4 Key Factors to being a great CEO

This blog on leadership is focused on 4 key factors and 3 realities, read on…

Performance Contract – This is one of the most challenging aspects of leadership. Creating a win-win performance contract is critical to setting yourself and your company up for success. You want your VP’s, they want their manager, supervisors and they want the employees doing the actual work to buy in at all costs. If you are frustrated with your revenue, profits, individual or team performance have your direct reports take a blank piece of paper and draw a line from top to bottom and split the paper in half. The left side is ESSENTIAL and the right side is PREFERRED. Ask them to start listing all that they do and encourage them to fill the page.
Encourage them to do the same with those that they manage.

Organizational leaders must face three realities at once and engage in 3 fierce conversations:

Measurement – Now together, prioritize what is critical and time sensitive to reaching and exceeding job expectations and what is important and not time sensitive. Focus on the critical and drill down or up. Annual, quarterly, monthly, etc. or daily, weekly, monthly, etc. depending on whether you have a product to sell or service. Then list what are the key deliverables to reach the desired results. Whether it’s weekly or monthly depends on the degree of freedom or the complexity of the role on how tight or how lose the measurement cycle is. Everyone including yourself has a scorecard that should be transparent, including yours.

(1st Reality) What values do you stand for, and are there gaps between these values and how do you as an individual, team or company behave?

Feedback – Scheduled One-to-one’s with your direct reports at least monthly for 60 minutes. Have them start with twice a month 1-2-1’s as needed for several reasons. 1st, it’s the employees opportunity to report out results, individual or teams. You can see the gaps quicker the more frequently you connect. 2ndly, this is a great time to get to know, like and start trusting your team members. How much do you know about their family, hobbies and interest levels? What was the last book they read? What are they passionate about or where or what role do they feel they are qualified to assume when they deliver sustained performance where they are.

(2nd Reality) What are the skills and talents of your company and are there gaps between those recources and what the market demands?

Consequences – Here’s the rub.
• If you hire me to deliver a 1,000 widgets and I have a performance contract bonus. If I deliver 800, am I entitled to the bonus. Does the next period and 1,000 widgets now become 1.200 widgets?
• If you hire me to run your accounting department and I am unable to deliver your financials and Monthly KPI’s (Key Performance Indicators) Kraig Kramer http://www.ceotools.com have I met your expectations. If 3, 6 or 9 months go by and I am still not delivering, now what?

Currently, how many weeks or months go by where you accept less than acceptable performance from some of your direct reports and they as well to those that they supervise? So what part of the problem are you? The performance contract needs to state what is expected as well as the consequences. Your 1-2-1’s provide you a perfect time to find out what more is needed to deliver stated results. What additional resources do you need? You time is well spent because you are reinforcing agreed upon standards.

(3rd Reality) What opportunities does the future hold, and are there gaps between those opportunities and your ability to capitalize on them?

In closing, Steve Jobs gives employees a little speech when they’re promoted to Vice President at Apple, according to Adam Lashinsky in a new article in Fortune. Lashinsky calls it the “Difference Between the Janitor and the Vice President.”
Jobs tells the VP that if the garbage in his office is not being emptied regularly for some reason, he would ask the janitor what the problem is. The janitor could reasonably respond by saying, “Well, the lock on the door was changed, and I couldn’t get a key.”
An irritation for Jobs, for an understandable excuse for why the janitor couldn’t do his job. As a janitor, he’s allowed to have excuses. “When you’re the janitor, reasons matter,” Jobs tells newly minted VPs, according to Lashinsky.
“Somewhere between the janitor and the CEO, reasons stop mattering,” says Jobs, adding, that Rubicon is “crossed when you become a VP.”
In other words, you have no excuse for failure. You are now responsible for any mistakes that happen, and it doesn’t matter what you say.

Published by edstillman

I grew up in Carlsbad, north San Diego County, lost my dad as a teenager, went into the USAF for four years and hired on with 3M in 1969. Received my AA from Santa Barbara City College, BA and Masters from Redlands University and after 33 plus years, I retired from 3M in 2002. As I look back on my life, I have been creating myself and developing my skill sets to be a business coach and a Vistage Chair. I am president of SEOT, a "personal improvement" consulting firm spending most of my time working with Central Texas executives running small to medium size for-profit companies who are focusing on improving their profitability greater than their competition. My area of interest is assisting senior executives in creating a better balance between business commitments and personal relationships. I also facilatate three leadership labs each consisting of a dozen owners, presidents and CEOs. We meet monthly both in a group setting as well as in a 1-to-1 coaching session. Our focus is to sharpen each others' skills in becoming better leaders, making better decisions and taking ourselves and companies to that next level. Who are we? My members are experienced top executives who recognize that they don’t have all the answers and who actively seek the company of successful peers—both to give and receive insights and ideas. My members mine the 200 plus years of chief executive experience that comes together in our monthly meetings and members are eager to offer their own experience and insights in the process. As a group, we spend our time exploring topics members can't discuss anywhere else. My members have many other places where they can engage in idle, "cocktail party" chatter. Our mission is to provide the setting for discussing the "undiscussable." Where or who can you go to for confidential, honest feedback to assist you in minimizing your personal "Worry List"?

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