Steve Tappin has more than 30 years' experience coaching and being the confidant to the CEOs and executives that run the world's top leading companies. He has published several books on the topic and was the BBC's CEO Guru for a series which spanned over 40 episodes. In Become A Real and Inspiring CEO, Steve delivers his masterclass on leadership best practice over the course of 20 videos. Find out how you can become a leader of tomorrow today with Become A Real and Inspiring CEO from CEO Masterclass.

Videos in the Become A Real And Inspiring CEO Series

Introduction to CEO Masterclass

Steve Tappin introduces himself, his company Xinfu and the CEO Masterclass. He describes the five modules of the course, which aim to transform the people who lead companies with a unique approach.

Introduction to Fellowship

The ‘hub and spoke’ model of company organisation – where the CEO dictates to their executive team – is contrasted with the idea of Fellowship. Fellowship sees the CEO as a member of a team which fosters mutual trust, belief and care; this aligns everyone towards a common goal while letting each person have their own role.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Different types of CEOs

Steve outlines the nine most common CEO types: Commercial Executor, Value Driver, Corporate Ambassador, Corporate Entrepreneur, People Champions, Missionary, Conscious Capitalist, Innovative Inventor and Tech Missionary. After recognising what type or amalgam you are, Steve asks whether you can develop yourself or draw on your executive team to support your areas of weakness.

Introduction to the Four Quadrants

The 4 Quadrants are outlined: (1) Business Performance recommends moving away from micro-managing; (2) Business Leadership is about being a leader who inspires; (3) Personal Leadership is moving to a Fellowship management model; and, (4) Personal Performance addresses the work and emotional patterns which can move leaders from stressed to performing to inspiring.

Real company agility

Company Agility is not only speed and flexibility, but also adaptability and the ability to be opportunistic. CEOs and their team should start looking for red flags – which signify lost value – and immediately stop whatever is losing the company value while identifying projects to fast track and transformational technologies to adopt.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Leading your people through the emotional change curve

Steve details the curve of change which leaders have the responsibility to guide their people on: from negative emotions to belief and inspiration, by opening a dialogue and then addressing the causes of the emotions.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

The "Crazy 8" and the blockages to success

When mapping company growth against time, a Crazy 8 is a period in which the company goes around in circles. A new situation brought about by growth leads to issues; these issues have an impact on the emotions of the employees, which in turn have implications for the company and can stall the company’s growth. Moving out of the Crazy 8 requires addressing the emotional aspects.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Taking an executive team from average to outperforming

CEOs consistently rank their companies four to six out of 10 in terms of business out-performance. Executive teams need to review business performance through the lenses of management, personal leadership and company culture to get to the truth of the blockage. Executive teams then need to own a plan of resolution, knocking down red flags and identifying projects to accelerate in a sprint.

Creating your disruptive growth

Continuous performance delivers consistent value over time but increasing a company’s value requires bold moves and breakthroughs. Steve describes four types of growth: conventional (new products/markets/channels), use capabilities (using existing assets, skills and knowledge), smart transactions (M&A, JV and corporate ventures) and disruptive (changing the rules of the game). He recommends focusing on the latter two – smart transactions and disruptive – for growth.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

What is a North Star?

Values expressed in company mission statements are virtually all the same and not very inspiring. A North Star is a vision of the company’s future which builds excitement and commitment. The key elements are: purpose, ambition, future winning position, new ways of working, strategic capabilities, transformation points and timeframe. Have every executive express their opinion on these elements then distil this into something everyone believes in and try it out for three months.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Numbers, acronyms and symbols

Numbers, acronyms and symbols can be used to distil and help people remember different elements of the company’s North Star. This will help to inspire and reengage.

How do you empower a company

People who aren’t empowered aren’t adding value. To empower others, you need to: give them something to believe; give them mandates - not telling them what you want but what you’d love for them to do; and, free them up to be inspiring. You can force someone to free up space by requiring that they do their work in less time and empower others to assist with this, spending the remaining time on new value adders and reflection.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Trusting in Life Stories

Trust is key to Fellowship, but most management teams don’t trust each other. Management teams should tell each other the ups and downs of their life stories – the elements that shape you as a leader including the genes and character you’re born with, formative years and schooling, parents, national culture, and significant life experiences – starting with the CEO. Build confidence in telling people your life story by first telling your family before your executives.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Connect your Top 40

Identify your Top 40: people close to the real business who have strong views about its operation and the future, and who can inspire others by performing beyond day-to-day task execution. Take them to a multi-day experience: begin with the CEO stating purpose, get to know each other, split into small groups determined by length of service and ask questions about the business, then the executive team should listen to these groups which, on the second day, is addressed with practical steps for the next six months. Reengage the top 40 with another event six months later.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Creating a united culture

When considering a new company culture, think about elements of the self as well as the company. The self includes the people who will be pioneers of the new culture (often the executive team and the Top 40), the new mindset and what needs renouncing, and the new ways of working. Elements on the company side include new breakthroughs and how they have been or will be transformational, symbolic changes, and stories. Have executives think about these aspects on their own, in twos, in threes and finally altogether; consider how you want things to change; connect then with your Top 40 and other parts of the company.

Conscious Leadership

Personal Performance – one of the 4 Quadrants – centres on CEOs moving out of stress with greater conscious. Wayne Linton describes the sequential states of consciousness: shame, guilt, apathy, grief, fear, desire, anger, pride, courage, neutrality, willingness, acceptance, reason and love. Steve advises to explore the roots of these states up to and including pride, and to develop techniques to move yourself from lower to higher levels of consciousness and become an inspiring CEO.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Courageous Conversations

Courageous conversations surface and address personal conflicts. There are three types: underlying truth conversations, listening to a person’s truth 1:1; peer conversations, revealing one’s emotions to one’s peers; and bigger picture/aspirational conversations about what is possible. Try to have courageous conversations at your next executive team meeting; film this, watch it back and assess, then discuss the best way to discuss courageously and the three topics that need to have a courageous conversation – and then have it.

CEO Health Warning - 4-day work week challenge

60% of CEOs suffer strokes, work evenings and weekends, and carry the pressure of the business on leading to burnout and devastation. Being a CEO is a marathon that needs pacing and stamina. Make your work week fit into 32 hours (four eight-hour days) by radical prioritisation, and use the fifth day for a mixture of thinking innovatively about the business and investing in yourself by pursuing passions.


©BBC 2019, All rights reserved, Used with permission

Spiral Dynamics Values

Spiral Dynamics is another way of thinking about CEO types: purple is belonging and survival; red is energetic but directive; blue is systematic and principled but bureaucratic; orange centres on winning but doesn’t consider the people; green is caring and sustainable but this can distract the right business decisions; yellow is pioneering but difficult to understand; and turquoise is big picture but not always practical. Understand your own profile and that of your executive team.

Leading through the tough stuff

CEOs must be aware of when personal issues – physical, mental, relationship, situational or others – are affecting your performance. Commit to addressing one at a time over a set period and assess your progress. When this gets hard, take things day to day.

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162 Videos

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