Stud­ies show that 80% of your bot­tom line is a func­tion of just one thing, exe­cut­ing with focus on a clear busi­ness strat­e­gy.  

How­ev­er, most CEO’s are so busy with email, phone calls, and inter­rup­tions they have lit­tle or no time for strat­e­gy.  We allow our­selves to become activ­i­ty junkies! It is easy to be seduced by our ‘to do lists’  because they make us feel com­pe­tent, impor­tant and use­ful.  

Con­verse­ly, strate­gic exe­cu­tion requires your head up, eyes for­ward and focused on the big pic­ture.  If 80% of your suc­cess comes from hav­ing your head up and look­ing for­ward, how much of your time should be focused there?  Cer­tain­ly more than the quar­ter­ly review most of us allow.

Accord­ing to Dan Wurten­berg­er, Vistage speak­er and Chair, there are only 3 Roles of the CEO:

  1. Chief of Strat­e­gy
  2. Chief Sales Ambas­sador
  3. Chief Builder of the Team

For vir­tu­al­ly all of us, the num­ber one bar­ri­er to focus­ing on these roles can be found with a quick look in the mir­ror.   We have to change. We have to let go of the guilt we expe­ri­ence from  let­ting oth­ers run the inside and face our fear of what may hap­pen when they do. We have to let our teams suc­ceed.

All com­pa­nies have to do three things:

  1. Inno­vate
  2. Cus­tomize your prod­uct or ser­vice to your mar­ket
  3. Have oper­a­tional excel­lence

As the Chief of Strat­e­gy, your job is to pick one of these three strate­gies as your pri­ma­ry focus and exe­cute.  That means when a juicy new deal comes your way, but it is cen­tered on oper­a­tional excel­lence and you are a cus­tom shop, you pass. That is hard to do, but that focus gives you the growth edge to become the best in your mar­ket.

As the Chief Sales Ambas­sador, your job is to know your top cus­tomers.  Form rela­tion­ships with them, let them know they are impor­tant to your busi­ness, and stay in touch.   That means 1/3rd of the time you are out of your office and in to see one of your key accounts.

As the Chief Builder of the Team, your num­ber one job is to focus your hir­ing so that you are in the behav­ior selec­tion busi­ness, not the behav­ior change busi­ness.  

You can nev­er change the behav­ior of any­one.  So be smart, and pro­file the behav­ior of your best peo­ple in each depart­ment.  Make those behav­iors the key cri­te­ria for hir­ing.  Deter­mine your pro­file by obser­va­tion, not by think­ing it thru. Real­ly pay atten­tion and ask ques­tions of your star play­ers as to what they do and why they do it.

As soon as some­one is select­ed, give them the out­comes you want to see in 90 days, 6 months, 1 year and 3 years. Define the expec­ta­tion and mea­sure their achieve­ment.  Have each per­son report their results to the rest of the team week­ly.  (This is a cor­ner­stone of our Pros­per­i­ty INC process)  Num­bers com­mu­ni­cate.  They com­mu­ni­cate even more pow­er­ful­ly when they are con­vert­ed to graphs.  Make your reports graph­i­cal, easy to read and quick to deter­mine when some­one is on or off goal.

Offer your team month­ly or semi- month­ly coach­ing ses­sions. That is when they show up and seek your advice on how to reach their goals.

The best com­pa­nies are grow­ing com­pa­nies.  We need growth to pro­vide oppor­tu­ni­ties for our team, to fund ini­tia­tives and inno­va­tion and to smooth the bumps along the way.  Most impor­tant­ly, we need growth to deliv­er a fair return on equi­ty for own­er­ship risk.  

If you are going to grow, you are going to have to detox off being an activ­i­ty junkie and get your head up and look­ing for­ward.