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A Message from Our CEO 2020 – Forward Faster Part 1

This year my annual CEO letter introduced a four-part series focused on Forward Faster – a deep dive into the topics that will help you move Forward Faster. Here are real strategies that will help your people, your business, and your organization reach maximum potential – faster.

It’s time for Part 1 – What Do CEOs Want?

We know that Workplace is a C-Suite issue – yet there is much lost in translation between the big ideas communicated at the executive level and the boots-on-the-ground teams responsible for execution. In order to bridge the gap between big ideas and execution, we need to understand what CEOs are after.

What does success look like to a CEO?
Two factors contribute to CEO success and drive organizational success.

  1. The condition of the external business environment
  2. The performance of the people inside their organization

Creating a Workplace Experience for success to be possible must be both strategic and intentional. The condition of the external environment is a factor of timing or luck or both. The performance of the people is entirely within the control of the organization, and the workplace experience can enhance performance – or it can undermine it. So, CEOs need their terrific, talented, and committed people to be at their best and do their best work – every single day.

Listen to what CEOs say:
We work closely with CEOs around the world and this is what we hear them say internally.
“We must be prepared to win in any environment.”
“Inclusion is critical to our future, and we will not win without it.”
“To win, we need a growth mindset.”
“There are three things that are critical to our success in the future – Talent, Talent, and Talent.”
“We must invest in our employees.”

So, what do CEOs want?
They want to differentiate their organization in the market.
They want to produce in the most efficient and effective way possible.
They want to magnetize the very best talent.
They want to empower that talent to contribute to company success in a meaningful way.
They want to create an inclusive culture that resonates with all stakeholders.
They want everyone in the organization to understand, “What is the problem we are trying to solve?”
They want to leverage the investment they make in their Workplace to create an exceptional experience that enables and inspires exceptional performance. Otherwise, why invest in the Workplace at all?

Now that we know what they want, the challenge is ensuring that the delivery of the workplace experience aligns with the organization’s performance aspirations. Both the workplace strategy and the workplace solution should be explicitly connected to and measured against achieving the organization’s goals.

All too often, the Workplace is only measured against tactical schedule and budget metrics, as an operational expense, and not on its merits as a strategic tool. What other strategic business tool decision is measured only that way?

To close the gap between aspirations and execution, delivery processes need to be reshaped. They should be based on and measured against organizational impact first, then on time and cost. The workplace projects that have the highest organizational impact should have priority for investment.

Decisions should be made based on “best for all” versus individual entitlements and personal preferences. Those responsible for delivering should be measured on organizational impact and held responsible for allocating appropriate time and dollars to achieving that impact.

If the workplace experience doesn’t directly respond to what CEOs say is critical to success and directly support their goals for the organization, why invest in a workplace at all?

Our Workplaces should create a great experience – one that is supportive, helps us be at our best and do our best work so we can reach our full potential. People, Business, and Organizations depend on the Workplace to create a great experience, advance performance and accelerate transformation.

There’s no time to waste. We each have just this one life – a completely blended working living life.

So, let’s make the most of it and move Forward Faster.

Up next, Part 2 – What Do People Need?


Lauri Goodman Lampson
President + CEO

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