By John Maver
Part 2 of a presentation given to Renaissance Forum CEOs
While ultimately it can be said that the CEO is responsible for everything, there are several key leadership responsibilities that fit for CEOs of companies of all sizes. You are going to find, if you haven’t found already, that you like me are being pulled into many, many activities and issues that really can be handled by someone else. Be vigilant, because each will erode your time on the really important areas that only you as CEO can handle.
A Setting strategy and vision.
The CEO is the owner of the vision and the strategies on how to make that vision a reality. No one else in your company can play this role. The senior management team can help develop strategy. The Board and investors can approve a business plan but the CEO ultimately sets the direction.
Vision is your concept of the future of your business, how you perceive and experience the future of your company right now, in the present. A powerfully held and shared vision energizes and inspires people. Vision is the vital catalyst that multiplies the efforts people put into their work, and intensifies and enlarges the effect of those efforts. Getting big is all about how one thinks. It is just as easy to have a big dream as it is to have a small dream.
"Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil."
“Dream Big and Kick Ass.”
“It was just about a little over 30 years ago when I started Microsoft. That was based on a vision that the microprocessor, the computer on a chip, combined with great software that we saw ourselves and other companies doing, could create something magical, a tool of empowerment.”
What is your vision for your company? Does it stretch you and your company or is it just comfortable?
B Building culture.
If vision is where the company is going, values tell how the company gets there. Values outline acceptable behavior. Work gets done through people, and people are profoundly affected by culture. A great place to work can attract and retain the very best and a terrible place to work can drive away high performers. Culture is built in many ways, and the CEO sets the tone. His every action—or inaction—sends cultural messages. People take their cues about interpersonal values—trust, honesty, openness—from CEO’s actions as well.
“Culture isn’t one aspect of the game – it is the game!” Lou Gerstner – ex IBM CEO
“Good values attract good people.” John Wooden
Have you been clear on the core values and operating principles for your company? What are they?
The CEO hires, fires, and leads the senior management team. They, in turn, hire, fire, and lead the rest of the organization. The CEO sets direction by communicating the strategy and vision of where the company is going. With clear direction, the team can rally together and make it happen. As the leader of the leaders, the CEO has to make them function smoothly together.
“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence upon one another and of strength to be derived from unity.” Vince Lombardi
“Surround yourself with people of integrity and get out of their way” Hector Ruiz – CEO of AMD
How well is your team functioning and is everyone pulling their weight?
D Capital allocation.
The CEO sets budgets, funds projects which support the strategy and ramps down projects which lose money or don’t support the strategy. He considers carefully the company’s major expenditures, and manages the firm’s capital. Some CEOs don’t consider themselves financial people, but at the end of the day, it is their decisions that determine the company’s financial fate. Sound decisions are key to your profitability and long term success. No surprise here!
“Business isn't about the score of the game you played in the last quarter or the last year. It's probably about decisions you made three or five years ago, and how well you were able to adjust your course.”
John Chambers, CEO, Cisco
On what basis do you make capital decisions and how does the need for quarterly results impact your longer term thinking and plans?
“Manage your top line of strategy, people and products and your bottom line will take care of itself.” Steve Jobs - CEO Apple
Check back tomorrow for the next tip. In the meantime ,answer the questions so that you can put some of these tips to use to accelerate your business.
Maver Management Group