For CEOs and entrepreneurs, there are universal lessons – about research, innovation, personal conviction and exceptional service – which originate from more unconventional industries. Specifically, I refer to my own work – my daily and lifelong commitment to healing – in which I help people permanently end addiction. The lesson for other business leaders, they key principle connecting my efforts to the plans or proposals of an otherwise typical CEO is clear: If you believe in something with absolute sincerity, and you have the answer (which can upend markets, empower consumers and achieve superior results), then defend and promote those ideas – regardless of the criticism or competition, which may be intense and ruthless – because your professional priorities may soon transform into a more intimate responsibility to do well by doing good.
In my case, as the Founder and Director of The Holistic Sanctuary (www.theholisticsanctuary.com), I have firsthand knowledge of this phenomenon – the implications of staking a position and withstanding institutionalized resistance to any sort of positive change – which, while lucrative to the powers that be, attacks new ideas with maximum intensity and assaults differing opinions with outright hostility. This experience is not, however, exclusive to the world of drug rehab – with ineffective and expensive conventional treatment centers on one side, and my successful achievements at (naturally) eliminating addiction on the other – because there are many industries, where it takes courage – and a true alternative, which can help people – to dismantle false theories and harmful practices.
My experience, along with the independent video testimonials of my guests, is a testament to furthering a goal — in spite of the opposition. Indeed, I know (and have all the supporting evidence, including the brain scans of patients, which show the repair, restoration and rejuvenation of areas formerly damaged by addiction) that I have a moral duty to give individuals a second chance at life. That freedom, of mind, body and spirit, banishes the false ideology that addiction is an incurable disease and exposes the failures that pervade, according to CNN, the conventional drug “rehab racket.”
The point, which I implore other CEOs and executives to remember, is clear: That real leadership – the sort of risk taking, where you must confront spirited opposition (in my circumstance, from every conceivable individual and organization with a financial interest in perpetuating the status quo, which costs the lives of tens of thousands of innocent patients each year) — if a CEO has a breakthrough concept, for transforming the health care profession or realigning the technology industry or popularizing online access to education, he or she must not retreat or surrender at the first sign of resistance (from big competitors), or retract his or her words because of cynicism from the media or the public at large. A leader, in short, leads, period.
While these suggestions may seem logical and fair, not every CEO will confront such challenges or face such unified, seemingly intractable hostility to any and all change. But we need not wait for a crisis or a shift in attitude to prepare for such events. Having this ability – the skill to articulate and defend your work, even before a friendly audience – is a key trait of successful leadership. For, a leader's principal job – his day-to-day priority – involves persuasion, convincing individuals – with sound arguments, indisputable evidence and easy-to-follow reasoning – that a course, this course of action is the only plan worth adopting. A CEO does not command support because of a title; he or she earns it, with resolution and ambition.
Also, a CEO should never mistake credentials as a substitute for results. Which is to say, no résumé can be a shield against legitimate criticism or a license to act with irrational impunity. The former breeds arrogance – a characteristic I see, sadly, too frequently among doctors who refuse to even revisit the efficacy of 75-year-old treatment techniques – while the latter can cause disastrous consequences, all because of misplaced faith in a person's academic achievements and prestigious awards.
Look, instead, at the integrity of a business proposal or the benefits of a new product or service, not the names or offices of power someone holds. For example: Steve Jobs, the co-founder of Apple and one of history's most famed and iconoclastic leaders (within the technology industry and popular culture as a whole), is the antithesis of the CEO-as-a-Man-of-Credentials. With a high school grade point average (GPA) of 2.65, followed by just six months of formal enrollment at Reed College, Jobs is the ultimate symbol that leadership – not credentials – is about vision and persuasion.
Any number of computer scientists – at Stanford, Harvard, Yale, Princeton, MIT and Caltech – exceed Jobs's limited technical knowledge. Some of them are grand mathematicians, Nobel Prize winners and pioneers in software development, artificial intelligence and electrical engineering. But they all lack, in one form or another, the talent that defines the legacy of this great leader: A steadfast belief in a controversial or relatively unexplored idea, coupled with the ability to persuasively – almost hypnotically – convert people to his side, thanks to his passion, charisma and presentation skills. Those skills are a reminder of the leadership of Steve Jobs, where visionary concepts – and the ability to actualize those beliefs – are responsible for massive changes in music (the iPod), communications (the iPhone) and computing (the iPad).
And finally, Jobs's accomplishments further resonate with me because, while I may not be a medical doctor or a biochemist, I am, in the spirit of his drive for perfection, on a mission: To permanently end addiction, thanks to tireless research, development, testing and refinement of exclusive, all-natural remedies — combined with an unyielding devotion to personalized care, respect, customized treatment modalities and a sense of where we can be — in a world where addiction is curable and life is sacred. Getting there takes leadership, just as achieving any business goal requires the same discipline.
As CEOs we must lead, by example and the soundness of our suggestions. Let our success – the undeniable transparency of our results – speak for itself. For, that voice – the collective voice of my fellow executives and entrepreneurs – is frank and forthright.
Johnny Tabaie is the Founder and Director of The Holistic Sanctuary (www.theholisticsanctuary.com), home of the exclusive, all-natural and proprietary Pouyan Method, which enables patients to permanently end a variety of addictions.