When taking on a CEO role, to counter the scale of the task ahead it is imperative to ask: ‘What conversations are critical to my new role?’

There's no doubt that a new CEO role can be a shock to the system. You may feel like you are in a bubble, always visible. Colleagues assume you now know everything that is going on in the organisation, and that you are getting lots of feedback.

The reality is frequently the opposite: that old adage about it being ‘lonely at the top’ is often felt acutely.

A big surprise for a CEO can be that you’re held responsible for the results but you don’t directly control. This should influence your thinking about the conversations you should have.

Leading educator, author, and executive coach Marshall Goldsmith puts it eloquently, “what got you here won’t get you there.” You will need to do some things differently to be successful. This includes having different types of conversations.

In taking on a CEO role, there are three aspects of conversations that can be quite different from what you have experienced in previous roles.

1: Knowing the right questions to ask

Things change when you move from, say, a line management role to that of CEO. You will have gone from managing a specific area in which you usually have considerable expertise, to leading across a range of businesses and support areas.

Your knowledge of each area may vary significantly, so the questions you ask need to be crafted in a different way to reflect this.

You can’t and won’t know everything. It simply isn’t possible. A key aspect of your leadership is to ask the important questions.