April 2022 – New CEOs – Do Only the Things Only You Can Do

Being a CEO is tough.  But…what do they actually do, anyway?  Aren’t all of the other people at the company doing all of the actual work?  Maybe so, but we still need CEOs.  According to a McKinsey study, the things that CEOs do create 45 percent – almost half – of a company’s performance results.

But it’s lonely at the top, and even the board of directors doesn’t see and can’t offer advice on everything the CEO does.  HBR found that many CEOs were stunned that the competencies and experience that got them to the job in the first place weren’t all that applicable in their new role.  The job brings with it responsibility for decisions on big, existential challenges the likes of which probably hadn’t come up in previous roles.  Challenges such as global politics, the impacts of climate change – and pandemics and vaccination policies.

Sound like fun…?  The ex-CEO of marketing company Saatchi and Saatchi appears reluctant to recommend the job saying, “I just never want to be a chief executive ever again. It’s horrendous.”  And an article in Forbes outlines 5 Good Reasons NOT To Want To Be A CEO.

But for those who actually still want to do this, the McKinsey article outlines a series of mindsets and practices for CEO excellence, including the three below, along with an assessment guide and rating table.

  1. Do only what you can do. (and be OK leaving everything else to everyone else…)
  2. Center on the long-term ‘Why?’, and prioritize and shape from there.
  3. Focus on beating the odds, and reframe what winning means.

And what if now you really don’t want to be a CEO – ever?  You should still pay heed to the mindsets and practices, because regardless of your role as a business leader and manager, “the lessons of CEOs apply widely.”