Many of you CEOs started your business from scratch and did so using a strength and passion. It may have been sales, marketing, product knowledge, etc. Perhaps you worked for someone else and felt you could run your own company more effectively. Or maybe you had an idea of a product or service that was not being offered. Others of you may have ascended from the ranks, promoted to your current level of responsibility of Chief Executive Officer, President, or Chief Operating Officer.
Whatever the journey you soon found yourself here.
Now what do I do? What is my role?
Assuming this has been a while ago and you have developed a team under you there are four areas of responsibility I believe should be your focus.
- Carrier of the flag – You are the visionary of your company. Don’t expect anyone else to be thinking of where the company should be in 5, 10, 15 years. This is your job! Sure, you can develop your vision WITH your team—AND YOU SHOULD!—and allow them to help you craft HOW you get there but you are the visionary. Even more importantly you are the one that needs to keep this vision visible to your employees. Talk about it in company meetings, create banners that hang in conspicuous places throughout your building, mention it as you wander around talking to your employees. Don’t let them forget because they will. They will go back to doing their jobs.
- Keeper of the treasury – Your strength may not be in the financial area of your business but you still are responsible for your company’s financial health. Hire a strong financial person whether it be a controller or Chief Financial Officer to help you keep track of how the company is doing. Have them help you create the key indicators you need to monitor your business on a monthly basis.
- Chief Relationship Officer – Sure, you may have a VP of Sales and Marketing, but your name is on the door. If not your name certainly your reputation. Chances are it was you who was instrumental in landing the customers who have been with you the longest. However, it is your job to make sure the relationships with your top customers is sound. If your company is not performing in all likelihood they will just move to your competition without warning. Identify the top 10% of your clients and call on them a minimum of once a year, not to sell but to find out how their experience is with your company and what their plans are for the future. I guarantee you will learn how you can improve your service to them or a new product or service you can add to your offering.
- Coach/Mentor – Your job is to groom your team. Don’t neglect the people you hired to handle sales, marketing, finance, operations, etc. so you can focus on CEO stuff. EVERYONE needs attention and recognition, including your direct reports. I have found that the CEOs I work with who have regular one-to-ones with their key people have a better idea of what is going on in their company and can react more timely to things that may be an issue. More importantly, the relationship they establish with their direct reports becomes stronger. (More on this in future blogs)
Any of the above areas need a little more of your attention?
I look forward to your comments and feedback.
Consider Reading This
The Five Temptations of a CEO by Patrick Lencioni. The first of his series of books on leadership, Lencioni teaches us through a fable that any executive can learn how to recognize the mistakes that leaders can make and how to avoid them. If you haven’t read any of his books this is a great one to start with. They are all short and keep your interest.