“A leader is a visionary who can excite others to be part of their vision. Great CEO’s create, they don’t fix.” – Netflix CEO Reed Hastings
As companies grow beyond “mom and pop” operations, it’s essential to understand the crucial, continual, and evolving tasks that a CEO must embrace. CEO’s who focus on these work on their business, not in it.
1. Define the vision. Set the course and establish the company’s goals. It’s your vision that launched the business. Remember, Martin Luther King didn’t say, “I have a strategic plan.” He said, “I have a dream.” As the leader, it’s your job to create and reinforce a compelling sense of purpose shared by all employees and stakeholders.
2. Continually focus on upgrading critical resources and filling in the holes. These resources include:
- Financing sources
- Strategic partners
- Professional services
3. Create and fine-tune the team. Hire the best and fire the pests. If managing people is not your strength, hire someone to keep associates motivated, hold them accountable, and keep everyone’s actions aligned with company goals and values.
4. Network and build relationships. Forge coalitions with peers, associates, and key outside decision-makers. It is all too often overlooked as the vital priority it should be. If you haven’t done so already, join your industry associations and entrepreneurial peer groups and block out at least two to four days a month to build and maintain both internal and external relationships.
5. Get and encourage feedback. Proactively listen to your associates, clients, and vendors. Management guru, Tom Peters calls it MBWA, or “managing by walking around.” You’ll discover how much your team members appreciate that you care about them, their ideas, and their opinions. And oh, the things you’ll learn.
6. Entrepreneurship. Search for future opportunities for the company that enhances its current systems and further its financial goals.
Managing the status quo is more dangerous than launching into the unknown.
7. Fiscal management. Ensure consistent cash flow and profitability by carefully monitoring expenses, cost of sales, and revenue streams. Nothing is more critical to keeping your business healthy than maintaining and managing your margins. Have a banking relationship that will provide you capital during cash flow shortages.
8. Personal style. By your actions, set an overall tone of integrity, competence, and optimism. Leaders lead best by the example they set and the behaviors they tolerate. Your style and attitude give you credibility, show your integrity, and demonstrate the moral authority to hold others to a higher standard.
9. Results. As the CEO, you must oversee execution to ensure you are getting the results you want. None of the above matters if your company does not execute.
“Leadership is about making others better as a result of your presence and making sure that impact lasts in your absence.” – Sheryl Sandberg
Make today the day you embrace one role of the CEO that will make a difference in your life. Start with your personal style.