Some say leaders are made, while others say they are born. Whichever the case, organizations need strong leadership in order to accomplish specific long-term goals. A CEO, in this sense, has to have the necessary qualities that can pave the way forward. To nurture these qualities, it’s important to know what you should be focusing on.
It starts with asking yourself one simple question: what are your priorities as a business leader?
Indeed, this was the question that Neil Giarratana tackled in his book CEO Priorities: Master the Art of Surviving at the Top. I read the book and realized the immensity of a CEOs’ role not only in terms of directing the day-to-day operations of the business but also in terms of building a lasting legacy despite numerous hurdles.
In the book, Giarranta outlines a few key concepts that can help CEOs develop the right attitudes. I was particularly drawn to the idea that a CEO will have to appeal to employees and make them feel as though they are the company’s main stakeholders. Employees should also be recognized for the good work they have done. The key to this is internal communication. A successful CEO knows better than to exclude employees from crafting policies and making decisions that could impact the business’ productivity and, eventually, its bottom line.
Giarranta drives home the point that CEOs should lead by example and should embody organizational values. Taking on a detail-oriented approach to management, CEOs know better than to let crucial departments sort themselves out. When it comes to sales, for instance, you will need to collaborate with members of your sales team in drafting strategies and streamlining the workflow. It’s also important to avoid any possible issues that might derail your sales targets.
Miscommunication and technical problems can offset the successes of your sales department. To prevent (or at least resolve) such issues, there should be proper delegation as well as a clear manual (or script) that guides salespersons as they engage potential customers. Still, the best way you can optimize your sales is to find the right talents. Hiring people just because you have backlogs in your manpower won’t improve your sales team’s performance.
Apart from this, CEOs will also need to acquire information straight from the source. Information, after all, is an essential resource and for businesses to succeed, it’s crucial for CEOs to be as accurate as possible when it comes to getting information from the front lines. In this sense, CEOs will have to take secondhand information with scepticism considering its narrowness and incompleteness. Information barriers are not the only problems CEO will have to face. For those who have secured executive positions for the first time, opposition from some employees can be a major factor that can affect internal relationships and the organization as a whole. Effective leaders are naturally aware of such scenarios, but the real challenge lies in how one should deal with adamant
“Toughness” doesn’t necessarily equate to imposing one’s iron will on the rank and file, although there are certain situations where
you have to stand your ground amid increasing demands from your employees.”
For Giarranta, it’s a matter of being able to strike a balance between being sympathetic and being strict when it comes down to enforcing new policies. “Toughness” doesn’t necessarily equate to imposing one’s iron will on the rank and file, although there are certain situations where you have to stand your ground amid increasing demands from your employees.
At any rate, you will want to focus on creating an environment where everyone in your organization is able to contribute towards improving the business. All it takes is to promote a high-level of transparency in which everyone is provided an avenue to bring up any issues to efficiency and suggest the right solutions. This leads us back to the need for CEOs to obtain reports from the ground and assess situations that lie within their periphery.
There are a lot more lessons you can get from the book. All in all, it passes off as mandatory reading material for business executives who have clear goals in mind but aren’t exactly sure where to start.