Saturday, December 8, 2007

CEO tips I wish I’d had when I started

By John Maver

A presentation given at the Renaissance Forum for CEOs

Today, you may be at the top of the company’s organization chart.


If you are a new CEO or have aspirations of being one, I hope you will do well and you may have learned some of these lessons already. If you have been in place for a while, this may be just a review for you and will help accelerate your business performance.

CEOs are in office for a shorter and shorter time. A Booze Allen study in the 2500 largest market cap companies has shown that in a decade the average tenure has been cut by more than 2/3rds from 9.5 years in 1995 to 4.6 in 2001 to just over 3 in 2006. What's more, the turnover is less and less at the CEO’s choosing. The non voluntary reasons for leaving have skyrocketed from 27% in 1995 to 53% in 2001 to 70% in 2006.

Why are CEOs turning over?

In about equal proportions the reasons are:
Merger driven
Performance driven
Regular Transition

Think about it. A very short time in place and only 1/3 are regular transition. CEOs had better hit the ground running and running well.

"Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn't matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up, you'd better be running." Successories

Many of us learned through on the job training. As we worked our way up to larger and larger responsibilities, we had the chance to hone the skills we learned first hand. That takes time and lots of experience. But there is another way and that is to learn from others who have gone before you and done so successfully.

Here are some CEO tips I’d wish I had when I first became a CEO. This isn’t a clipping service from the latest books. It is a summary of what I have found through my 36 years in general management to be most important, augmented by some pearls of wisdom from many other CEOs. When you have the time, read all the books. Better still; hire a smart business advisor consultant to provide the depth to these ideas.

You will note that there are some questions for you at the end of each section that relate to that section. Answer them. The only way to learn and make these tips worthwhile is to apply them to your business.

Here are the tips we will review.
1 What’s my job? What am I responsible for?
2 It’s the people. It’s all about the people.
3 The roadmap to your vision.
4 Who are you? What is the brand YOU?
5 “What’s in it for me” Your Customer
6 Stick with what you are good at.
7 Do it. Just do it!

Since this is a long presentation, I am going to split this up into bite-sized pieces of one tip at a time. Check in each day for the next tip.

John Maver
Maver Management Group
(925) 648-7561
Maver Management

View John Maver's profile on LinkedIn

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