Running a business is no easy feat. CEOs basically have a lot on their plates and yet have so little time to do them all. It’s no wonder why most of the world’s richest CEOs can make do with less than four hours’ sleep while some don’t even sleep at all?
So, what really keeps them up at night?
Author Elizabeth Coffey was able to explore the main issues that serve as insomnia fuel to many business owners. In her book, “10 Things That Keep CEOs Awake and How to Put Them to Bed,” Coffey outlines several key concerns that demand a great deal of effort, time, and resources to resolve.
For Coffey, the work/life balance doesn’t have to suffer. CEOs will only need to use the right approaches that let them function effectively without suffering from any more sleepless nights. Drawing out real-world experiences from actual CEOs, Coffey was able to list down 10 issues any business owner has to face at some point.
1. Developing bifocal vision
Possessing a bifocal vision allows you to strike a balance between short-term and long-term goals. It allows you to set realistic expectations for the company as well as secure a leadership style that aligns with specific objectives. To help you in keeping direct control of all aspects of your business, forming a senior executive group is imperative.
2. Getting the organizational structure right
Successful businesses were made in such a way that they are able to withstand new developments no matter how disruptive they could get. After all, like buildings, businesses need a solid foundation. More importantly, each component needs to compliment each other. By having the right people in the right departments, you cut down on the risks that low-quality outputs provide.
3. Creating Time to Maximize CEO impact
Coffey points out that CEOs attend too many meetings and handle inconsequential tasks rather than focus on activities that add value to the organization. In other words, CEOs should spend more time working as leaders of their organizations and delegate repetitive tasks to assistants and subordinates. They should also keep track of their schedules and maximize the time they have to do meaningful work.
4. Energizing the Organization Through Leadership
Leadership, as a key ingredient, should be continuously nurtured. This could be a challenge for many young CEOs, especially those who are running business startups. Nonetheless, it’s only a matter of shaping the CEO role and aligning it with the needs of the organization. Simple team-building exercises, for instance, allow a CEO to secure a more proactive and mediating position when it comes to engaging employees.
5. Delivering Strategy Through the Top Team
Having the right people is just as important as having the right equipment. Hence, companies will have to invest a lot in building “top teams” that drive growth. The leaders of these teams should have the qualities and skills needed to reach out to stakeholders and drive engagements that have a considerable impact on the bottom line.
6. Managing the Board
In any organization, it helps to form alliances with people who are valuable to the life of the business. For this, the CEO will need to be familiar with the Board’s position and determine those who are supportive of certain priorities.
7. Communicating with All of the Stakeholders All of the Time
How should CEOs engage and inform stakeholders over long distances? Communication, after all, is valuable. And other than knowing how best to impart information, crafting your messages is just as crucial. Coffey suggests understanding your audience and talking to them personally rather than by phone.
8. Meeting the Diversity Challenge
Taking the BBC as a case in point, Coffey points out that achieving a more diverse workplace creates confidence among minorities and elevates the organization’s reputation. Using initiatives such as off-site exposures and discussions will surely provide a business a way forward.
9. Surviving the Global Jungle
CEOs of multinational companies find themselves in the crosshairs of cause-oriented groups. We are living in an age when technology (especially social media) has elevated the culture of corporate accountability. Effective PR and the adopt of pre-emptive measures through sound leadership are essential along these lines, so CEOs should address the need for closer collaboration with local managers and the need for better transparency.
10. Balancing Your Act
With all these issues in tow, it’s difficult to maintain a highly visible presence as a CEO without sacrificing your time for more personal matters. For this, CEOs and even rank and file need personal portfolios that underscore their need for personal development and leisurely activities with the family. Having one allows you to take back control over your life and realize that the world is not confined within a dull office space!
What’s interesting about this book is that Coffey was able to use actual experiences to give her readers an idea on how to address these 10 issues and how certain companies are able to resolve them in their own way. At 218 pages, it’s a quick yet worthy read that should help you start making changes for the better!