How Much Weight Doesthe Average Person Loose In An Hour CEO Tips I Wish I’d Had When I Started

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CEO Tips I Wish I’d Had When I Started

As a good CEO I like to get to the bottom line quickly, so here are the tips we will review.

1 What’s my job? What am I responsible for?

2 It’s the people. It’s all about the people.

3 The roadmap to your vision.

4 Who are you? What is the brand YOU?

5 “What’s in it for me” Your Customer

6 Stick with what you are good at.

7 Do it. Just do it!

Today, you may be at the top of the company’s organization chart. HELP!!!!!

If you are a new CEO or have aspirations of being one, I hope you will do well and you may have learned some of these lessons already. If you have been in place for a while, this may be just a review for you and will help accelerate your business performance.

CEOs are in office for a shorter and shorter time. A Booze Allen study in the 2500 largest market cap companies has shown that in a decade the average tenure has been cut by more than 2/3rds from 9.5 years to 3 years and the turnover is less and less at the CEO’s choosing. The non voluntary reasons for leaving have skyrocketed from 27% in 1995 to 70% in 2006.

Why are CEOs turning over? In about equal proportions the reasons are:

o Merger driven

o Performance driven

o Regular Transition

Think about it. A very short time in place and only 1/3 are regular transition. CEOs had better hit the ground running and running well.

“Every morning in Africa, a gazelle wakes up. It knows it must run faster than the fastest lion or it will be killed. Every morning a lion wakes up. It knows it must outrun the slowest gazelle or it will starve to death. It doesn’t matter whether you are a lion or a gazelle, when the sun comes up, you’d better be running.” Successories

Many of us learned through on the job training. As we worked our way up to larger and larger responsibilities, we had the chance to hone the skills we learned first hand. That takes time and lots of experience. But there is another way and that is to learn from others who have gone before you and done so successfully.

Here are some CEO tips I’d wish I had when I first became a CEO. This isn’t a clipping service from the latest books. It is a summary of what I have found through my 36 years in general management to be most important, augmented by some pearls of wisdom from many other CEOs. When you have the time, read all the books. Better still; hire a smart business advisor consultant to provide the depth to these ideas.

You will note that there are some questions for you at the end of each section that relate to that section. Answer them. The only way to learn and make these tips worthwhile is to apply them to your business.

1 What’s my job? What am I responsible for?

While ultimately it can be said that the CEO is responsible for everything, there are several key leadership responsibilities that fit for CEOs of companies of all sizes. You are going to find, if you haven’t found already, that you like me are being pulled into many, many activities and issues that really can be handled by someone else. Be vigilant, because each will erode your time on the really important areas that only you as CEO can handle.

Setting strategy and vision.

The CEO is the owner of the vision and the strategies on how to make that vision a reality. No one else in your company can play this role. The senior management team can help develop strategy. The Board and investors can approve a business plan but the CEO ultimately sets the direction.

Vision is your concept of the future of your business, how you perceive and experience the future of your company right now, in the present. A powerfully held and shared vision energizes and inspires people. Vision is the vital catalyst that multiplies the efforts people put into their work, and intensifies and enlarges the effect of those efforts. Getting big is all about how one thinks. It is just as easy to have a big dream as it is to have a small dream.

“Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.”

James Allen

“Dream Big and Kick Ass.”

Donald Trump

“It was just about a little over 30 years ago when I started Microsoft. That was based on a vision that the microprocessor, the computer on a chip, combined with great software that we saw ourselves and other companies doing, could create something magical, a tool of empowerment.”

Bill Gates

What is your vision for your company? Does it stretch you and your company or is it just comfortable?

Core Purpose is the organization’s reason for being.

3M To solve unsolved problems innovatively Mary Kay Cosmetics To give unlimited opportunity to women

HP To make technical contributions for the advancement and welfare of humanity Nike To experience the emotion of competition, winning and crushing competitors

Merck To preserve and improve human life

Walt Disney To make people happy

Sony To experience the joy of advancing and applying technology for the benefit of the public

Wal-Mart To give ordinary folk the chance to buy the same things as rich people

Building culture.

If vision is where the company is going, values tell how the company gets there. Values outline acceptable behavior. Work gets done through people, and people are profoundly affected by culture. A great place to work can attract and retain the very best and a terrible place to work can drive away high performers. Culture is built in many ways, and the CEO sets the tone. His every action-or inaction-sends cultural messages. People take their cues about interpersonal values-trust, honesty, openness-from CEO’s actions as well.

“Culture isn’t one aspect of the game – it is the game!” Lou Gerstner – ex IBM CEO

“Good values attract good people.” John Wooden

Have you been clear on the core values and operating principles for your company? What are they?

Core values are essential and enduring tenets of an organization. A small set of timeless guiding principles that require no external justification but have intrinsic value and importance to those inside the organization.

Merck

* Corporate social responsibility

* Unequivocal excellence in all aspects of the company

* Science based innovation

* Honesty and integrity

* Profit but profit from work that benefits humanity

Nordstrom

* Service to the customer above all else

* Hard work and individual productivity

* Never be satisfied

* Excellence in reputation; being part of something special

Sony

* Elevation of the Japanese culture and national status

* Being a pioneer – not following others; doing the impossible

* Encouraging individual ability and creativity

Walt Disney

* No Cynicism

* Nurturing and promulgation of wholesome American values

* Creativity dreams and imagination

* Fanatical attention to consistency and detail

* Preservation and control of the Disney magic

Team-building.

The CEO hires, fires, and leads the senior management team. They, in turn, hire, fire, and lead the rest of the organization. The CEO sets direction by communicating the strategy and vision of where the company is going. With clear direction, the team can rally together and make it happen. As the leader of the leaders, the CEO has to make them function smoothly together.

“Build for your team a feeling of oneness, of dependence upon one another and of strength to be derived from unity.” Vince Lombardi

“Surround yourself with people of integrity and get out of their way” Hector Ruiz – CEO of AMD

How well is your team functioning and is everyone pulling their weight?

Capital allocation.

The CEO sets budgets, funds projects which support the strategy and ramps down projects which lose money or don’t support the strategy. He considers carefully the company’s major expenditures, and manages the firm’s capital. Some CEOs don’t consider themselves financial people, but at the end of the day, it is their decisions that determine the company’s financial fate. Sound decisions are key to your profitability and long term success. No surprise here!

“Business isn’t about the score of the game you played in the last quarter or the last year. It’s probably about decisions you made three or five years ago, and how well you were able to adjust your course.” John Chambers, CEO, Cisco

On what basis do you make capital decisions and how does the need for quarterly results impact your longer term thinking and plans?

“Manage your top line of strategy, people and products and your bottom line will take care of itself.” Steve Jobs – CEO Apple

2 It’s the people. It’s the people. It’s all about the people.

Work gets done through people. They create the products, the processes and the revenue. They manage the customers, they manage the resources and they activate the strategies and plans. They bring the vision alive and actualize it. They should be your most valuable resource.

“A leader is judged in terms of what others do to obtain the results he is placed there to get.” Vince Lombardi

Historically, most companies hired good people, trained them and kept them for many years. Loyalty went both ways. They followed a philosophy like these ones at Procter & Gamble and GE.

“I know that the single biggest contribution I will make to this company is helping the next generation of leaders become the best that they can be.” “My job is to unleash the creativity, initiative, leadership, and productivity of P&G people. They are the leaders who’ve delivered the results.” AG Lafely, Procter &Gamble CEO

“Before you are a leader, success is all about growing yourself. When you become a leader, success is about growing others.” Jack Welch Ex CEO of GE

“If you leave us our money, our buildings and our brands but take away our people, the company will fail. But if you take away our money, our buildings and our brands but leave us our people, we can rebuild the whole thing in less than a decade.” Procter &Gamble CEO Richard R Dupree 1947

That philosophy is no longer the case for many companies. Meaningful development plans no longer exist, particularly for the CEO. That means you need a plan that recruits the right person for the job and moves them out quickly when they are no longer right. Half a body is worse than no body at all. It means far more work to do anything through someone who isn’t in tune and it lulls you into a false set of security since you don’t have a ready hole to fill. Plus you are paying for the full measure while only getting part. Training and development takes time and money. The “hire, admire and fire” is also quite expensive when all the costs are added in, including the loss of the intellectual capital that goes out the door each time. Be careful in your strategic selection.

“Recognize the skills and traits you don’t possess and hire people who have them.” Howard Schultz – Starbucks

In either philosophy, a critical action is selecting “A” players and having them in key positions. An “A” player is someone who consistently excels and goes beyond expectations, reinventing and improving new situations. They take initiative, and that they exhibit purposeful action. No organization can have all “A” players, but “A” players have to be in the key positions for the organization to be successful. The responsibility of the CEO is to understand which positions within the company are key positions and to insure that the business has “A” players in all key positions in the company. Then have fully functioning “B” players in the other roles to support them. Move out the “C” players to other companies and opportunities where their talents will allow them to become “A” or “B” players there.

“Life with top players is heaven! Life without top players is not life at all. It is hell!” All managers of non playoff teams

What are your people plans?

How are you nourishing them so that they deliver above average results?

3 Show me the roadmap to your vision. You have to have a written plan.

Strategy is about figuring out what is really important and what you can do to influence it. Businesses are a complex network of issues but there are only a few things that really make the difference in the marketplace. I have found that the majority of CEO’s with whom I speak may have a plan but most don’t have it written down. My findings are supported by the Association for Strategic Planning with 63% of companies not having a strategic plan at all. Most have simple short term plans but not much more than a half year. Your plan has to be written in order to really take hold and bring your organization in support. It must cause you to identify the key targets and the plans that will deliver them. It will harness your scarce resources and dictate how to use them most effectively. It aligns the work of your employees. It keeps you on track!

“When I am on that speedway, you had better believe that my team and I are following a written plan that we have developed for success. I am going far too fast to just wing it.” Dale Earnhardt

There are many reasons given for not taking the time to make the investment in developing a strategic plan. Most have to do with time and other priorities. Some companies foolishly believe that their industry is different. It is changing too fast for a plan to be meaningful. Not so! Believe me this is the most productive and beneficial activity you can do for your company and yourself by a long shot. You need a written plan in a format that is useable.

“You shouldn’t expect to walk into a new leadership job with an established strategic plan. Rather you should walk in prepared to lead a strategic process.” Dave Peterschmidt – CEO of Securify and previously Sybase

What is your plan? Is it clear, concise understandable and actionable? Is it a living document that can be modified as you reach milestones or circumstances change? Do you even have a written long term plan? If not, when?

4 Who are you? What is the brand YOU?

As the old wise marketing guru said ” Branding is the essence of successful marketing.”

Brand equity is a precious gem. While not particularly rare it can be very valuable. So how do you tap into this treasure?

Consumers and customers don’t buy products or companies they buy brands. They form relationships with brands. The performance of your company or product, what it does and how it does it, is the core identity for the brand. The brand also has a distinctive personality and character that makes an emotional and trust based connection with the customer and distinguishes it from competitive brands.

“What Is a Customer Relationship? It is an on going conversation in which the customer never thinks of you without thinking of the two of you.”

Tom Peters

What does Peters mean when he says the customer thinks of the two of you? I believe that he means that you have established such a positive relationship with that customer that they consider you to be instrumental in their business success. Therefore you are bonded and the equity you have established is very strong.

Brand equity can provide strategic advantages to your company in many ways

o Indicator of quality. (Coke vs. cola.)

o Command a price premium. (Intel vs. AMD)

o Simplify the decision process for low-cost products. (Kleenex vs. facial tissue)

o Give comfort by reducing the perceived risk. (Beringer vs. Two Buck Chuck)

o Maintain higher awareness and included in most consumers’ consideration set. (Microsoft, Ipod)

o Strong defense against competition.

Brand names are company assets that must be invested in, protected and nurtured to maximize their long-term value to your company. Brands have many of the same implications as capital assets (like equipment and plant purchases) on a company’s bottom line, including the ability to be bought and sold and the ability to provide strategic advantages.

“What you ARE shouts so loudly in my ears I cannot hear what you say.”

Ralph Waldo Emerson

“Your brand is not what you say you are, but what your customer thinks you are.”

Steve Yastro

When people think of your company what image comes to mind?

5 “What’s in it for me” – Your Customer

This isn’t just a song by Faith Hill. It is a way of life for your customers. They don’t care about you and your business issues. They are interested in what makes their life better. How can you or your product help them? Yes they want a great price and they want value but most of all they want that emotional benefit that says this fills MY needs. It isn’t always the best product from a logical standpoint. The emotion is also important and needed. Think about it.

“People don’t want a quarter inch drill. They want a quarter inch hole.”

Theodore Levitt

Value is what the consumer says it is. This is where a brand has to walk the talk.

“It’s the EXPERIENCE, stupid!”

as James Carvel might have said

Customer satisfaction = Your performance

Customer Expectations

Research shows that people want:

o To have you really know what they want and need

o To be treated with respect and to be listened to

o Not be bounced around and treated like dummies

o Not be served by people who don’t know their stuff

o To have products that fill those needs

Find out what customers want from you and know that what you are providing matches it. Do the research and don’t guess. Deliver what you say you will. Far too many businesses focus on ways to keep customers, only to lose sight of the fact that their product or service simply isn’t what it should be. Stop talking about features and start talking about benefits. The benefits to the customer. The benefits make a customer, YOUR customer. Make yourself more valuable to your customers, become a part of their world. Give them the five star treatment and they will give you five star loyalty.

“Call it “loyalty” or “customer intimacy”. Come hell or high water, get close to that customer, listen to that customer, and love up that customer for all you’re worth”.

Tom Peters

How do you measure your customers’ loyalty and what are you doing to drive it ahead?

6 “Stick with what you are good at.”

That means your core competencies. A core competency is something that a firm can do well and that provides customer benefits, is hard for competitors to imitate and can be leveraged widely to many products and markets. Clearly these provide a competitive advantage…if you stick to them and use them.

Your strategic plan should identify your core competencies and how to use them most effectively. Most fall into three overall categories of strategic focus. They are low price, technological advantage and customer service. Within each of those are many more specific core competencies that enable the company to deliver on that particular strategic focus.

Here is an example of what can happen when you don’t do this and I know that all of you have seen similar examples.

Garo Yepremian, Miami Dolphins field goal kicker, despite all of his success, is remembered by many people for an embarrassing incident in Super Bowl VII. Yepremian was sent in to kick a field goal. The field goal attempt was blocked and Yepremian managed to get to the ball. He picked it up and attempted to throw a pass. The ball slipped from his hands and went into the arms of Redskins cornerback Mike Bass, who returned it for a touchdown.

In the 1990s, Sears Roebuck divested itself of Allstate Insurance, Dean Witter, and its real estate brokerage activities to focus on its core competency, which was retailing general merchandise.

Wendy’s is divesting Tim Hortons doughnuts.

Chainsaw Al Dunlop divested almost everything in his companies but that’s another story.

“What it will come down to…is that we will try to do what we do best. We will go with our strengths.”

Vince Lombardi

Green Bay had the pulling guards, Kramer and Thurston, and gave the ball to Jim Taylor or Paul Horning on a sweep. They won 5 NFL titles and the first two Super Bowls.

“Baseball was okay but let’s get back to the court with the Bulls.”

Michael Jordon

What are your personal core competencies?

What are the core competencies of your company?

7 Do it. Just do it

A great Nike slogan that reached a lot of people and established Nike’s reputation in athletic wear. But it is much more than that. It is a call to action. To actually employ the people and the leadership teams in the culture that has been created. To capitalize on the capital you have invested and the brands created. To be meaningful to your customers, to fill their needs and to do it through your significant strengths. You just have to do it. A good plan in the market has a far better chance of successful impact than a great plan still being developed

“The thing that keeps me awake in this business is the speed at which you have to move.”

Robert Nardelli CEO Home Depot

Many CEO’s get to the top based on their success at making decisions. However, once at the top there is the realization that the decisions are different. At all other levels in the company on important decisions all you could say is no to the project. If you agreed with the idea or recommended project, it went up the line to the next level of authority for their concurrence. Now, at the CEO level, you’re it. You make that “Yes” decision. The final decision is yours!

“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

Wayne Gretzsky

But there can be a reluctance to actually make that decision. It can be seen in some of the following actions:

o Paralysis by analysis.

o Do more research.

o Send it to a committee for further study.

All of these are delays in the decision making process and all cause the company’s progress to slow or stall. Often times they come under the umbrella thought of “We will do this when things settle down.” Guess what?? Things never settle down. So get on with it and start driving your business forward.

“Get out of your own way … Your success depends on it.”

Bill Gates Microsoft

How are you doing? Are you poised for action or are you treading water at the moment? What is keeping you from driving ahead?

Summary

There are many other tips that can be added in subsequent wrings but these are the most important in my experience. Put these tips to use for you and your company.

1 What’s my job? What am I responsible for?

2 It’s the people. It’s all about the people.

3 The roadmap to your vision.

4 Who are you? What is the brand YOU?

5 “What’s in it for me” – Your Customer

6 Stick with what you are good at.

7 Do it. Just do it!

I’d offer you one more tip. It comes from consulting with the many clients I have been fortunate to assist. Invest in an expert to accelerate your progress. You read this article to get some tips to help you do a better job of being a CEO. Now make the investment to secure a good business advisor in whatever area where you know you need to focus. The ROI is substantial.

Do it today.

Remember, there is no rewind button on business or life.

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