Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
Be yourself; Everyone else is already taken.— Oscar Wilde.
This is the first post on my new blog. I’m just getting this new blog going, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.
cj comu – The ultimate objective for any CEO is to ensure maximum profits for the business – and if it’s a company, for its shareholders, specifically in the short term. Right?
While there are thousands of MBA graduates out of much-heralded universities, including the business schools at Harvard and Stanford that have been taught this, a growing body of business people worldwide are rethinking this maxim.
Instead of focusing on profits, the trend is for CEOs to recognise the value of business leaders concentrating on business growth through positive customer relationships and public relations.
The MBA for the CEO – cj comu
While there is no doubt that the internationally recognised Master of Business Administration (MBA) qualification has become one of the most geographically portable post-grad courses available, and one that is considered by many companies to be a prerequisite for managers and CEOs.
MBA programmes were initiated in the United States in the 1950s and “exported” to Europe a decade later. In those early days an MBA was viewed as a rather inferior, second rate qualification; but gradually it became a coveted tool that helped graduates make their way to top managerial positions. Unless it was your own home-grown company – or one inherited in some way – the MBA became the best way for a CEO to claim the spot at the top of the ladder.
While the format of the MBA at different universities does vary, the general idea is that it will give you the tools you need to become a business leader. Most incorporate skills related to finance, statistics and managerial economics, and offer electives that include international management and human resources. But the focus is still on profits.
A Call for the CEO to Get Back to Basics – cj comu
Israeli professor emeritus, Shlomo Maital is one of a body of academics who is teaching out of the old-school MBA box. A world-renowned expert in “innovation management”, he talks about a former era of “militant shareholders” who would send a CEO packing if he (usually, rather than she) failed to deliver maximum short-term profits.
Prof. Maital cites an extraordinary story of an old-time CEO, the now legendary Thomas Bayard McCabe. This man was chairman of the US Federal Reserve from 1948 until 1951, and an employee of Scott Paper Company from 1927 till 1967 (and a member of their board of directors until 1980, two years before he died). Appointed to the position of CEO of the company at aged 34, his maxim was “whom we serve”, rated in this order:
Customers and clients
“If you serve the other four groups of stakeholders well and truly, then you will also serve the long-term interests of your shareholders,” he said.
Not only was McCabe personally successful, but he also built the paper company from a mill that employed 500 people to a multi-national giant (now part of Kimberly-Clark) that employed more than 40,000 in a network with 60 locations all over the world, including Australia.
While McCabe’s emphasis was on the long term, his contemporary, Prof. Milton Friedman, leader of the Chicago School of Economics – and 1976 recipient of the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences – was avidly teaching short-term profitability.
Says Maital, “CEOs have become expert at short-term policies that bring rising share prices tomorrow, but prove ruinous in the long run after the CEO is gone and forgotten”.
This is a sobering thought.
Essential Qualities the CEO Should Have – cj comu
So what qualities should a good CEO have; and what is the CEO’s true role?
Dr. Paula Phelan, president and CEO of Nadel Phelan, and a woman with more than two decades of global marketing, market research and public relations for high-technology companies (including Microsoft and Oracle) under her belt, narrows these down to five:
Focus on a vision and communicate it to all the company stakeholders. A great CEO gives direction and provides a good example to staff, customers and investors.
Be aware of operational details, but don’t get involved with them. This is how a CEO can meet company goals and ultimately increase revenue.
Read widely and stay on top of industry trends. Knowledge is essential for any CEO to be able to avoid potential threats and capitalize on on-going opportunities.
Hire a strong management team and be sure to support their decisions. No CEO can go it alone. Instead a successful CEO will help to mentor managers and keep employees motivated so that company goals will be achieved.
Meet your customers and pass on their needs, challenges and business goals. Customers are core; without them a company cannot succeed. Positive customer relations and communication will enable the CEO to share customer needs with stakeholders.
Ultimately, says Prof. Maital, universities worldwide need to revise what they teach their MBAs to “put shareholder profits last, rather than first”. And companies need to follow suit and encourage those in charge to reinvent the CEO’s true role and “dare to follow McCabe’s credo”.
Divyesh Nathoo is the Managing Director of Twin Consulting, a company dedicated to helping Australian businesses manage and grow successful long term businesses.
With an impressive track record in building several successful businesses himself, Divyesh has the hands on experience (and qualifications) to help other business owners who want to take their businesses to the next level. The Twin Consulting team specialises in providing strategic planning, implementation and analysis, business development, marketing, and human resources training and management services.
Cj comu – Is your CEO too boring for words? Is he driving your organization or holding it back? Do you want a CEO that drives innovation or one that keeps your company from it?
Companies are in a constantly changing environment. From changing laws and regulations like Obama Care to new competitors or innovative new technologies that impact the sale of your product. Knowing that companies face constant change, why are some CEO’s so afraid of change? Is your CEO too boring and not into change? What I define as a boring CEO is a person unwilling to change, unwilling to embrace the unfamiliar and unwilling to consider that new ways of doing something might be a better way.
I worked with a company that was being run by a CEO that did not like change at all. This aversion permeated into the organization and ultimately into the products as well. The company’s image was very old school, almost archaic. The CEO took pride in this. The aversion for change went very deep. The company’s website was extremely basic and void of any real information. Some of the sales brochures hadn’t been changed decades still using pictures from the 50’s! Yes, you’re reading that right, the 50’s!
This company was selling technological products and had a CEO averse to innovation. Needless to say, the CEO brought the company to the brink of bankruptcy. The owner of the company liked the man so he stayed on until his retirement. “Oh, he only has a few more years to go” was the owners comment. These last years were even more damaging to the company than the previous ones. Then a new CEO was hired. This CEO was very much into technology and it was amazing to see how quickly the company turned around.
It was as if there was pent up hunger for change in the whole organization and with a big sigh of relief did everyone embark on this new course. In a short period of time, new products came out and new technology started to percolate into the newly released products. This change was a life line desperately needed.
For some industries, a boring CEO might be just the ticket. Maybe in an accounting firm or a law firm. Any professional firm where innovation doesn’t drive the company. However, any manufacturing firm has to have an innovative CEO. Manufacturing changes all the time as technologies advance. New manufacturing methods, new ways of machining, 3D printing, the list goes on. In manufacturing a boring CEO will be suicide.
What business are you in? Do you need a boring CEO that just keeps the status quo or will that ultimately kill your business? Are your competitors innovating faster than you are? Are their products more innovative? Do the customers like them better? If so, you have a boring CEO that avoids change. If you want your company and products to be innovative and advanced, having a CEO that drives the change and embraces new ideas and concepts is paramount. Look at your business and compare your products to those of the competitors. Know that your CEO is the one responsible for this. Is he the right man for your company?
“The reasonable man adapts himself to the world. The unreasonable man persists in trying to adapt the world to himself. Therefore, all progress depends on the unreasonable man” George Bernard Shaw.
If you want to make a difference, shouldn’t you hire an unreasonable CEO rather than a boring one? ” cj comu “
With your success in mind, ” cj comu “
Is your business under performing? Great! Sounds like there is an opportunity for improvement! We hope you like our publications, they always focus on basic, down to earth business principles. Get these right and your business can’t help but thrive. Are you ready?
Thanks For Reading Cj Comu
CJ Comu — A chief executive officer (CEO) typically acts as the head of a company and reports to the board of directors. CEOs are responsible for creating and completing business strategies, introducing policies and making sure the organization reaches its goals. A CEO’s other responsibilities might include:
Managing the company’s operations
Overseeing the company’s budget
Working with other executives and managers
Staying knowledgeable about industry changes and developments
Determining how to improve performance, grow the company and save money
These job duties vary depending on the size of the company. The owner of a small business might also be the CEO and help with all aspects of daily operations. The CEO of a large company is typically more involved with creating policies and tasks managers with maintaining staff and daily operations.
CJ Comu – There are few who acquire the title CEO. While it requires a huge commitment and an abundance of talent and ambition, CEOs who lack effective succession plans find themselves overwhelmed and missing opportunities to build thriving enterprises.
Succession plans impact so many aspects of a business that this article will not allow me to do the subject justice. However, some of the benefits it provides are it supports CEOs who want to drive innovation, it creates a learning organization, it develops leaders throughout the enterprise and it allows the company to exploit new and profitable opportunities. Unfortunately, everyone believes it is a simple process and they are doing it correctly.
When done effectively, the best CEOs surround themselves with people smarter than they are and give them room to run with huge responsibilities. The worst try to prove they are smarter by handling everything and trusting no one.
Those who do it well use delegation in a thoughtful and strategic manner. Delegation is a powerful strategy to create a learning organization and it develops the next 2-3 generations of future CEOs. It also builds an underrated quality: trust. When the CEO delegates to her direct reports, it empowers the direct reports to learn new skills and competencies. In turn, they will have to delegate to their direct reports with the same results. At that point, the CEO is freed up to learn new skills and competencies as well as explore untapped opportunities that may require new skills.
When he does not delegate, there is a chance the CEO’s plate will become too full for him to learn new skills and competencies. As a result, he becomes mired in the same challenges year after year and no plan to get beyond them. This inescapable trap causes far too many companies to miss opportunities. Lack of delegation also sends a message down the organization that the CEO does not trust his people with larger responsibilities. And the culture of mistrust is created.
Worst of all, when the CEO retires, poor succession planning and delegation leaves a void in the organization. The company is forced to pay a search firm to find a successor or a qualified board member has to step in. Lee Iacocca was seen as a great CEO for the time. Except, when he retired, Chrysler fell on its face once again. Iacocca was known for having yes men while he took care of the most important matters himself.
Furthermore, the best succession plans do not seek out the right person for today. They are looking for the CEO who is right for the next several years. In fact, training and development should take that into account.
When you combine poor succession planning with the fact it is lonely at the top and there are few people to discuss your most pressing challenges, many CEOs find themselves in a difficult fight for survival. While many executives and board members believe the solution is to work harder and be smarter, the tenure for CEOs decreases every decade. Yet, the benefits are clear when you see CEOs like Steve Jobs demonstrate great succession planning as well as the benefits like constantly creating new profitable revenue streams through innovation.
CJ Comu | One thing I know for sure, is that the sooner a business owner begins to think like a CEO (Chief Entrepreneurial Officer), the faster their business will grow. Below are five ways you can start behaving like a CEO today!
1. Switch from the Big Picture to the Micro Picture Each Day – To run a successful company, you must be able to see the big picture to plan ahead and also be able to see the many parts of your business at a micro level and understand how they relate to each other because all the parts do affect each other. To motivate your team you will need to be able to communicate the big picture and still be able to brainstorm every part of the business with each of your high-level team members as needed. Your ability to be able to successfully switch between Big and Micro Picture in your business will determine your success more than anything else.
2. Make Decisions Quickly – Money and people like speed. When you invest in yourself quickly in business, the money flows faster because your customers can see the investment in your website, in your marketing and much more. The single most important area to start practicing the art of quick decision making is around ROI (return on investment). Each month you must take a good look at the products and services in your business and decide which ones are worth further development and marketing and which are ones to let go. The longer you hold on to under performing products or services, the more money you are throwing away. The faster you can make these hard decisions, the faster your profits climb. Another decision to make quickly is to hire a successful business consultant to help you learn how to measure ROI yourself if this is something you don’t feel like you know how to do.
3. Say “No” A Lot – The single most important behavior you can learn as you move to six figures and beyond in your business is to say “no”, a lot. This is opposite of what most business owners do. This behavior coupled with making decisions quickly will position you as a leader in your industry. The trick is changing your mindset from “chasing every lead” to “focus on ideal leads” and letting your systems and processes do the converting in your company. I always have my clients spend their money on the website first and then on the customer service help second because I want to remove them from the “front lines” ASAP so that it is easier for them to say no to all low ROI time bandits and requests. Don’t underestimate the power of the word “no” when it comes to positioning you in your industry. Success does not come to those who constantly say “yes”, contrary to the popular belief that everyone has to pay their dues.
4. Be a Leader That Innovates – Be the first in your industry to do anything and you are different than 95% of business owners. Most entrepreneurs don’t stretch themselves enough to create and innovate completely new technologies, processes, programs, services, and products. The best competitive advantage you can ever have is innovation. Be a leader that goes right when everyone else is going left. Start a new movement…. fall down the rabbit hole with your customers and let them know you are a CEO that is willing to explore uncharted territory simply because that is where brilliance lies.
5. Plan Ahead – I can not emphasize enough the importance of planning ahead. Depending on the size of your company and how long you have been in business, you must get comfortable with putting on paper your plans for at the minimum 1 year up to 5 years. What to plan you ask? Make projections (educated guesses) on income for all products and services your offer. Break them down individually. Then plan how much outsourcing help you can hire and when you can hire more help. In start-up that might mean 1 part time virtual assistant per year or hopefully per quarter if you are growing quickly. And most importantly plan your exit strategy. Are you in an equitable business model that is easier to cash out? Or can you license one of your infoproducts so others can take your message to the masses while you work less and lay by the pool getting paid for your innovative brilliance. Planning ahead is what makes all dreams become a reality.
No matter how successful a business gets, learning remains indispensable to leadership. History tells us that those who kept their ‘fire to learn’ alive have ruled. Data made available by Harvard Business Review states that almost 60% of the companies that were industry leaders in the 1950s were still at the same spot in 1990, but more than 70% of industry leaders of 1990s no longer existed by 2005.
The times have changed. What worked before may not give the same results now. Leaders today are required to think different. Their companies demand business navigation through unpredictable times. The era of serene business waters has become history. Now they are required to sail their crew safely through 40-foot waves and guide them from port to port. The need is to remain highly effective in an environment of extraordinary, ongoing, relentless change.
Fortunately, a good CEO’s job comes with no objective, quantifiable markers. The next big leaders can come from Mumbai’s Dharavi or the laid-back city of San Diego. What defines them is not where they come from, but whether they have these key traits:
Arguably, for a company, nothing is more important than for its CEO to know where the market is today and how it is going to respond tomorrow. Steve Jobs recognized the aptitude of mobile computing before many others, just as Bill Gates understood the potential of PCs and their vision helped shape their respective companies. Consequently, having just-the-right-vision to comprehend the trends of the future trend has become a key trait for a successful CEO.
While a CEO is expected to remain totally aware of the everyday activities of the organization and how the various factions stick together to take the company forward, the best CEOs do not let the seductive lure of micro management become a habit. Instead, they retain a highly efficient management team capable of handling these tasks.
Human beings remain the center of whatever we do. From manufacturing needles to creating rockets and everything in between, every single action is performed with people at the core. And, in the process of doing that, it’s genuine caring and compassion towards humanity that keeps a CEO humble and focused.
Successful CEOs look beyond technology to help customers genuinely. Their services and products are defined to address the needs of customers instead of just earning revenue. Great CEOs never let their customers’ words and suggestions go waste. Through regular meetings, they have an endless supply of new ideas to share with stakeholders and help create improved products and a deeper understanding of customer requirements that can act as an ingredient for a successful business relationship.
Building an inspiring culture
The world’s best CEOs understand the power of inspired colleagues and rate it much higher than employee engagement because it directly leads to inspired organizations. Inspiration is a part of the strategic DNA and a major differentiator in the success of many great figures. Building a work culture that inspires is how best-performing CEOs create a difference in the world.
A CEO means a chief executive officer who is the show-runner of a company. He is the operational head and is accountable for all the operations of the organisation. Since he is the overall in charge, he thus holds a very important position. A CEO is also like the representative and the primary decision maker of a company. This is position is associated with power, prestige, responsibilities, financial income and is the highest executive position in any company.
Because of the importance of this post, a CEO has many job responsibilities:
• He has to make all strategic plans for his company and formulate business targets
• He must evaluate the profitability of the business plans suggested by different departments and consults with the board of directors
• He implements the financial investment plans for the company
• He must study and distribute budgets to different projects
• Besides focusing on generating revenues, he must also look out for expansions through mergers and acquisitions
A CEO, thus, needs to have exceptional leadership skills and must be able to motivate the company through his words and actions. He should have quick decision-making abilities, communication skills, and must regularly interact with others in the corporate world to build a network.
The CEO Job Description involves lots of duties and responsibilities and reaching this post is not easy as one need to have enough experience to be able to handle the responsibilities associated with this job. One may, however, start with an MBA degree with specialisation in any field, and gradually work his way up the corporate ladder to become CEO.
The job of a CEO begins with a leadership role. The essence of your leadership role as a CEO is to make the organization effective -capable of doing the RIGHT things. An effective organization is one with the right people all occupying the right positions collectively engaged in doing the right things. That is;
‘right PEOPLE + right POSITIONS + right ACTIONS = EFFECTIVE ORGANIZATION’
Making the above equation a reality in an organization is the primarytask of the CEO as a leader. It is a three-fold task that begins with you the leader. The above equation is ‘what’ you need to do as a leader, as you must have probably noticed, the underlying theme in the equation is the word “right.” Which clearly captures the whole essence of the role of the CEO as a leader -making an organization effective. I wish these were all you needed in order to succeed in your role as a leader, but there’s still one missing element in the equation that is vitally important. That missing element is YOU – the leader!
Here’s what I mean.
Building a successful business takes the collective efforts of others and not just the effort of only you the owner. It is not a one man show. As bestselling author Robert Kiyosaki rightly observed; “Business is like making babies, it’s not something you can do all by yourself; it requires the collective efforts of others.” You see, while no one person (leader) can single-handedly build a great company; one wrong person (leader) can single-handedly bring down a company. How? When you as the business owner begins to think it’s all about you. This is usually the case with most small business owners. I know you are the owner of your business no doubt, but you also need to understand this fact; before you chose to become a business owner, success was very much all about you and the result of your personal efforts, but now that you’re running your own business; success is all about others and the result of their collective efforts.
A majority of businesses fail largely because of this singular factor, so it’s highly important you understand this crucial point and begin to make the necessary paradigm shift early. The success or failure of an organization depends largely on how well the CEO plays their role as a leader. As the CEO, your role as a leader demands that you shift your focus from yourself and begin to focus more on others and what you collectively want to achieve. Management guru Jim Colins in his legendary book “good to great” talks about the kind of leadership required to take an organization from being a good one to being a great one; ‘level 5 leadership’.Here is what he identified as the key trait of a ‘level 5 leader’; “ambition first and foremost for the company and concern for its success rather than for one’s own riches and personal renown.”
Business is a team sport and only the teams with the best players can win. To build a winning team requires a leader that not only wins but also knows how to lead a pack of winners and make winners out of losers. Winners being who they are don’t naturally like to hang around losers even though that loser bears the title of a CEO. That you now occupy a leadership position as a result of your CEO title doesn’t necessarily mean you are a leader. Being a leader is much more than occupying a position. As I pointed out last week in the first article in this series, positions or titles doesn’t make you; functions and duties do. As a CEO in your role as a leader, the bulk of your work is mainly people-centered. Your functions and duties (responsibilities) majorly revolve around working with people and leading them. And when it comes to people, knowing ‘what’ to do alone won’t do the trick. People are not things, they don’t care how much you know and can do until they know how much you care and make them feel. Therefore, knowing ‘what’ to do is only one part of the story, knowing ‘who’ to become in order to do what needs to be done is the main story.
The real challenge here is gathering the right kind of people to work with as a team, for only the right kind of people can be truly effective -capable of doing the right things. You see the right people are very rare to find or attract because they only submit to the right kind of leadership. They are not predominantly motivated by how much they are paid; they are mainly motivated by passion and will only follow the right leader whose vision, goal or objective they consider worthy of their commitment and loyalty. You cannot out rightly buy them over; you earn their commitment and loyalty. Figuring how to be the right kind of leader is your main responsibility as a CEO. So here’s the big question;
Smart hiring for a Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of an enterprise of whatever size, is extremely important to the enterprise. The CEO is the key or principal executive in a business and determines practically all things that happen to that business hence the rationale to always hire smart. He conceives, develops and ensures implementation of strategies and tactics for the enterprise, in liaison with stakeholders such as the board of directors, shareholders and investors, the management team etc. He provides overall enterprise leadership and ensures a good environment for execution and attainment of business goals and objectives, both in the short and long-term. The CEO sets the pace and general direction of the enterprise. He builds teams and empowers them, equipping them with required resources, monitoring their performances over time and also rewards them accordingly.
A CEO should be able to focus on key issues such as mission and vision, change management, improving shareholder value, growth, resource allocation, strategy, profitability and sustainability, efficiency and effectiveness, risk management, building teams etc. If a CEO candidate cannot come out clear and strong in these aspects, then he or she may be a gamble for the enterprise. The CEO role is a big picture role, hence focuses on the cornerstones of the enterprise, manifested by the combination and interplay of the above. The overall future of a business depends to a large extent on how the enterprises recognizes and manages the dynamics of what matters to the enterprise, in light of various environmental factors both internal and external. Whatever the approaches used in hiring the CEO, certain salient considerations as indicated below should be taken into account, in order to hire smart.
Customer focus. A CEO that lacks customer focus may not be able to add much value to excellent customer service hence limiting growth of the enterprise. While hiring, look for good traits of customer or client eccentricity or focus.
People skills are also pivotal for a good CEO. He should be able to build great teams, surround himself with people smarter than himself, love delegating work and developing others, energetic and yet able to energize others, have genuine care for people, persuasive and a good communicator, able to accommodate varied opinions while maintaining healthy tension in the team.
Personality issues such as integrity (truthfulness, responsibility, obedience to laws etc), openness, conscientious, innovative mind and also other learned skills such as analytical and critical thinking, intelligence, trouble shooting etc are also paramount. The CEO need to be authentic and not fake, but authoritative and in control, connecting easily with people, confident. The demands of the role require these and your CEO ought to have them.
Job previews for proper understanding of job content should be one of your considerations. If you hire a myopic CEO who has limited understanding of what it takes to succeed, and the scope of the job, the enterprise will suffer. You can make use of job previews to identify the right person.
To hire smart you also need to consider the capability to handle challenging situations and decisions including setbacks or crisis. Maturity is fundamental for a CEO. The ability to weather the storms of fluctuations, crisis, economic downturns etc are vital for a CEO. The CEO needs courage to make tough yes-or-no decisions, and knowing when to limit assessing options and make a call. Tough experiences should not discourage a CEO.
Weaknesses such as placing personal success and prestige ahead of company goals should be a warning sign for you when hiring a CEO. A good CEO always places the company ahead of his personal goals and ambition.
The ability to expertly blend and balance the interest of different parties to the business is another important criterion for CEO selection. This even becomes more valuable for large businesses where the number, nature, demands and complexity of the different stakeholders are on the rise. The right CEO should be able to build and effectively manage relationships in the interest of the enterprise, with whatever parties.
Real ability to perform needs to be assessed. Previous successes based on general factors such as industry, economic trends etc need not be claimed by your CEO. Look for tangible ability to create and deliver value to the enterprise. On the other side, secondary factors such as board politics, that could have limited a CEO’s past performance need to carefully weighed less you miss an otherwise excellent hire.
Vision and passion -The ability to see around corners,intuition, sense of prediction, ability to imagine the unimaginable etc are cornerstones of a good CEO. He should be passionate about the business, bold and decisive in pursuit of enterprise vision. This also involves the ability to learn from mistakes and yet get moving towards the vision with passion.
The execution culture – putting decisions into actions and pushing for completion while focusing on results. This is based on a strategy process, operations process and people process.
Due to the overall importance of the CEO, any mistakes an enterprise makes in hiring for this position will very adversely affect the business, and may take a while – a year or more – to correct. Some companies even take a couple of years to weather out CEO hiring errors. Several options can be used for hiring a CEO though most enterprises prefer to outsource this responsibility normally to executive search firms. Such firms may carry out open adverts, headhunt, or deploy other approaches to identify, attract and retain the appropriate CEO. Alternatively, instead of bringing in an outsider, some companies prefer to identify an insider. Such companies tend to build and have very strong management teams with well executed succession plans, hence sometimes making use of rising stars within the enterprise for CEO replacements. For external hires, a comprehensive background check is a must.