We all have experienced a variety of CEO’s throughout our working lives. Some inspire you to work with their creativity and some scare you to death with their over-bearing management style. Based upon my experience though the key to having employees follow you is to have a clear vision of where you and the organization are going. This requires the CEO to make tough decisions and perhaps more importantly, to stand behind those decisions. Your team needs to believe that you have a plan and that you are going to make sure that the team pulls together to execute that plan.
We have all heard the saying that your organization should not be a “rudderless ship”, or be like a person drowning, flailing about, and hoping against hope to survive somehow. The best way to avoid that is to spend some time planning every day for the day, week, month, quarter, and so on. What are the projects you and the team are working on today that will set you up for success in the future? Which are most important (will generate the most revenue or save the most costs)? Which are sucking up resources but going nowhere? As the CEO you must decide and once you decide you must get the team to execute. More importantly, all of your decisions should be consistent with your plan. In short, you must DECIDE.
Define goals. Before you set out to accomplish something you have to know what you are going to consider a success or failure and specifically how you are going to measure that. Don’t just say I want to successfully launch a new website in a related industry every month. You should establish that you are going to launch a site in X days, using X resources, that will drive X number of visitors and ultimately drive an X% increase in revenue.
Evaluate resources. You need to spend time considering what it’s going to take to accomplish the goals you defined. Do you have enough employees to complete the site launch on time? Do you have the writers, designers, and tech people you need? Assuming you will get it built, are you sure there is a market for the site that will drive the number of visitors and revenue you need? You have to dig in and do your research here otherwise you could be setting the team up to fail.
Collaborate. One great way to get buy-in from the team is to involve them in the definition and research process. Having them take ownership of your ideas, plans, and goals is a great way to empower and motivate them. It also makes it infinitely easier to get them to follow your direction. Plus, it’s also important to get different points of view to validate the goals and research you have performed thus far in the decision making process.
Innovate. Once you have a goal, evaluate it and, and then collaborate with the team. Now you have to figure out what the “hooks” are that are going to make what you are doing stand out and be more likely to succeed. So in our example of launching sites why does the new site deserve to exist? What value does it bring to users that they can’t already get? You need to explore the faults as well in your plans. If you are fortunate enough to have a different viewpoint on your team, leverage that as well.
Direct. Once you have followed the steps above it is time to break up the work required in order to get everything done on time and on budget. You might create a project plan or you might just simply have a list of tasks that need to get done. It doesn’t really matter as long as you know who is supposed to be doing what, when, and how. Without clear direction here all of the work up to this point will be for nothing.
Execute. The final step gets to where you will have even more decisions to take because as the CEO you are ultimately responsible for whether or not the team executes plans. However, if you have gone through the steps above this should be academic. Everyone will already know what to do and why they are doing it. That leaves you with only needing to take any decisions that may be in a gray area or spur of the moment things that the team didn’t consider in the previous phases.
The best reason to stand behind your decisions is because they make sense when you step back and look at the big picture (which is where you are going into as an organization). If you can keep that in mind with every decision you make, then you are much more likely to be the CEO of a successful organization (at least as measured by your standards).
Ken Myers is a father, husband, and entrepreneur. He has combined his passion for helping families find in-home care with his experience to build a business. Learn more about him by visiting @KenneyMyers on Twitter.