As business leaders and examples to their board and teams, CEOs need to be the most effective people in the business. Whatever the size of the company, a casual or slow leader will fail to gain respect and results, so being and looking like the most productive person in the business is critical.
Make the Best Use of Your Time
Some CEOs are up at the crack of dawn, and others work long into the night. Whatever the schedule, CEOs need to be efficient time managers and delegators to ensure they are operating at peak productivity.
Each CEO has their style. Some break down their day into one-hour chunks, others break each hour into five- or 10-minute segments. Whichever is most practical for your management style, ensure that the most productive tasks fill the early part of the day when everyone is at their most alert and creative.
Every CEO should check their schedules and eliminate or delegate tasks that eat up too much time or are not vital to furthering the organization’s business goals. Scrapping some meetings is also an excellent way to concentrate on the real matters at hand. Many CEOs start out attending every meeting, letting it become a habit when in reality, they need only see the minutes to keep abreast of most situations.
Calm, Expand and Care For Your Mind
CEOs need to make calm and rational decisions. That can be a challenge when the office is hectic, and there are a dozen other jobs to do. A regular 20-minute break, some office yoga or calming exercises, even a walk around the park can help the busy CEO clear their mind for the next phase of the day.
As well as being calm, CEOs need to be informed. Take the time to do as much reading as possible, both related to your role, market, and the wider world of business or technology. Use podcasts or audiobooks if you don’t have time to read on paper to help understand where the world is going and what your company’s place could be in it.
Finally, mental health is a growing issue for everyone, and even cutting-edge business leaders are not immune to the pressures of work. Taking time to understand your mind, to talk about problems both inside and out of work, and to seek help if your moods start to swing, or your decision making becomes irrational can help prevent more serious problems.
Focus on the Big Issues or Problems
There will come a time when any business has a key moment, a vital decision to take, a product to choose, or an acquisition or buyout to consider. At these points clarity is key and all business leaders need to develop tunnel vision and an acute sense of the key issues to make the right choice.
For these moments deploying every skill and asset is essential. Offload all unnecessary tasks, use whiteboards to clear define the issues or decisions and write in clear English what the options are. In these moments a few key words clear to all are far more important than a 50 page PowerPoint that no one can follow. By developing a tunnel-vision like focus on those key issues, CEOs can make the best choice for the company.
Find Your Strengths
CEOs of companies that have grown organically may never have had the time or inclination to discover what their management style really is. Taking leadership tests or studying what it means to be a modern CEO can help a boss find their role, and how they deal with problems.
Some bosses are 100% realists, focused solely on the issues at hand, while others are 100% creatives, always look at a myriad of solutions. By finding out what you are strong at, and where you are weak, you can hire executives that complement your skill sets and will fill in for your blanks.
The tests don’t have to be scientifically rigorous, but taken just a little time to find out more about yourself can improve your productivity, your performance and help boost the business.
Be Prepared to Pass On Your Skills and Learn New Ones
Many view being the CEO as a role of a lonely shepard at the top of the hill. However, in the modern business, bosses need to be sharing, mentoring and advocating change all the way to the bottom of the organization.
Being boss doesn’t make you magic or invulnerable. The more you share, both in terms of experience, advice, information, and delegation of roles, the more the business can cope without you, allowing you focus on the next big challenge.
Mentoring will help your board grow and make them strong enough to stand up and be counted when key decisions need to be made. Better that than a room full of “yes-people” who will only say what will make the leader happy.
Leaders need to push for and advocate change. Your business might be a ship sailing smoothly through the waters of its industry, but change is always around the corner. The CEO needs to be looking at innovation through technology, expansion, new ideas from within and without.
Finally, leaders do not know it all, there is no end to learning in modern business, and through reading, education, taking part in forums or talks, leaders need to learn when their market is going, what will affect the organization and other challenges through a constant cycle of fresh information.
These few highlights can sound like a huge change to a CEO’s day or life. But by making one or two small changes first, and then adapting and embracing new changes as they come along, the modern CEO can be fit for purpose and the best person to lead the business. Making a positive change for yourself can also rub off on everyone around you in the business and your personal life, and that alone is reason enough to adapt.