationship. Having clear and ongoing communication in place helps to ensure that, when the time for change comes, all stakeholders are on board and the new leader finds the support they need to function effectively.”
Succession planning is likewise critical. “The most sustainable approach is one through which leaders are nurtured from within – so a succession plan is important. The board of the company should develop and endorse a policy on succession planning, which would help it create a pipeline of potential leadership candidates ready to take on the role when the need arises. The current CEO could move to a less handson role, which would enable them to still contribute experience and expertise,” Roberta concludes.
For Vistage Managing Director Nathan Farrugia’s insights into succession planning and the question of whether CEOs should have an expiration date, click here
Photo by Inigo Taylor
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