Two CEOs Are Better Than One

Provoc is a hugely mission-driven company. It’s one of the main reasons I was drawn here — to help prove that business can be done in innovative ways, and that it can be a force for good.

We have a culture that is dedicated to both the heart and the head, always seeking ways to collaborate and support each other across a range of decisions, strategic development and measuring our positive impact in the world. You could say that we’re genuinely interested in both the “what” and the “how.” Models of organizational structure and new theories on leadership and management are developing as fast as Moore’s law — or at least they’re trying. How do we keep pace with it all?

The stakes are high: with the state of the world as it is, and change swirling around us, we’re already in jeopardy of isolating and succumbing to overwhelm. But we know that now, more than ever, we need each other. We need to leverage each other’s strengths, bring self-awareness to our own knowledge gaps, and strategize to collaborate both efficiently and effectively.

You see, the new state of collaboration is not to prolong what Ken Wilbur calls the “mean green meme,” practically stumbling over ourselves in flatland to create consensus across everything from the tiniest decision and beyond.1 That’s a recipe for mediocrity, frustration and extremely drawn-out timelines, at best. The key is to move beyond that, to be smart together, to have the courage to have hard conversations, to take chances, and to trust that with the mission and vision of the company lighting the way, supported by the self-aware individuals within it, we can get to where we need to go.

Leadership traits have their place across all aspects of the organization, made manifest in each and every person and collaboration. Our belief in shared leadership across our culture is one reason Provoc is embracing a co-CEO model.

In leveraging a Co-CEO arrangement, Will and I have the ability to offer our support and skills in some generative ways:

  • We can offer different perspectives on the same challenges and opportunities, unearthing new ways forward with the efficiency of a supportive partnership
  • We can be accessible to all members of the team in a way that lets each person know that we are making conscious, considered decisions together with a thought-partner
  • We can model mutuality and balance, key ingredients for sanity in these crazy times
  • We can offer each other clear, radically candid feedback
  • We can practice emotional intelligence, clear communication and efficient decision making all at the same time
  • We can help walk our talk of being a company that honors the whole person, in a relational way, while also accomplishing goals with decisiveness and momentum
  • We can support one another’s goals and vision for professional development
  • We can help push each other to be better, to grow

This is an incomplete list, but it touches on some of the benefits and opportunities of innovative models of leadership and skill-sharing. If you’re exploring new models for organizational growth, ask yourself: where are you willing to stretch into partnership? Do you trust your own abilities to both collaborate and make clear (sometimes hard) decisions? This is the “both/and” of 21st century growth — the spirit of collaboration as interdependent vs. codependent or independent. It’s collaboration that supports the truth of both the me AND the we — and builds the bridge in between.