CEOs consistently mention a host of common issues which they grapple with on a frequent basis. Here Peter Cheel looks at some of the key focus areas that successful CEOs list as critical to drive sustained business success.
1. Actively attract and retain talent
Naturally it’s critical to fill vacant positions in a timely manner. However, it is equally beneficial to proactively be on the look-out for talent and wherever possible, to create a role when a high potential person is found. The ROI on this proactive investment will be seen in the creativity, innovation and effectiveness of the selected person and their impact on the business.
2. Achieve the right investment in working ‘on the business’ (as opposed to ‘in the business’)
With the frenetic pace of many businesses, the temptation is to spend most of the time in the operational and tactical aspects of the business, with the result that the strategic components are sidelined. Once the strategy and the annual business plans are established it’s very important to integrate a quarterly business review to spend quality time ‘working on’ the business. In fact, it will be beneficial to also divide monthly leadership team meetings into two components: first ‘working in’ the business followed by ‘working on’ the business.
3. Foster a winning culture, accepting the premise that: leadership drives culture and culture drives performance
A strong healthy corporate culture starts with the CEO AND the rest of the senior leadership team. If this team consistently exhibits the desired behaviours and holds their immediate managers to account for those same behaviours then there is likely to be a strong propensity for these behaviours to be instilled in the rest of the organisation. A healthy cultural alignment is typically followed by motivated and engaged employees who are naturally inspired to effectively contribute to the mission and vision of the organisation.
4. Identify process drivers to achieve shareholder value
To create long term sustainability and therefore shareholder value, it’s critical that each area of the business has clearly identified the key required process drivers. Once identified they need to be developed, documented, communicated and integrated into the business. A word of caution; adopt the KISS principle when developing the processes. Don’t let processes rule your business..…they should be positive enablers for clarity and success.
5. Develop a strong united leadership team who subscribe to leadership team principles
A united leadership team will drive the strategy and spend quality time communicating the strategy and progress towards attaining key objectives to everyone in the organisation. For a leadership team to transition from a working committee to a cohesive team, each member needs to leave their ‘functional hat’ at the door upon entering leadership team meetings. This is where they need to put on their ‘leadership team’ hat. For this to happen, the purpose of the team and rules of engagement need to be clearly understood and committed to by each person.
6. Effectively manage external relationships
Externally, every CEO is essentially the ‘Chief Brand Director’ and needs to spend quality time out of the office, developing and nurturing the relationships of strategic clients and key stakeholders. This responsibility of the CEO should positively augment and complement the roles of Sales, Marketing and Public Affairs directors. The CEO is after all the face of the organisation. As a CEO are you currently spending more than 50% of your time out of the office?
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