The CEO’s Job

Periodically, the CEO of one of the companies with whom I have the privilege of working will ask, “Now that we are creating structure and processes to run our business, what am I supposed to do?” I absolutely love that question!

I always ask the CEO to help me understand what is behind their question. What are their thoughts? What is their concern? What do they need? The answers usually revolve around how to best spend their time now that the leadership team and the entire organization are accountable for their roles in the company.

Here are a few ideas I have shared with people over time:

  • Get crystal clear on priorities – these are the things that only the CEO can do.
  • Allow the second in command to actually be the second in command. In other words, do not second guess their actions and decisions. If the CEO has a concern, have a private discussion with the second in command.
  • Protect and nurture the company’s culture because it starts with the CEO. Culture is everything. When it gets stuck or lost, the cause is at the top.
  • Continuously build a strong, healthy, cohesive leadership team. It is imperative to look for signs of politicking, fragmented decision making, or misalignment. If these behaviors appear, swift issue analysis and resolution are in order.
  • Communication is a key responsibility of the CEO. Try to over-communicate every message. You can never communicate too much. Most people need to hear something seven times before they begin to take notice and start to listen.
  • Connect the employees to the company’s purpose and help them build meaningful careers. CEOs who do this are more likely to survive business challenges.

One final thought to keep in mind: What you are building as a CEO is great, even if the workload obscures the view periodically. Take a moment each week to recognize effort and celebrate wins and progress.

If you’re a CEO looking to brainstorm, hash out and prioritize your responsibilities, I can help. We can begin this process together during a free, 15-minute phone conversation. Simply fill out the consult form below to request a meeting, and we can get to work on settling your duties.