Unique Job, Lonely Role

CEO accountabilities are unique within the enterprise


As CEO, or business owner, or company president, you occupy a unique and a lonely position. Not surprisingly, your job description is a one-of-a-kind, whether you have actually written it or not. You are accountable for certain high level responsibilities, because only you can perform them. It is these responsibilities that should be your guide to priorities, to how you spend your company time.

Here are the universal accountabilities for someone running a private business, regardless of the size of that business.

• Establish the corporate vision (including core values, purpose, and big hairy audacious goal), and communicate it clearly and frequently.

• Recruit, hire, develop, and retain staff members capable of leading the company to attainment of the vision.

• Lead the development of company goals, strategies, and action plans for implementing these strategies.

• Protect the assets of the corporation, while leveraging them to achieve the company goals.

• Assure that company processes and departments are integrated and coordinated in delivering customer value, on time.

If you are buried in the weeds of your business 24/7, your business will eventually bury you. Yes, most CEOs must devote significant time to working within their business, in operations, in selling, in administrative work. But if you haven’t already developed the discipline to spend at least 2% of your time each month (about a half day) stepping back a pace and working on your business, you need to.

CEO success has a lot to do with frame of mind, a lot to do with attitude and perspective. By intentionally embracing the higher order accountability suggested here, you vastly improve the likelihood of your exiting your business on your own terms.

Try this. Copy the list of my five CEO accountabilities and keep them close by. Make a daily or weekly note estimating your time spent in each of the five areas. Hold yourself accountable – or get somebody else to do so – tracking how much time you actually spend on these important areas. If it is not at least 2%, you are not serving your business well and you need to make adjustments.

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