What I Wish Women CEOs In 2024

The new year is starting. Media is flooding with articles about how 2024 will impact business, whether we will manage to get the inflation genie back into the bottle, and how our world will look like at the end of a year when 40% of the world population goes to vote. What does this mean for women CEOs? Let’s take a closer look. 

One word caught my attention on January 1st, when an article from Stew Pidd, CEO, was published in The Economist.

In this article, Mr. Pidd was talking about 2024 being experienced at the crossroad of three major factors that will impact CEOs: the permanent crisis (Covid followed by war, inflation, social and political instability etc.) + VUCA or the conditions of volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity in which businesses continue to operate + the revolution brought upon us by artificial intelligence.

Hence, permavucalution.

What is Permavucalution and How Will It Impact Women Ceos?

There are several implications for women CEOs deriving from this overwhelming global landscape.

Let’s take a look at the first concept – the permanent crisis.

It is well known that women are, in general, brilliant during crises. In fact, crises brought many capable women to the top of their professions, organizations, and countries. When stereotypes collapse and fear takes over, those forged in fire always get their fair shot at the throne.

But does this mean that women should wait for crises, or be fast to jump on a crisis to raise to top leadership? And if they do, what will be the price they will pay?

These are questions that should be asked by any woman leader eyeing a major promotion / top leadership career opportunity driven by crisis this year.

How about VUCA?

Unfortunately, volatility, uncertainty, complexity, and ambiguity are here to stay. This is why all CEOs are called to create as much clarity as possible whenever possible. We simply don’t have the luxury to stay fluffy anymore – neither in terms of our own thinking, nor how we operate. Trimming down, simplifying processes, and allowing the flow of clarity to stream and touch everyone in the organization will also be a major leadership imperative in 2024.

Last but not least, we need to tend to our own reservations in relation to new technologies, including artificial intelligence. This is a revolution, similar in size with the arrival of the Internet, search engines, and social media. Perhaps we don’t understand its full impact yet, and that’s ok. But this should not prevent us from becoming familiar with the options brought upon us and upon our businesses by this major technological development as soon as possible.

Therefore, making room to listen and to learn will be another imperative for women CEOs this year. AI caught up with us and few were prepared. This year we simply need to find the time and space to explore, discover, learn, and put the right pieces of the puzzle in place so our businesses can have a future in this new environment.

How About Permavucalution at the Personal Level? 

In the light of all the factors above, in 2024 it’s more important than ever that women CEOs pay more attention to their physical, emotional, mental, and strategic well-being.

Leading in an environment with such complexity while retaining the complex stakeholder dynamics already present in our organizations is a mighty challenge for everyone. Add to this the fact that when promoted to top leadership – usually between the age of 50 and 65 – women go through their own internal biological transformation, which is a dragon to ride of its own.

Therefore, paying close attention to what’s going on within ourselves so we can be able to tend to it mindfully and so our bodies can hold the excessive burden pouring down on us from the outer world will be a vital balance in 2024 – and beyond.

This means that spending time alone, restoring, regenerating, reflecting, and regaining critical distance is becoming even more of a leadership imperative. This will be harder for women CEOs who are also mothers and whose full attention is required at home by their growing children and their aging parents, too.

What is the solution, therefore?

We go back to the systemic challenge faced by women in general: should I sacrifice myself for the world, or should I tend to myself first?

Perhaps 2024 will make it crystal clear that tending to ourselves is not a sign of selfishness, nor lack of care for our people and organization. By the contrary, making room to restore our energy and strategic perspective could be the key to succeed this year.

The cherry on the pie is that this approach will also transform you into an attractive and desirable role model for everyone in your organization, but especially for other women. Seeing that you can do it without crumbling might just inspire more women that they, too, can lead from the top. This is how self-care becomes a top strategic leadership imperative for women CEOs.

This is not just about us anymore; this is about everything we’ve ever wanted to build, and about having enough energy to getting there while moving through the thick molasse of permavucalution. The world needs us wise, and focusing on our own regeneration while continuing to serve our companies and a greater purpose has become a non-negotiable leadership imperative. Hopefully, 2024 will be more merciful to us than many can expect.

Let's Talk

The best way to gain, retain, and restore your critical distance as a woman CEO is to have a faithful guide, thought partner, and inspiring challenger by your side. This is what I am for women CEOs. If you are facing major developments in your business or in your career this year, we should talk. Please book or have your assistant book a no-strings-attached free 30-minute CEO exploration call with me; we will get to know each other and I will be thrilled to spot how I could be of your service in 2024 and beyond.
Cristina Muntean
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Let's Talk

The best way to gain, retain, and restore your critical distance as a woman CEO is to have a faithful guide, thought partner, and inspiring challenger by your side. This is what I am for women CEOs. If you are facing major developments in your business or in your career this year, we should talk. Please book or have your assistant book a no-strings-attached free 30-minute CEO exploration call with me; we will get to know each other and I will be thrilled to spot how I could be of your service in 2024 and beyond.