unlimited leader - CHRO to CEO

In today’s episode of the HR Chat Series #otherfrontline, we were joined by a very good friend, Cheryl Czach, founder and CEO of Cheryl Czach Coaching and Consulting. The topic? CHROs make some of the best CEOs. In a UofM study, “which concentrated on 14 aspects of leadership, grouped into three categories: leadership style, thinking style, and emotional competency.  Except for the COO (whose role and responsibilities often overlap with the CEO’s), it was CHROs who had the most overlap with CEOs.” (HCAMAG Mar 2015). On top of this, she offered several other examples as well as her own story to prove HR leaders have what it takes to reach the top of the organization. As long as they’re willing to dream big for it and find creative ways to learn about the business.

Dive into Cheryl’s perspective on how to go from HR to CEO:

  • Be willing to learn: Find ways to step outside of HR and explore the business. Take on business projects, get formal training on topics you’re not familiar with (accounting, finance, project management).
  • Keep it simple: One of the best ways Cheryl learned the business was writing articles for the company’s customer newsletter. She interviewed employees across various functions and roles and shadowed them for a few days to see it all in action. By writing what she saw and heard, she learned so much about the business in a very short time. She used that information to ready herself for roles that took on some of those functions and prove her ability to effectively lead them.
  • Be daring: Find someone who’s willing to push you outside of your comfort zone. Someone who can help you realize the negative self talk in your head is simply your inability to see your own greatness. One of Cheryl’s pivotal moments was working with her first professional coach. She was in her early 30s and her first “real” leadership position. Without that accountability and support to step outside of herself, she never would have gone after roles that put her in charge of functions she never actually worked.
  • Solidify your role as a leader: Once Cheryl reached president, she focused on her role as a leader: facilitator and talent developer vs. doer. She centered her energy and strengths around leading her teams to find the answers for themselves and grow in their individual roles vs. being the expert in every single function.
  • Advocate for psychological safety: Enable a company culture that embraces failure without repercussions and be transparent with business decisions, even if you don’t have all the answers.
  • Dream big: “Believe in yourself and all that you are. Know that there is something inside you that is greater than any obstacle.” (Christian D. Larson)

Check out the full episode here:

Cheryl is one of the most down-to-earth and engaging people I’ve had the privilege of connecting with in this world. If you’re interested in coaching and resonate with Cheryl’s style, check out her website and sign up to connect!