For Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg, self-reflection is serious business.
The 58-year-old starts every day with a self-assessment and is a better boss as a result, he said Tuesday at the 2023 Fast Company Innovation Festival. Vestberg started the routine in 2009 after becoming CEO of Swedish telecommunications company Ericsson, and he has it done “every day” since then, he said.
Every morning, Vestberg ranks his mood “from 1 to 10,” he said, helping him get in the “right mood and the right energy” to get his work done. The numbers show whether he is capable of putting his best foot forward in the office:
- 1-2: He should “stay in his office” and work alone as he is unable to work with others, he said.
- 3-7: He’s “energized” and able to perform at a high level, he said, adding that this area is “usually when I’m at my best.”
- 8-10: Vestberg has “so much energy that people get tired of me,” he joked. He tries to use the 3 to 7 range and prioritize his work, he said.
The routine “shows the strength of my leadership,” Vestberg said.
He is not alone. Jerry Colonna, an executive coach sometimes known as the “CEO whisperer,” has a similar routine called “radical self-exploration” that he says helps him make better decisions.
“Spend a few minutes every day, but not all day, asking questions such as: How do I really feel? What do I want to bring?” [to a situation]?” Colonna told CNBC Make It in March. “Radical self-exploration is a means to understand who you are unabashedly, without shame, and without guilt.” [and] why you do the things you do – so that you then do the things of your own free will, not for unconscious reasons.”
Strategies like these might feel unnatural at first, says Colonna: “We’re trained not to look inward” because they can seem “narcissistic or complacent.” But as long as you don’t limit yourself to certain character traits, you can use this exercise to develop important self-awareness.
This is a crucial skill for professionals at all levels: According to a 2018 Harvard Business Review report, self-awareness can help you perform with more confidence and creativity. It can help you make better decisions, strengthen your relationships, and protect you from work stress or burnout.
“You can have all the technical ability and all the charisma in the world,” Juliette Han, a Harvard-trained neuroscientist, told Make It in June. “But if you are fully aware of yourself, how you appear in the world and with You interact, it is much more difficult to build strong relationships, interact with your boss and colleagues, and deepen the friendships you need to be truly successful.”
DON’T MISS: Want to be smarter and more successful with your money, your work and your life? Sign up for our new newsletter!
Do you want to earn more and get your dream job? Join CNBC’s free virtual event, Make It: Your Money on October 17 at 1:00 p.m. ET to learn how to improve your interviewing and negotiation skills, build your ideal career, increase your income and grow your wealth. Register for free today.