Manning the helm of a technology startup in the highly competitive Silicon Valley challenges Jianhui Zhou to:
- Keep his company positioned along the cutting edge in a rapidly evolving industry.
- Enable high-performing team members to integrate their efforts for maximum achievement.
- Woo venture investors and early-adopter customers with a laser-focused message.
A Ph.D. in Applied Physics and years of experience developing and marketing telecommunications technology have formed Zhou’s technical foundation as CEO of Broadway Networks. Insights gained through the Center for Creative Leadership’s (CCL) Leadership Development Program (LDP)® and five months of follow-up coaching, however, have been key to Zhou’s ability to guide others toward a shared vision.
“I was a relatively junior person in the company, limited by my professional experience,” says Zhou, who was director of marketing for a networking equipment company when he attended LDP. “The self-awareness and feedback gained really made me more mature and continue to make me more effective in managing and leading organizations as well as projects.”
Combining 360-degree assessments, self-reflection, group exercises and personal coaching, CCL’s flagship program provided immediate results. Zhou’s company would soon merge with another company, and his increased self-awareness and improved communication skills enabled him to more effectively manage the inevitable organizational ambiguity.
“That ambiguity caused problems,” Zhou says. “But after LDP, I reached out to my peer groups and had open conversations that helped a great deal as far as how we would work together. That was important to making sure we left no areas uncovered and, just as importantly, weren’t overlapping.”
Although the impact of LDP was immediate for Zhou, follow-up coaching transformed the program’s concepts into a new mindset and essentially altered his perceptions of himself and the way he related to others.
“The self-awareness I had developed would have faded over time,” Zhou says. “The good thing is I continued the process with my coach. I believe during that five months of follow-up coaching, the good habits of self-feedback and self-reflection were formed.”
Since supplementing his clinical knowledge with the insight gained through LDP and follow-up coaching, Zhou has risen in the span of six years from director of marketing to corporate chief. In recent correspondence with his CCL coach, he states: “I owe my progressive career moves to what I learned from CCL and you personally. Thanks!”