If employees are the blood of the organization, then the CEO is its heart.A successful CEO is a person who takes risk, is passionate about their job and can inspire others around them. They are not afraid to stick with what they feel is right. It is this instinctual, gut feeling that guides them and the companies they lead in the right direction towards success. This is what we call CEO Self-Awareness.
The responsibilities of a CEO are dynamic, complex and differ from one company to the next. It is estimated that the average company leader has over 70 crucial markers he or she is expected to watch in his or her business every day. Whether you are a CEO, executive, entrepreneur or aspiring to be any of these, here’s a few of those to keep at the top of your list.
CEO Self Awareness – Joining a New Company
Mindy Grossman, CEO of HSN, treated herself like a regular employee on the first day. She took the same orientation that new employees take on their first day, as well. She met all the managers, toured all the departments, and got a sense of how things are run by seeing and speaking with everyone. You get context on how to articulate what it is you need to do to get the company going. Whether it is your first day or you have been at the company for over a decade, it always helps to take a step back and approach it with a fresh perspective. No better perspective than that of the employee’s.
Employees are very aware of what is going on in the organization. When they see you treat yourself like them, you become human. Let them know why you are there, and why you are passionate about the future of this company. Sharing a personal story or experience which inspired you to join the company, will make the people working there relate and recognize that your commitment to the company is authentic. When the people feel that you are accessible and authentic, only then will they commit to making your mission and vision a reality.
If offered a place in a company, do due diligence and research the company for at least a week before giving an answer. Ask yourself, is this something that interests you? Does its values agree with you? Don’t rule out a business just because you haven’t heard of it before. Ask around and do some research, as it may offer a place which resonates with your passion and values.
CEO Self Awareness – Building a culture
Igniting the culture, being believable and setting a vision is what changes the entire business dynamic. But you cannot have a long-term, sustainable company unless you have an engaged culture. Make employee engagement the number one priority of the enterprise while constructing the business strategy. You want your employees to be proud of what they’re doing. They’re your most effective sales team when they talk to their neighbors, family, and friends about their job.
From the very start, make your expectations very clear to the entire company. Some will be right on board once they hear your ideas, others will be apprehensive and wait a while before seeing and believing in your vision, but there may be some who are blockers. These are the individuals you see still sitting down at the end of the famous ‘leadership’ video. While everyone else is joining in on your dance, they will remain sitting no matter what. They don’t believe in your vision nor are willing to be part of it and create a toxic environment in the workplace.
CEO Self Awareness – Inspiring a Vision
The first thing on your agenda to make your company successful is to inspire everyone around a vision. It is an essential ability to set a vision, bring people along with you and inspire them to get there. Hold an event or meeting which narrates the vision, mission, strategy of the company and how you plan to get there. Set bold goals, but give people the path to get there. Don’t just put them out there without the strategy.
Make the team feel like they have a mission, not a job. A mission which will change the face of the business and make a significant impact in the industry. Being part of that mission excites people and makes them want to continue working to see their goals achieved.
A happy and loyal employee continues doing their job if they are satisfied with the culture, their colleagues, and being connected with people both inside and outside the company. People want to be part of a company of firsts; a company that innovates.
CEO Self Awareness – Find the Drive
To understand your employees well, you need to know what drives them; what brings them to work every day? The best way to find out is to ask them. Not under the spotlight in a performance review meeting, but in an informal, casual setting like a lunch roundtable. Work up your conversations to understand why they are here and what keeps them working at your organization. You’d be surprised to learn more from these conversations than performance reports, and will better gauge the pulse of the company by understanding what keeps them going.
CEO Self Awareness – Hitting a Rough Patch
Sometimes the biggest challenges transport you to the biggest places. Imagine getting offered the job of a CEO at a company where the last 5 have quit in a space of 7 years. Although heading a firm which has hit a rough patch might be the last thing you should do, you should give it a chance. The experience will transform you for the better. As Henry Ford once said, “Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again, only, this time, more intelligently.”
The culture of a company which has had a high executive turnover freezes. The employees lose faith and are wary of new management. The disruptive environment lacks strategy and direction and as a result, performance suffers. You may need to shake things up to help the company out of its slump.
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