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  • What is a Chief Enabling Officer?

First, note that a Chief Enabling Officer has the same initials as a Chief Executive Officer. We need a way to differentiate, so we call the Chief Enablers “2ndCEOs”.

What is the difference between a CEO and a 2ndCEO? A 2ndCEO leads at a deeper level. 2ndCEOs are servant leaders that put others before themselves, making themselves 2nd. They lead by serving instead of commanding; from a supportive position below rather than from a domineering position above.


The typical Chief Executive Officer is focused on their execution as a leader. They seek for superior results using the help of their people.


A 2ndCEO is focused primarily on enabling the success of others as the foundation for results. They grow each of their people into leaders that are personally invested in helping the organization succeed.

It might be helpful to compare what they do differently:

Typical CEO


Seeks better results by using external motivators such as sticks (shame), and carrots (money)

Seeks better results by growing within others an increased desire and ability to perform at higher levels over time

Tries to “fire people up” through speeches and personal proximity

Finds and fosters the internal fire already burning within each individual

Takes ownership of initiatives and takes credit for results

Helps individuals innovate and create their own initiatives and successes

Seeks to be the star player, the shining achiever

Seeks to mentor and coach others to be more successful than they ever were

Tells others what needs to be done and how to do it

Provides the vision and then asks individuals to search inwardly to find ways they can support shared objectives

Already has the right answers, and waits for others to agree

Assumes that individuals on the front lines probably know more than anyone

Stays oblivious to the needs and internal world of their subordinates

Stays in tune with the hearts of the people that they lead, and their social, mental, and emotional needs

Is willing to achieve short-term gains and results at the expense of long-term production capability

Feature 3Is focused on achieving long-lasting, permanent high performance and long-term production capability

A New World of Leadership

Leadership doesn’t mean what it used to mean. It’s not about command-and-control, it’s about bringing out the best within your people. The leaders of successful companies in the future will be those that understand how to empower their workforce and create positive culture. They will be experts at creating an intrapreneurial environment where every employee has their own internal fire that drives them as if they were an entrepreneur. This can happen within your organization when you become a Chief Enabling Officer, or 2ndCEO.