Posted by: Christian CEO | May 5, 2010

Developing your own CEO system

If you’ve got a business that is growing fast, or you’re just finding more and more on your CEO plate, and your feeling like the guy at the circus who tries to keep all those plates up and spinning without letting any of them crash to the ground, you need to think about creating your own CEO system.

What might this CEO system look like and what might be the benefits of such a system?  The secret to a great CEO system is to look at your company with strategic and tactical eyes and to think about what kind of high-function actions on your part, will actually mature your company in the greatest possible way.  That maturing might include growing in regards to number of clients or staff, or increasing quality, or increasing the number and variety of products and services offered.  The bottom line is, you as the key leader of the organization need to get more organized if you’re going to deliver quality to your customers and provide  inspiration for your employees.  You’ll also be happier in your job and so will your employees.  Here are four steps to begin developing your own CEO system:

IT’S ALL ABOUT THE CALENDAR

  1. Strategic Planning – place on your annual calendar the dates and times of all meetings you need to have regarding strategic planning (e.g.; meeting with planning facilitator before strategic planning session(s), meeting of your staff to complete actual corporate strategic plan, quarterly meetings to evaluate strategic planning progress, end of year meeting to assess the effectiveness of the implementation of the plan, quality meeting prior to the beginning of next years planning process which allows your team to modify last years planning approach.)  That’s approximately eight meetings.  If you think about it, you can actually pre-write the basic agendas for each one of these meetings.  Use PPTO (People, Process, Technology/Tools, Outcomes) for planning any meeting (i.e.; People necessary for accomplishing outcomes of meeting, Process to be followed during meeting to produce the stated outcome(s), Tools/Technology necessary to accomplish outcomes, Outcomes expected by end of meeting.)
  2. Staff Development – each one of your staff members as an individual and as part of a group, needs to have an appropriate amount of time with you as their boss.  Place on your annual calendar each meeting with each staff member and denote what kind of meeting it will be (e.g.; quarterly/annual review, status update, breakthrough thinking session, career development session, etc…)  Start with the basics and continue to mature your staff development process.  As before, you can establish a basic agenda for each one of these meetings utilizing the previously mentioned PPTO.
  3. Tactical Systems Development – since you as CEO are developing your own CEO system to help you effectively lead the company, each of your staff members should have their own leadership system to manage all that they are responsible for.  Begin coaching each of your staff members on how to create their own system of planning, staff development and tactical/operational systems development.  Each of your staff members will become more efficient and effective in what they do as a leader and manager when they begin to look at their annual calendar and begin laying out a plan to make the most important things happen at your firm.
  4. Once you’ve laid out these first steps, the final step is to seriously consider the big rocks that are your personal responsibility.  Look at your last month’s tasks and ask yourself which of these tasks DID NOT contribute to making a real difference to your organization for the long term and will not significantly contribute to next year’s efforts.  These tasks must be either delegated, discarded or deployed somewhere else.  The important idea here is for you, as CEO, to be involving yourself with mostly high-functioning tasks (tasks appropriate for you as the key leader of the organization) and for your staff and your administrative support people to take on what would be considered a low-functioning task for you as CEO.  This may sometimes mean that you need to give up some menial tasks that you like to do, but contribute little to nothing to your company’s overall progress (Oh, I know, I don’t have any of those either! hah).  In addition to eliminating the low-functioning tasks from your schedule, your staff must take on some of your low-functioning tasks which are (or should) be high-functioning tasks for them.  They, in turn, must delegate, discard or deploy elsewhere their low-functioning tasks to their staff.  If you and your staff have trouble doing this, consider what value the high-functioning tasks will bring to your organization in the near and long term future and then go get the additional support needed to pick up some of the more rudimentary tasks that will just not get done without additional people.  Consider the possibility of outsourcing some of these tasks to lower cost personnel.  There are firms situated around the world who will take on these tasks for very low costs.

Now imagine if everyone was being held to this higher-functioning standard and no excuses were allowed to hinder driving the quality and dependability of the firm to the highest standard possible.  The idea of being part of an organization that emphasizes high-function work will also keep your turnover low.  Most employees will never experience an environment like this and will therefore be reluctant to leave your organization and join another firm.

Well, there you have the basic framework to developing your own CEO system.  It’s time to assess your situation honestly and begin being a better steward with the great gift God has given you in your business.  There is a better way and it begins with you and how you’re scheduling your time.  Stop with the sand and gravel tasks and get going on the big rocks that will really make a difference for the Kingdom.  If you continue along a path of occupying your time with low-function tasks and keep trying to spin all the plates yourself, eventually several of those plates will start crashing to the ground.  If you need any help, please don’t hesitate to contact me.  I’d be happy to help you along the way.

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