Having worked with CEOs and the C-Suite, I have grown to be more comfortable with various management styles and personalities. Using the Marine Corps mantra, I've adapted, persevered and overcome. Of the few must-haves is being able to deliver on the reason they hired you. Typically, that includes reducing incident rates, environmental events and getting the best deals on insurance. Over the years, I have had direct access to the CEO. As you might imagine, I've dealt with senior managers of all types. I've had to figure them out to discover ways to connect with them. After learning this, I have had to figure out how to best manage them. By this I mean, manage their expectations and the politics of just doing my job. Some of these CEOs, "Get it," others never will. What is contained here are some gems of wisdom in conducting yourself with CEOs and the C-Suite to ensure the best possible outcome for the organization.

A Few Things CEOs and the C-Suite Want from Safety

No one wants to work with an unhappy person. Negativity, unnecessary drama, and melancholy attitudes can bring the entire company down, so although your own personal happiness may not seem important, it most certainly is. Happiness also reflects your ability to tackle challenges without becoming discouraged. If you show the CEO and the C-Suite that you're a positive, mentally healthy person, your chances of becoming the company's next star employee will vastly improve. Just because we are in safety doesn't mean we have to be down all the time. We are allowed to be happy. But we do need to be quite serious when things do happen. Signs of happiness include:

  • Smiling and laughing

  • Relaxed muscles

  • Approachable body language


Even if your job duties don't require much creative thinking, CEOs and the C-Suite still want creative people, especially when it comes to HSE. Innovation goes a long way in maximizing your potential. You may find new, better ways to perform old tasks. Your creativity may also help the company come up with entirely new ideas for guiding the company toward success. After all, in safety, we are the consummate problem solvers. That's what we do when bad things happen. We figure out ways to prevent them from happening again.

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