Industry Trends

Getting Schooled: What CEOs Can Learn from Teachers

Group of businesspeople. One woman has her hand raised

This time of year is always a favorite season of mine. There’s football, of course.

But aside from that, I love that each new school year is a time when the entire school community – teachers, staff, parents and of course students – emerge from a few weeks of hiatus with a renewed energy and excitement to make the very most of what’s ahead.

It’s been a few years since we were dropping our own kids off with those first-day-of-school jitters. But I still remember clearly marveling at all the work their teachers had done to prepare for that day. And thinking about their ongoing commitment to ensure our kids would be set up for success throughout the year.

As CEOs, we can take some lessons ourselves. Here are a few back-to-school success strategies I think we as CEOs can learn from our teacher friends.

Create the Right Environment

Teachers devote endless workdays to setting up just the right learning environment. Desks are positioned strategically to ensure that each person can see, hear and fully participate with minimal distraction or interruption. Sure, COVID has limited room set up options. But that’s just made teachers more creative than ever.

They invest in books, supplies and learning resources to stimulate their students’ minds and further their thirst for knowledge.

They make their room a center of fun, engaging, inviting and affirming learning. They adjust their teaching approaches to encourage those who need it, and stimulate the thirst for more challenges in those who seek them.

As CEOs, are we creating an environment for our employees that is, before all else, focused on their well-being, growth and success? Are we providing resources that encourage upskilling, and that recognize and nurture high potentials? Our organizations stand to benefit when we give our teams a culture and environment that celebrates each individual’s achievement and rewards their growth. That is what an employee-first culture is all about.

Focus on Opportunities, Not Problems

A classroom of a dozen or two young learners can become ripe for problems, if allowed. But our gifted teachers know there’s at least one underlying key to avoiding that mayhem. It’s called flexibility. Any teacher will tell you that on any given day, anything might happen. A geometry lesson might evolve into an impromptu paper volleyball game demonstrating a real-world use of angles. The morning’s PowerPoint history lesson is stymied by an equipment malfunction. The outdoor science demonstration is nixed due an unexpected rainstorm. Things happen, and the best teachers know how to turn what could be problems into new learning opportunities.

And so it is in our own organizations. At CapRelo, we train our teams in using “magic language.” And, no, I’m not referring to witches and wizards, or Magic programming language. For us, magic language simply means reframing our words and thinking from being negative and self-limiting to verbiage that instead encourages positive action.

For example, consider the magic that happens if you choose the word “opportunities” over “problems.” Instead of focusing on supply chain problems and challenges, what if we put our collective brain power toward creating new solutions and opportunities for moving goods across the country?

That simple flexibility in how we as organizations talk amongst ourselves sets us up for a growth mindset. And isn’t that what we all aspire toward?

Be Agile and Prepared

If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that the best laid plans can quickly become sidelined. No one knows that better, perhaps, than teachers. All the classroom workdays, creative learning centers and in-person class exercises they’d planned were of little value to teachers when suddenly they had to pivot to teaching remotely. Their priority was creating a safe and effective learning environment for their students. While most students have since returned to the physical classroom, those early COVID-19 experiences taught us all the value of having contingency plans at the ready.

As CEOs of organizations relocating millions of professionals annually, we too must be alert, agile and well-prepared to ensure our employees are kept safe while working globally. In recent years, a number of large-scale international emergencies have unfolded. Six major hurricanes rocked the globe in 2017, taking thousands of lives and causing billions in damage. Many nations around the world are struggling with prolonged challenges: armed conflicts, health crises, poverty, political turmoil and more.

Each of these variables adds a layer of complexity to corporate mobility and duty of care. Before enterprises can effectively develop and deploy systems for keeping employees safe while working globally, we must identify the specific risks to be addressed. We must create flexible emergency plans and communicate them effectively to their employees, then give them access to the resources they will need in case of an emergency.

A reliable mobility management partner can help businesses develop and maintain high duty of care standards. With technology and services to assist mobile professionals all over the world, mobility management providers help keep relocated talent safe achieving optimal productivity.

Getting Schooled

In the end, leading a business is not much different from leading a classroom. Like teachers, it’s our job to encourage our employees to push their boundaries and continually grow their skills. It’s up to us to create a culture that is positive, caring and courteous, where each person feels valued and respected. And it is our job to be ever mindful of the market factors that might impact our businesses and prepared to deftly maneuver as situations change.

Here’s wishing each of you a great school year ahead.

About the Author

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Barry Morris

President & CEO

A tech-savvy leader, President & CEO Barry Morris ensures resources are aligned to deliver value to the company’s core global customer groups – clients, transferring employees, suppliers, affiliates and CapRelo’s own staff. His focus is to create a…