Thursday, October 24, 2013

The 28 Most Valuable Lessons I Learned As a CEO

As a CEO…

1. Decide whether you want to be a creative leader who takes some calculated risks or a manager who maintains the status quo. Once you decide that, don’t allow your organization to be diverted by any undertaking that is foreign to their expertise or that will not further the mission of the business. Stay focused!

. Make short notes on the
highlights of your daily life – personal and business – sometime in the future you will appreciate having done so.

3. Ask “Why?” A critical word to use whenever someone denies a request or asks you to do something that seems to be unnecessary or inappropriate.

. When you receive a significant “offer” or “proposal”, whether for yourself or the business, try not to accept or reject it immediately. Ask for reasonable time to consider it and possibly to seek other opinions. Also, decisions on significant Issues are often easier if you can “sleep” on it for a few nights. Don’t let professional fees deter you from seeking advice that might result in a better decision. Avoid being intimidated by lawyers, accountants and other experts. Listen to their advice. Ask the experts what the worst consequences might be if you ignored their advice.

Consider obtaining opinions from qualified business associates or friends before making significant decisions about your career. Be cautious about making up your mind without any outside input even though you may think the decision is obvious.
. Be a good listener. Don’t interrupt or be distracted from paying close attention to what is being said and asking for clarifications when necessary.

. Create a culture where ideas from every level are welcomed. Try to respond to each person.

. Don’t just reward people for their efforts. Reward them for their successes and accomplishments.

. Don’t “reinvent the wheel.” Reach out to sources who have already dealt with the same problems, that you are facing, in order to learn from their experience.

. Consider the Japanese philosophy of “kaizen”, which promotes constant improvements to achieve better results.

. Express appreciation or constructive criticism of subordinates on an ongoing basis.

. Begin preparing for significant deadlines well in advance. Avoid pressure at the last moment and provide time to reconsider and possibly change your initial thoughts. Seek input from management team members who might be helpful or effected by decision.

. Learn to be successful at explaining your ideas and convincing others to see it your way.

. Perseverance, as well as luck or intelligence, often brings desired results.

. When denied something important that you need, ask again at least three times, over a reasonable period of time.

. When planning to engage in a significant negotiation, try not to go alone. Bring someone who can listen to pick up what you may have missed and to provide input with the final agreement.

. During a negotiation, listen carefully and ask questions to determine what is vital to the other side in order to reach an agreement.

. Join organizations in your field and keep in touch with important contacts you make.

. As a leader, be conscious of your ego. Don’t let it influence your decisions. And furthermore, give credit to others whenever possible.

. Success shouldn’t cause “hubris.” Maintain your perspective.

. If you need to discharge a subordinate, he/she should never be surprised, because you would have already told them their performance needed improvement.

. Until subordinates prove that they can be relied upon, regularly follow up on whether or not they have taken the agreed upon actions

. Never fail to do whatever you may have promised a subordinate.

. When a subordinate brings a problem to you, don’t offer a solution without first asking them for their solution.

. Allow your people to make mistakes as long as they learn from them. However, two or three mistakes are the maximum allowable.

. Be considerate of those awaiting a response from you – whether salesman, job candidate, employee, etc.

. The ultimate sin of a CEO is to allow their business to experience a serious cash shortage.

. Focus on evaluating the opportunity rather than the terms of a deal, even though the terms may be exceptionally attractive.
What do you think? I’m open to ideas. Or if you want to write me about a specific topic, let me know.

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