Friday, August 9, 2013

Setting up your company for success!

So I've been reading some articles here and there about what are the top things that CEOs do or need to do in order to lead their companies in the right direction. It is definitely food for thought so I decided to chime in! Here are my suggestions for the top 3 things that CEOs should focus on in order to best set up a company for success.

  • Vision / Strategy - A great CEO should focus on ensure that the company has a strong vision and strategy in order to succeed. It can be too broad or too narrow. It has to be easily understood and easy to articulate. The "Vision" is a the company's purpose/goal. I've seen this somewhat overlap with a mission statement. The "Strategy" is the how behind that vision. For example, the airline company Southwest succeeds because of its low cost/high customer service strategy. They only fly 737s to lower maintenance costs and training costs. They only fly to less expensive airports (Midway vs. OHare)
  • Allocation - For me allocation is about how does one allocate both the dollars and the people in order to achieve the strategy. It's about looking at each function in the organization and determining if you have the right talent and is the company enabling them to succeed. For alignment - I have thought of the analogy of a compass. If you take 10 people put them in a room with no windows and tell them to go north, it will be a mess of confusion! Now give them each a compass. All 10 will point in the same direction. A CEO needs to make sure that the corporate leadership is acting like a compass so that the company as a whole is well aligned. 
  • Goal Alignment - CEOs are ultimately responsible for serving employees, shareholders, and customers. They should focus on standard operating mechanisms and metrics and managing the team against those goals. There needs to be a true sense of ownership across every single goal/metric across the business unit. It can't be "that's a marketing metric", "that's a sales metric". EVERY single person on the team needs to contribute and own the outcome and objective. Also, a CEO will need to ask the right questions and ensure that their team is communicating across functions and there is depth of thought. There are times when comments are made in a meeting that are presented as facts when they are beliefs. Alignment can take the form of clear objectives and metrics to consistently measure and discuss. Just be careful and these metrics don't create negative "selfish" behaviors that may meet the short term objectives but create a culture that won't sustain the company in the longer term.

There are a lot of other ideas in my head like culture, hiring, team building, etc. but those are the ones that bubbled to my head today! What did I miss?