From overbooked CEO to slow leadership

From the overwhelmed CEO to Slow Leadership, the way to handle situations from a crisis environment.

Fitch Bennett Partners, a partner of companies in the field of research and coaching of their employees, has been looking into the concept of Slow Leadership by meeting Murielle Machiels, an overbooked ex-CEO who is now a Slow Leadership practitioner and trainer. When she was appointed CEO of a media company, she knew that the company was losing momentum, due to a rapid digitalization of the world and the anxiousness of her shareholders who wanted to sell quickly at an acceptable price.

Murielle Machiels’ first reaction was quite classic, even if demanding: create a digital strategy, adapt the organization chart, hunt for costs and imagine the launch of new products, all at a frantic pace that she imposed on herself by dragging her teams along for the ride. The result? Growth in turnover, but also low cost reduction, increased absenteeism and the appearance of burn-outs. She herself felt a lot of pain in her body, exhausted by the energy required.

New practices in the service of Slow Management…

Failure was not a solution, she had been hired to succeed. So Murielle decided to take another route, that of Slow Leadership. She followed ontological coaching courses (brain, emotion and body) and other courses. She applied herself to follow these new practices, then to motivate her teams to follow them. With success, on the one hand, margins increased, but on the other hand, absenteeism and burn-outs dropped significantly.

Fitch Bennett Partners, whose logo includes the words “Happy People, Happy Company”, was interested in understanding more… and Murielle explained: the method consists in slowing down, organizing regular breaks to manage the mental state before each action, being creative before being operational, managing one’s energy and fears, letting go in order to be able to concentrate, trusting rather than controlling, empowering rather than taking charge and creating an environment where everyone can flourish.

Too good to be true? Murielle left the company after the sale to launch her training project (QiLeader.com). More than 1,000 executives have taken this training at the request of companies, some of which are also clients of Fitch Bennett Partners. This practice helps attract the best candidates.

Jean-Paul Bissen
Managing Partner Benelux