Values and practices that every CEO should incorporate into their management style.
Some may think that being a CEO is all about fancy dinners and golfing; but in reality, being a successful CEO demands vision, direction and determination to realize a company’s full potential. CEOs hold a lot of responsibility both for themselves and employees whose jobs depend on the success of the company. Here are 10 things that every CEO should put into practice.
Create a culture. Every company embodies its own distinct culture. Culture is what differentiates a job from a career; it motivates employees and makes them want to be an asset to the team. If the company’s environment, personnel and overall vibe is lacking, it can directly effect turnover and, therefore, productivity.
Vance Spilman, CEO of Rainbow Station, an early childhood education franchise, says that it all comes down to the staff.
“Build and demand a culture that emphasizes teamwork. No one individual is capable of outperforming a well-organized team,” Spilman said.
Have a mission. A mission is more than “This is what we do, now go do it.” It’s a clear message that directs staff members toward a common goal every day. CEOs not only create that mission, but they must make sure employees are on board and embody the company’s goals through quality of work and attitude.
Always do what’s right. This sounds easy, right? Unfortunately, many shades of gray linger between right and wrong. CEOs must exercise the skills needed to make decisions—often very quickly—that are right for both the business and its employees.
Listen to those that you serve. Listening is an extremely hard skill to be truly great at, but any effective CEO needs to excel in active listening.
Nick Powills, CEO of No Limit Agency, has seen a difference in client relationships through tested listening strategies.
“In 2014, we took a risk as a company: We started asking our clients to grade us,” said Powills. “Initially, I was uncomfortable with the idea (even though it was mine) because you never want to hear the negative. But, once I decided that the negative could be the game changer, we moved forward. Full transparency allows us to challenge ourselves and produce the best experience possible for our clients.”
Emphasize teamwork. Michael Mabry, CEO of MOOYAH Burgers, Fries & Shakes says one of the most important characteristics for CEOs to have is the ability to assemble a strong team. When a team is stressed or burnt out, it leads to increased sick days, reduced productivity, and relationship problems and more.
A good CEO needs to be aware of the team’s disposition so that stress doesn’t impact larger line items for the company like health-insurance costs, employee turnover and general engagement and happiness. A successful CEO must also realize that it is imperative to implement ongoing training, resources, benefits and incentives for employees.
Give employees ownership. Keeping employees motivated can be a job in itself, but it’s an important one to undertake. More often than not, employees truly want to be involved and invested into their jobs. By giving them the tools and resources to succeed, they will become invaluable assets to the organization.
Build meaningful relationships. Some believe that business and personal affairs should always be kept separate, but that line is very thin and often blurred. Powills disagrees with that mindset, though.
“I feel that everything is personal — this is our lives,” Powills said. “By building a friendship with our clients and peers, we have made our business real. Real people. Real relationships. The relationship piece is a vital part of our culture and our way of doing business.”
Always strive to be better. It may sound cliché, but a successful CEO never settles for the status quo. Truly great CEOs are always striving to exceed goals, improve productivity, make more money—their ambition is boundless. Being able to keep oneself and a staff motivated to excel is a sign of a successful CEO.
Give realistic and achievable expectations. CEOs are always setting and measuring goals—that’s a large part of their job. But a great CEO knows reasonable and achievable goals. A great goal should be defined, obtainable, actionable and supported.
Love what you do. Steve Jobs said, “The only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle.”
While some may not hold one overriding passion in life, it’s important to be doing something that’s fulfilling. Every job has great days and bad days, but pursuing a career that is challenging and engaging will ultimately be satisfying.
“It’s important to truly enjoy what you do so you don’t view your daily regimen as work,” said Spilman. “I love analyzing and refining business models and trying to identify and implement constructive changes. I have always been curious about all businesses and found that most successful CEOs share that same characteristic. It’s part of our DNA.”
Great CEOs know that success is not measured solely by the extraordinary skills they possess and offer an organization. They acknowledge that their employees are a large factor of their organization’s success. By being a thoughtful, engaged, motivating and caring leader, a good CEO can rise into a great CEO that truly wins at the game.