The one thing a CEO must get right

Increasingly there is positive economic news in Australia. The Reserve Bank has announced that it sees the beginning of an upswing. Rio Tinto has announced a good profit season, and gold and nickel prices have propelled Kalgoorlie back to heights not seen for 10 years.

This is pleasurable though unsurprising. A rebound had to occur at some stage. The surprise comes from the length of time it has taken for many leaders to pull themselves out of the doldrums and take confident action.  There seems to be a direct correlation between the way a CEO sees their role, the way decisions are made, and the speed at which a firm will take action.

What seems to drive the speed of success is the extent the CEO sees himself as responsible for the firm’s results. Many CEO’s believe their responsibility is to get stuff done. Great CEO’s know that this is a fallacy. Great CEOs know that their role is to ensure that good decisions are made, and are implemented without delay and in this way, they will keep the firm on track.

“Great CEOs know that their role is to ensure that good decisions are made and are implemented without delay”

Well-informed decisions require a depth of knowledge which is unlikely to be held in one head alone. Granted, only one person can make the final decision because only one person can be held accountable for the results of that decision, but many people should be involved in ensuring that the quality of the information is of the highest standards and is appropriate for the problem at hand. For decisions which will impact the firm’s strategic direction the decision maker must be the CEO. No one else. He or she is responsible for ensuring actions are taken which will set the firm up for future success. Whether the decision is made on majority, or another way depends on the CEO and the way he has built the team around him.

This is where role confusion can arise.

Many a CEO is caught in the belief that they are responsible for the firm’s results. That is wrong. Everyone is responsible for how the firm performs. No one can shoulder the burden of every task in the firm, its humanely impossible. For the CEO’s who believe they have to do so, and act accordingly, it is a lonely, stressful and fiscally risky role.

The CEO’s job is simple. It is to keep the firm on track to its goals.

That’s all.

Granted successful strategy execution is not easy nor is it for the faint hearted but it should be fun.  If it isn’t then there is likely some confusion in the CEOs role profile.

My challenge to you today:  Evaluate your last 6 months activities. Are you better at getting things done, or ensuring good decisions are made and implemented without delay? Evaluate the opportunities this knowledge gives you and take action.

Let me know how you go.


Jennifer is a strategy implementation coach who helps leaders turn their strategies into results.

She assists executives and business owners to achieve goals such as improved profit, productivity, leadership skills, business value. Her services are Business and Executive Coaching, Group Facilitation, Strategic Planning, and advising on Board Governance.

 To find out how she can help you, call +61 439 520 182 or email.