Stay grounded in the workplace

Bob Rosen is a trusted global CEO adviser, organizational psychologist and best-selling author. More than 20 years ago, Rosen founded Healthy Companies International with the goal of helping top executives achieve their potential leadership and build healthy, high-performing and sustainable companies.

Through his work with more than 400 CEOs in 50 countries, Rosen developed the Grounded Leadership Model, which shows leaders at every level how to further develop six specific dimensions of themselves for greater impact in the workplace. Smart Business spoke with Rosen about his new book, “Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World,” and how to grow into a grounded leader.

If you’re under the impression the organization is attempting to mold all its leaders into the same type of leader, what can you do about that, and how can you maintain your sense of self?

I believe that we need leaders who exhibit the six dimensions, which to me are universal. Each person, however, is different, and we have to hold on to our individuality and diversity. We each express these in our own unique way and good companies recognize that. I think they are recognizing that competency frameworks alone are necessary because they identify behaviors, but they are insufficient. It’s OK to have some universal leadership qualities, but it’s also very important to respect the diversity of people.

How can we get people to change their individual stakes in the company to reach more of a consensus?

Well, I think if we created an environment that enabled us to bring our humanity to work, we would find that each person is like a Macintosh window. They are so interesting and you might not see that at work, but they are doing fantastic things in their church, with the PTA or in their neighborhoods.

So creating an environment that enables people to be more authentic becomes more important. Are there multiple cultures lead by different kinds of leaders inside one corporation? One of those leaders may be healthy, and one of them might be unhealthy. If the two divisions have to work together, you will see these two cultures clash. A good leader recognizes that it’s hard and undermines the business to have a healthy and unhealthy culture or team working side by side.

What advice would you provide to someone that is within the first 100 days of being a CEO at an organization?

What impact do you want to have over the course of your career? So often people work their entire lives to get into that CEO. Suddenly, they can be who they are, and they can really put into practice their values and philosophies. I think taking those first 100 days and listening is very important.

You have a window of opportunity, in the first three to 12 months, to put a stake in the ground. If you are solving a crisis, you obviously need to address that immediately. Eighteen months in, you should have a stake in the ground about what is your philosophy, what are your goals and what is the legacy you want to create.

WEBINARS: Soundview Executive Book Summaries hosts 60-minute webinars with authors of business books. To sign your company up for a live connection to these conferences, or if you’d like an opportunity to ask our featured authors questions of your own, visit


Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World

>> By Bob Rosen
>> Jossey-Bass, 368 pages, $26.99

About the book>> Grounded: How Leaders Stay Rooted in an Uncertain World takes a look at companies that have experienced super-high growth for at least three years and identifies the practical strategies that continue to work for them.

The author>> Bob Rosen is a trusted CEO advisor, organizational psychologist and best-selling author. As the founder and CEO of Healthy Companies International, he has long been on a mission to transform the world of business, one leader at a time. Rosen’s previous books include The Healthy Company, Leading People, Just Enough Anxiety, Global Literacies and The Catalyst.

Why you should read it>> When challenges arise in your business, you want to be prepared to manage them. This books proposes a new approach to leadership designed for any leader who struggles with the high demands of today’s marketplace. Rosen argues that leaders of all levels can better themselves while driving better results for their teams and organizations.

Why it’s different>> Grounded offers insights from hundreds of CEOs and leaders around the world to become more self-aware. It also explains how to build a personal leadership model that works with your values, goals and capabilities which can be applied to any industry.

Can’t miss>> “How Healthy Leaders Build Healthy Organizations” This third and final section, Rosen suggests once you know how to be a healthy leader, you can then build a healthy, high-performing organization. It wraps up the book while also reiterating what leaders need to do to apply the other aspects of his leadership approach.

To share or not to share>> This is an invaluable read. You will gain the knowledge and strength to not only overcome hardships but to achieve growth in your organization. Grounded is definitely worth sharing with anyone who wishes to better themselves and their organization.