Charles Pfeffer

Executive Coaching & Leadership Consulting

Insights by Charles Pfeffer

Coach Bill Campbell’s Leadership Principles

Eric Schmidt and two of his colleagues from Google have written a beautiful book about their coach, Bill Campbell entitled Trillion Dollar Coach. I highly recommend the book for its combination of stories, principles and practical tips for leaders. The bottom line message that I took away is that it is not only okay to love people at work, it is an essential quality of leadership to be willing and able to do so. Here are the 31 principles that the authors derived from their own experience of Bill and from interviews with dozens of people whose lives he touched. It’s… read more >

Vulnerability and Authenticity (3 in a series of 3)

One of my CEO clients wanted his team to adopt “vulnerability” as a leadership value. I thought then, and still think, this was a wise idea. Vulnerability, in the sense of candid self-disclosure, with admissions of uncertainty and interdependency,  is a dropping of defenses. This does not come easily to buttoned-down, high-ego, type-A executives. That’s why they have trouble making authentic connections. Afraid to appear weak, they show only a part of themselves; a masked version, a pretense. They may fool some of the people some of the time, but they send two contradictory messages: I have it all together… read more >

Connection through purpose (2 in a series of 3)

In my last post, I talked about how even a CEO can feel anxious and disconnected from people in her organization. I suggested some questions to get out from under your concern for how you look and feel by connecting to your purpose. Asking questions interrupts the monologue and opens the possibility for discovering an authentic basis for connection. Who is this person (or who are these people) for me?  What is important to them? What’s important to someone else provides our most direct access to a connection. Being truly curious and interested in what’s important to another person is… read more >

What stops you from being authentic? (1 in a series of 3)

Not every CEO is an extrovert who gains energy from being around and interacting with people. I have known several who feel awkward and uncomfortable making small talk at company gatherings or in small employee groups. What makes for an effective CEO is not always the charismatic square jawed 6 footer who seems to be able to talk to anyone. Sometimes it is the thoughtful technical introvert who through disciplined persistence has learned the many different parts of the business to rise to the top. It’s common to experience social anxiety when meeting new people and speaking before large groups – especially… read more >

Boundaries (6 in the series of 6)

In the last blog post in this series on Balance I want to talk about the magic word, “No.” Being CEO and thriving in the role means saying, “No.” The word establishes a boundary: “this, not that.” Strategy and culture are also about “this, not that.” Your values too. Your life purpose, is again, “this, not that.” Your calendar as well should be about “this, not that.” Boundaries are choices you make based on contexts you have created. They protect your energy for what is most purposeful, most important. They protect your relationships from inauthenticity, force, and manipulation.They protect your… read more >