THE chief executive officer is the senior officer responsible for the overall direction of an organization. In the association context, the CEO title varies (president, managing director or general secretary).
Through my more than 30 years of experience working with associations, I have learned at least six essential qualities that an association chairman should possess. I summarize these in the acronym VIP CEO.
V: Visionary. A visionary CEO has a clear picture of how he envisions the future of the organization. They determine concrete steps to plan and implement the vision and guide the organization towards its realization. For this to happen, the CEO must thoroughly understand and immerse himself in the purpose and culture of the association. Having a vision means continuity and long-term sustainability.
Me: Inspirational. An inspiring CEO has a deep sense of values and responsibility to create and effect positive change. They are innovative and forward-thinking, dedicating their time and energy to the cause of the organization and the well-being of their employees. In doing so, they also inspire others to get involved and contribute to the success of the association.
P: Passionate. A passionate CEO has strong beliefs and emotions about the organization and is always focused on what it can be, not just what it is in the moment. You’re constantly chasing the “next big thing” with a firm belief that you can achieve it. You are a great communicator and genuinely listen to others to understand their needs and aspirations. Passion spreads enthusiasm in the organization.
C: Brave. A courageous CEO has the mental toughness and moral fortitude to navigate, persevere, and persevere through any crisis or difficulty. They are also not afraid to make bold decisions and seek unfiltered feedback from those around them. Being brave during this pandemic has been a highlight of most association CEOs overcoming the challenges of the time.
E: Energetic. An energetic CEO shows vitality and enthusiasm, both physically and mentally. They are also fun-loving and sociable, and are comfortable meeting new people, visiting new places, and having new experiences. In doing so, they also tempt others to be energetic.
O: Open minded. An open-minded CEO welcomes new ideas, arguments, and information, even if they don’t necessarily match what they think. In short, they are open to learning from others and willing to compare ideas with those of others. This promotes cohesion, creativity and innovation within the organization.
These traits of an association CEO are not the be-all and end-all to keep the organization at the top. These are, at best, considerably robust enough to make an impact.
Octavio Peralta is currently Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Network Philippines and Founder and Honorary CEO of the Philippine Council of Associations and Association Executives, the Association of Associations. Email: email@example.com.