The American Dream. Climbing to the top. Starting in the mail room and ending up in the board room. Every rising star imagines what it would be like to be CEO. The CEO has the vision, the financial and human resources, and the ability to delight customers, make things happen and drive results. And aside from those pesky shareholders and the Board of Directors, nobody can tell you what to do, right? WCB2 - What Could Be Better.
What Does a CEO Do?
This isn’t a trick question, and the answer isn’t golf all day. It’s incumbent on the exceptional CEO to have a vision and to communicate that vision with all affected groups. The CEO is accountable to diligently manage the money and the people in their domain. In order to survive, the CEO needs to constantly delight customers. And most importantly, the CEO is on the hook to drive a positive return on investment and to drive game-changing results. The well-balanced CEO will delight clients, delight employees, and delight shareholders at the same time.
Responsibility, Not Power
Being CEO isn’t about a power trip. It can be, but those CEOs don’t last long or prosper their people or their companies. The best CEOs have a sense of humility, in which they realize they need to serve and delight customers, employees, the board, and shareholders. They realize they need to look at the traditional organization upside down and empower their employees to learn, grow, deliver, and delight. They realize that it's not about them, it's about making it about everyone else except them.
Be the CEO at Work
Everyone in Corporate America should change their title, and they should all start with the words “CEO of”. If you’re a project manager, congratulations. You’ve just been promoted to “CEO of My Project Portfolio.” If you’re a marketer, congratulations. You’ve just been promoted to “CEO of My Marketing Campaigns.” If you're an administrative assistant, congratulations. You've just been promoted to "CEO of Administrative Activities in My Organization." Whatever your scope of responsibility, consider yourself the CEO of that domain. Much like the Corporate CEO answers to both the board and the shareholders, you still have your own version of a board and shareholders. But it’s your space, take accountability and own it!
Be the CEO in Life
If you’re a parent, consider yourself the “CEO of My Family.” You need a vision for your family, and you need to constantly drive results to move towards that vision. Your spouse and children are your board and shareholders all in one! If you volunteer in your community, consider yourself the “CEO of My Volunteer Domain.” If you belong to any other organizations or groups, consider yourself "CEO of My Role in That Group." Whatever it is you do, approach it as if you’re the CEO of that domain - take responsibility to bring your "A Game" each and every day and to strive to make a difference in all that you do.
Make It Happen
- Start by looking at your work life. What do you do, and how can you make yourself CEO of that domain?
- Next, look at your personal life (family, community, etc.). In what areas should you be CEO?
- What CEO-like behaviors do you need to adopt? Do you need to create and communicate a compelling vision for your domain? Do you need to manage your resources more responsibly? Do you need to focus more on delighting customers, employees, or your board/shareholders? Do you need to drive better results and provide a larger ROI? Do you need to empower yourself for greatness?
- Lastly, look at how you can improve upon those CEO-like behaviors to become a legendary CEO. Come up with a plan, execute, and reap the benefits.
- Accept no excuses. Nobody wants to hear excuses from a Corporate CEO as to why their company isn't delivering results. Everyone wants to hear how the CEO is overcoming obstacles and delivering results in spite of the challenges. As CEO, expect and accept nothing shy of excellence.
Welcome to the new you. Enjoy the journey...