Get Your CEO On—and Out

Hally Bock

We spoke to Halley Bock, 41, CEO of Fierce, Inc., a leadership development and training company in Seattle, about how she found the CEO within.

I joined my mother’s company in 2006 as COO—I was a numbers and spreadsheet person. Mom was known for her passionate speeches and her ability to inspire her employees.

For a long time I didn’t think I had what it took to step into her shoes as CEO.

A keynote speech in 2011 made me realize I could be that inspiring leader. I remember that speech as if it were yesterday. I was a nervous wreck, looking at the script I had worked on for weeks.

Something told me to ditch it, so I started speaking from the heart. Suddenly, I could see that the audience was responding to me ad-libbing, and I knew I’d made the right decision—and an important discovery.

When I let go of the script, and trusted myself to convey my company’s mission, I realized that knowledge and passion were in my DNA. After that speech, I truly stepped into the CEO role and began running the business from my heart instead of my head.

Being a CEO is like playing music. When you finally stop playing music as it’s written on the page and begin interpreting the notes in your own unique way—that’s when you soar. True leadership is a creative act, not just playing by the rules.