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Andrew Penny, January 11 2022

How Do CEOs Learn

Blue Chalk Thinking

If you are like most CEOs, you have spent most of your life doing what you are good at. This may be sales, operations, finance or some other aspect of your business. And, you have likely spent your time in the same industry. So, you know all about, for example, financing in the mining sector or sales in the lumber industry. This is great, except… 

As a consultant, I have the joy of working with executives in various functions in a wide range of industries – and I learn stuff. Consultants develop unique perspectives on the world and of business. They bring objectivity. 

So what has this to do with Blue Chalk? 

I am building a garage at my country house and employing various trades to help me with it.  Jason, my drywall contractor, had just started to do the final coat of mud (after the primer paint) and he took out a small container of blue chalk (the kind that goes in chalk lines) and mixed it into the drywall compound.  What the heck?  I’ve done lots of drywalling but never seen this. Well, it turns out that when you put white drywall compound (mud) onto a white wall, you can’t see where it went - which is a big problem when it comes to final sanding. Give it a blue tinge and it is much easier to find. 

Consultants are like the concept of blue chalk. We bring incremental advice that, while quite simple, can have a huge impact on the way you run your business. 

So as a CEO, you need to get out of your echo chamber and learn from other areas of expertise and other industries. Working with a consultant (on a project basis or as CEO advisor/coach) is one of the most effective ways to do this. 

What other blue chalk stories do you have to share? 

Andrew

Written by

Andrew Penny

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