A few weeks ago, I shared a few points on how every CEO can, “Get Out of the Weeds and Grow Your Business, pt. 1.” This week, I continue the conversation with Part 2…
Why every CEO benefits from getting out of the day to day operations and into strategy (and moving the business forward through culture, vision, and consistent revenue streams)
Culture is critical and must be intentional
Company culture is an important part of a company’s success, and it doesn’t happen by chance. Because of its importance, and its integral part to your firm’s success, I believe it is vitally important to be intentional about your culture. Culture is not just an open office and cool decoration; rather it is the expression of the intent of the people working in the firm – an attitude and a work ethic.
Who are you going to hire?
Coming out of business school I initially believed that business was all about the numbers. I now think I had it backward. Business is all about the people, and the people make the numbers. Be very intentional about your hiring, and bring people to your organization with diverse backgrounds and knowledge. You should be hiring people that know more about their particular area of specialty better than you do. Hire really smart people who are a great cultural fit. They will be part of the solution.
Do you have an awesome accounting team?
People make the numbers. Numbers are our scorecard. It is critically important to use accounting data as a tool to better run your business. That means getting timely, accurate, and relevant reports.
You will be making decisions based on this information, and if you get good data I trust you will make good decisions. Accounting is not a place to skimp in your organization.
Do you have dashboard reporting?
From your accounting team and other departments, you may develop regular dashboard style reporting that allows you to know how things are going in your organization at a glance.
I like to put my coaching clients on a weekly dashboard report that is emailed to the CEO by the close of business every Friday. That means no matter where the CEO is, data can be quickly reviewed, and questions raised and addressed. More sophisticated dashboards will utilize exception reporting highlighting areas that are out of pre-established norms.
What are you doing to constantly improve the leadership and knowledge of your team?
How are you working to improve your people? As the CEO of a business that trains and develops business leaders, I, of course, believe in constant improvement and investment in people. More importantly, do you?
How do you keep moving forward in a rapidly changing environment? Keep investing in your people, and they will invest in you.
Are you innovating?
Change is the only thing that seems for sure. Today the rate of change is rapid. Innovate or die is absolutely true – you and your firm must stay ahead of the game. What products or services will your customers need in the future?
Spend some time with them brainstorming on the challenges they see in their firms coming down the pipe and help them innovate solutions to those challenges.
Take a break – take periodic breaks
If you are not taking breaks from your business you are likely becoming stale and stagnant. I am a big believer in removing yourself from the work environment and experiencing the world. The more different from your typical workday the better the experience and impact will be. A CEO should take at least a week off per quarter.
One-to-ones with your direct reports
One of my friends, Dr. Lawrence King, taught me a process for working with my direct reports on a monthly strategic level surrounding the employee’s development. Essentially his recommendation is to meet with all of your direct reports on a monthly frequency for a non-operational meeting.
He suggests a four to eight point agenda developed by the employee on anything that is important to them – one item must be of strategic nature to the business.
One-to-ones with yourself
This is the same as above. The CEO should find a quiet and uninterrupted monthly time that they can work on a similar agenda by themselves. Time thinking strategically is work and should be incorporated into your work repertoire.
Hold your team (both internal and external) accountable for results
Result count! In a transparent and methodical fashion discuss with your team the results of your business – good, bad, or ugly. Please do not allow any elephants to remain in the room. This is a terrific opportunity to discuss what is working and what is not; and to create a forum that will implement necessary changes.
Measure, benchmark, and share
What gets measured gets results. Measure, discuss, and adjust. You will like the results. I am a fan of making important data public within a firm.
Allowing your employees to see the data provides a sense of how the firm is performing, and more importantly gives the employees the information they need to improve performance.
Participate in industry trade groups
You can learn a lot about what is going on in your space by participating. You make great contacts and learn best practices. Travel and attend your industry conferences.
It will provide a welcome break from the operation of your business, and it will allow you a space to think strategically.
Participate in a peer advisory board
It is lonely at the top. Surround yourself with a group of peers that all have the same job as you from diverse industries. You will get new ideas, and get an unbiased look into your blind spots. Top-tier peer advisory boards, like Catapult Groups, provide world-class business education and coaching to your local market.
Brad Mishlove is a graduate of the USC Marshall School of Business and is a fourth generation entrepreneur. Having managed his own entities, including multi-million dollar concrete, landscape, and trucking firms, Mishlove formed Catapult Groups in 2011 to provide leadership training and business coaching to CEOs in a confidential and collaborative environment.