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.