The new CEO has been appointed, brought in to turn around the ailing company. The Board are keen for results. Key Performance Indicators are set and the lure of a bonus thrown out.

Share prices have been in decline. The primary task is to arrest that trend, balance the budget and begin to make in-roads on the deficit. The stage is set for the Hero CEO. His ego is primed.

With an economic landscape changing before our very eyes, more and more Boards will be seeking the quick fix. Out with the old and in with the new. New strategy, new leader. The hero appointment is attractive. It has paid dividends (at least in the short-term), but at what expense?

When an organisation’s performance is poor, many leaders default to what they believe will yield quick, turn around results. They become punitive, seeking to control people through manipulation or coercion.
The Hero CEO approach rarely, if ever results in lasting positive change. Lasting change and more profound positive impact is achieved through the establishment and embedding of trust.

Compared with people at low-trust companies, people at high-trust companies report: 74% less stress, 106% more energy at work, 50% higher productivity, 13% fewer sick days, 76% more engagement, 29% more satisfaction with their lives, and 40% less burnout (Zak, P).

The road to long-term success is often the narrow, more windy road, that takes time to navigate, but the rewards far out way the patience needed to get there.

There is a stark difference between the Hero CEO and the Servant Leader CEO. Once a person realises that trust is far more valuable than any bonus, the road is chosen and the transformation begins. But it is never an immediate transformation. It takes time, vulnerability and a willingness to let go of long held beliefs as the leader chooses to forego himself.

Take the first step. Hand back back the offer of a bonus. Never forsake what is right by putting your own selfish ambition above the needs of those you seek to serve. A quick turnaround will never pay long term dividends.