There are no guarantees in business. On the other hand, no CEO should take wild chances or gamble with success, especially when an easy trifecta for success is attainable. Once you’ve reached the ivory tower where CEOs lives, life is smooth sailing right? Not exactly. When you were working hard to reach this plateau, you probably only had one boss. Now you may have six or 12 depending on the size of your Board. You probably had people to manage. Now, however, you inherit an executive team to help you bear the burdens of leadership that has more power and input than people you were managing. Now the stakes are higher and getting them all on the same page, may prove to be a challenge. You can bet that one or two of them wanted the CEO position and may prove to be difficult. Maybe at least one thinks you’re not the right person for the job. Others may just want to hang onto their hands or jobs, and hope you don’t come in wielding an ax. Whether you’re a new or seasoned CEO, an article in HBR provides information for the Ace up your sleeve.
- Be sure to lay your cards on the table in that your vision and agenda are clear not only to your executive team, but all employees.
- Give your team the opportunity to buy in and contribute to your vision and agenda by holding an offsite retreat.
- Be sure to always keep your other team, the Board, up to date on what is going on within the organization as well as your industry.
- Even the seasoned CEO, is wise to remember the Board is in charge. Indeed, the Board can oust even the founder of an organization.
- When your team requires new skills, provide training and development.
CEOs and other executives cannot take on the responsibilities of leadership alone. Not only do they require a good support system, there are many tools available for enhancing leadership.
- Assessments: You may have the idea that a CEO only uses assessments when beginning work with a new team. However, these useful and essential tools can be introduced and utilized at any time with an executive team. Furthermore, they should be retaken every two to three years or when the team adds new team members. The point is that assessments help you and your team to know and understand each other deeper, quicker facilitating communication, reducing conflict, and saving time and money.
- Conventional Management Tools: One source referred to “conventional management tools” – although it’s not clear what “conventional management tools” are. The article goes on to suggest that these tools are not a pat hand and not enough to keep the CEO in his/her seat. Rather, the article goes on to offer that CEOs must be convincing in their vison, keep their egos low and concern for the organization high, and be consistent in their actions to reflect their values.
- Surveys: Keep your pulse on employees at every level of the organization through surveys, town hall meetings, interviews, and other such tools.
- Roadmaps: According to an article by Natalie Michael, CHRP, while CEOs understand the importance of culture, changing it calls for guidance or a roadmap to help lead them through the change journey. Directions will also help to embed required behaviors to drive change and create a desirable culture.
It’s true that the executive team makes up an important part of the talent a CEO needs to achieve success. Many other talent help support a CEO as well.
- HR: While HR is often viewed as a wild card and many times there is love/hate relationship between executives and HR, HR can be one of the CEOs most supportive talent. The rub is that CEOs often complain that HR directors have no business acumen. The Society for Human Resource Management is trying to change this. Members of the HR community are also trying to gain business acumen. Ensure that current HR talent understands the organizations strategies and your vison. CEOs must also contribute by finding this desirable unique talent with knowledge of both HR and business. Are you recruiting from the right areas? Are you making your job descriptions align with the needs you want from HR applicants? Are you asking the right questions in interviews?
- Succession Planning: While this area may not be viewed as a support to the CEO, the lack of succession planning can have a devastating impact on talent the CEO needs at critical times. For example, one CEO threw the dice, took a chance, and decided not to replace a member of the executive team and distributed his work among the remaining members. Unfortunately, another key executive turned in his resignation shortly thereafter. Now the CEO is short two executives with no internal recruits who can step in and keep operations flowing.
- Hiring: Ensure your hiring practices are targeting and vetting the talent the organization needs for the future. This includes the critical onboarding process. Your organization cannot hire people and then leave them to flounder without knowledge and training.
Teams, tools, and talent can come together to help the CEO form a trifecta for success and help you manage the progressive jackpot of being CEO. While you can’t necessarily stack the deck, none of the information here is rocket science, and better yet, implementation is easy. Develop your teams into talent that will use the necessary tools to move your vision and your organization forward.
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